Presenter: Branding is an appeal to consumers on many levels and our next guest is taking that fact very seriously indeed. Simon Faure-Field is the CEO of Equal Strategy. His company is getting his clients’ message across new sensory ways through music and fragrance and he joins us now to explain. Simon welcome to Sky Radio on United Airlines Inflight Entertainment. Delighted to have you here.
Simon: Hi it’s great to be here.
Presenter: Well for a long time visitors to places of business have been treated to business-designed music to appeal to consumers but you’re taking that further with fragrance. Tell me about that.
Simon: It’s the first time in Asia that a brand consultant has explored combining the two and we actually use a scientific and systematic approach. As humans we are affected by the appeal of our surroundings and our surroundings actually affect our behaviour.
For example, a wine shop was comparing the use of top 40’s music against classical and jazz, and they actually found that the volume of sales didn’t increase between the two, but they actually found that when people are listening to classical music they actually selected more expensive wines compared to when they are listening to Top 40 music. And there is another study in the supermarket where they compared the use of using no music, low-tempo music, and high-tempo music.
Well, the summary of that was if you’re using low-tempo music the customers actually slowed down, become more relaxed, and more impulsive. So by using low-tempo music in the supermarket, they found that sales increased by 38.2 percent.
If we look at the application of fragrance, Nike conducted a study where they had two identical sets of trainers, they are in two different rooms and they sent consumers in to look at each of those two trainers, one room was lightly fragranced consumers weren’t aware the room was scented. When the consumers came out they actually asked which trainers they actually had the preference for and the consumers actually preferred the trainers that are being given a light fragrance. They were even prepared to spend 10 to 15 to 20 dollars more compared to the unscented room.
That gives you some research on how music and fragrance can actually help improve customer experience and increase the bottom line.
There’s a global trend and it started in the hospitality industry. Westin who is a part of the Starwood Group, two years ago they started diffusing the signature fragrance in all of their hotel lobbies and they coupled that by standardizing the music in all the lobbies as well, so whenever you went from a Westin property anywhere in the world you actually have a consistent experience.
Presenter: Well this is a branding tactic that has already been used. And tell me how it’s being used in Asia?
Simon: We’re finding in Asia that brands want to express more of their Asian brand elements. One of the big banks we are working with, is the number one bank in Singapore, the fourth largest in Hong Kong, and also the largest bank in Southeast Asia, DBS Bank. Their flagship branch they’ve recently renovated with an Asian theme. The tables have curved corners that represent Asian warmth. They are using different textures and materials that represent the different Asian nationalities. We’re diffusing an Asian-based ginger flower fragrance. So when you walk into the branch, you actually smell and experience the beautiful Asian fragrance and we have that coupled with low-tempo Asian music. This creates a holistic experience for their guests, which reflects their brand positioning as Asia’s specialist bank.
The New Generation Of Boutique Hotels Are Early Adopters
In Singapore, we have the first luxury boutique hotel, Naumi Hotel. If you go to naumihotel.com you’ll see this property which has a clean, modern, and stylish design. We used a ginger and lime fragrance to complement the overall tone and feel of their property. We’ve also provided music styling by the infinity pool on the roof, overlooking various key landmarks in Singapore. We also provide ambient music in the corridors, so when you are walking to your room we actually use music to mask a lot of the background noise that you may have from rooms.
Another property we are working with is M hotel and in their lobby, we use a ginger and lily fragrance that’s coupled with background music styling. One of the outlets is interesting because this particular food and beverage outlet has quite a wide range of moods and activity levels across the day. for breakfast, it’s very busy, mid-morning’s very quiet, and lunchtime is extremely busy all the way through to the afternoon where the activity level tails off and peaks up again in the evening. The day is segmented into 13 different time blocks. The music and tempo are styled to fit the actual mood of that time of day by tapping our 5 million tracks in our licensed library, meaning the client benefits from having a broad variety of music and never has the same music, in the same sequence, at the same time of the day.
In the Middle East, we’re working with Raffles Hotel and they recently opened a new property which is a fusion of Asian and Middle Eastern heritage. The music was curated for the main lobby area and three outlets, each reflecting the unique qualities of each, so again another exciting project.
Presenter: What are some of the other avenues you have been employing to get your client’s brand message across to the consumers?
Brands Need To Use An Integrated Approach Across Their Touch Points
Simon: We found brands need to use an integrated approach across their various touch points. For example, you can have a creative advertisement in print or on television yet when the customer actually calls that business, it’s crucial that they have an experience that’s consistent as when they visit the property or be consistent with the image projected by the advertisement.
Our approach here is straightforward. We look at using ‘brand reflective’ and behaviour influencing music that’s not going to agitate but soothe the caller. It’s also going to reflect the brand values and the positioning. If we integrate or interlace messages, which is a great way to inform, inspire, and entertain callers when they are on hold, meaning that when they are on hold, they would know more about your business, and everything they’ve heard reflects the brand.
Presenter: Simon, it’s a remarkable approach, very interesting and I’m actually probably seeing this in the United States very soon.
Simon: In North America, there’s been a phenomenal amount of research on music and fragrance and how this actually enhances consumer behaviour. Something else we’ve also noticed, is it’s very much a commoditized market and we’ve found out sort of businesses haven’t really been adopting these practices as well as they could be and I think looking ahead we foresee a change.
We started working with the Pan Pacific in Seattle over a year ago and we’ve identified the gap in the market where businesses are looking to create an integrated brand experience for their customers. At the moment talking with several other brands who want to adopt a multi-sensory approach. We see that the future is looking very bright – North America and the Middle East being very exciting new markets for Equal Strategy.
Presenter: Simon thanks for joining us.
Simon: Thank you.
Presenter: Simon Faure-Field is the CEO of Equal Strategy we reached him by phone at their headquarters in Singapore. You can catch the scent of a brand-new idea at equalstrategy.com