Brand Experience

Guerlain Sniffs a Winner: Using Scent to Sell Product


Guerlain has introduced a new fragrance that will have us smelling like a baby. According to Sylvaine Delacourte, Guerlain's creative director of fragrances, L'Instant Magic is "built around white musk and these notes are very powdery and soft. I am especially fond of these notes because they remind me of my children's scent and soft skin when they were babies."

According to psychologists, scent is a powerful way of linking our thoughts and emotions to memories. Perhaps the smell of a BBQ reminds us of happy times spent as a family. The scent of apple pie is associated with comfort, happiness - and overall well being. Baby scents are powerful in that they take us back to a time of innocence - a time when everything was new and we were being nurtured by someone else. It's a comforting scent, and as adults we're willing to pay top dollar to bring that memory and feeling back again.

Who doesn't remember the scent of Johnson's baby shampoo or powder? Fred Tewell, group product director at Johnson's says that the smell from Johnson's baby powder "became ubiquitous and that's the underpinning of the baby smell in the American psyche." Tewell says that the baby scent is "calming, nurturing, not sharp - and doesn't immediately grab your senses. Instead, it wafts."

Do you think that scent links us back to experiences and memories? What are examples of specific scents that bring you "back" in time? How does the scent make you feel? What are examples of ways in which other companies have used scent to market their products?

Is Customer Service Dead?

If a brand is a promise, then why do so many organizations fail to deliver on that promise?

It seems that there are less companies (and people) out there who actually do what they say they will do. A recent article in BRANDWEEK by consultant, marketer and blogger Mark Stevens recounts his frustration with companies who fail to deliver on the brand promise.

While I haven't experienced a great deal of frustration with the companies mentioned in the article, there remain a few sectors where the level of service makes you feel as if you want to rent a hot air balloon and fly over their head offices shouting...."Hey! What about me? Remember me...the customer?"

The sectors who seem to consistently provide a horrible brand experience are:

  • phone companies
  • cable providers
  • large retail outlets
  • airlines
  • city institutions
  • banks

What we need is more people who care about what they do. We need better processes, and organizations that consistently deliver on their own promise to employees before they can even begin to tackle brand experience on the outside. If it's true that our external world is a reflection of our inner one, then what does it say about how many of these organizations are run?

Last month, we bought some new winter tires from a local tire shop. After visiting several garages who told us what we should by buying, we finally settled on a place that delivered what we wanted - and what was best for us. What's more, they kept their promise at every level of the process. They called to update us on stock availability. They called back when we left a message, and they sent us a thank you card to acknowledge their appreciation of our business. Now THAT'S customer service.

From the little tire shop that could...and did...we could learn a few lessons.

Why do you think there is a widespread feeling that customer service has declined? Why does it seem people care less about what they do - and how they do it? No job is perfect...but does it hurt to smile once in a while?