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Olfactory branding: A new trend for defining brands through smell -a case of ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata, India


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Smell triggers immediate emotional response. Today's marketers are conscious about its usefulness in communicating with consumers, leading to the advent of Olfactory Branding, creating an experiential retail environment having fragrance to stimulate the overall experience of the consumer. Previously branding was guided more by audiovisual stimulus but because of tremendous advertising clutter it is becoming difficult for organisations to create a niche. It started with the implementation of sensory branding using all five sense organs, though observed initially that senses like sight and hearing were extensively used, whereas smell was potentially underused. This paper tries to understand and create awareness of the proper usage of olfactory branding trends in ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata to persuade and convert potential customers into buyers and also to create an insight into the psychological background of scent branding and gives the basis of relevance of Olfactory Communication to influence consumers.
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nt. J. Trade and Global Markets, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2015
Copyright © 2015 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Olfactory branding: a new trend for defining brands
through smell – a case of ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata,
Shuvam Chatterjee
Department of Business Administration,
Regent Education & Research Foundation,
2E, Ganesh Banerjee Lane, Dhakuria,
Kolkata 700031, West Bengal, India
Indian School of Mines,
Dhanbad 826004, Jharkhand, India
Abstract: Smell triggers immediate emotional response. Today’s marketers are
conscious about its usefulness in communicating with consumers, leading to
the advent of Olfactory Branding, creating an experiential retail environment
having fragrance to stimulate the overall experience of the consumer.
Previously branding was guided more by audiovisual stimulus but because of
tremendous advertising clutter it is becoming difficult for organisations to
create a niche. It started with the implementation of sensory branding using all
five sense organs, though observed initially that senses like sight and hearing
were extensively used, whereas smell was potentially underused. This paper
tries to understand and create awareness of the proper usage of olfactory
branding trends in ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata to persuade and convert
potential customers into buyers and also to create an insight into the
psychological background of scent branding and gives the basis of relevance of
##to influence consumers.
Keywords: scent; branding; retail store; ambience; consumer awareness;
sensory stimulus; global markets.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Chatterjee, S. (2015)
‘Olfactory branding: a new trend for defining brands through smell – a case of
ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata, India’, Int. J. Trade and Global Markets, Vol. 8,
No. 3, pp.196–206.
Biographical notes: Shuvam Chatterjee is currently working as an Assistant
Teacher-in-Charge for Regent Education & Research Foundation, apart from
teaching core marketing papers. He is also pursuing PhD from Indian School of
Mines, Dhanbad, in Olfactory Branding. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the
in-house journal ‘Essence’ of Regent Business School.
This paper is a revised and expanded version of a paper entitled ‘Olfactory
branding: a new trend for defining brands through smell: a case on ITC Sonar
Hotel in Kolkata, India’ presented at the ‘SIBR-Thammasat Conference on
Interdisciplinary Business & Economic Research’, 5–7 June 2014 Bangkok.
Olfactory brandin
1 Tourism and hospitality industry in India
1.1 Introduction
The Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key industries
driving the growth of the services sector in India. Tourism in India has registered
significant growth in the recent years and the country has tremendous potential to
become a major global tourist destination.
Indian tourism industry is thriving due to an increase in Foreign Tourist Arrivals
(FTA) and greater number of Indians travelling to domestic destinations than before. In
the past few years, the real growth has come from within the domestic sector as around
30 million Indians travel within the country in a year. Strong growth in per capita
income, rising young population coupled with changing lifestyles are leading to greater
expenditure on leisure services.
Hotels are an important component of the tourism product. They contribute in the
overall tourism experience through the standards of facilities and services offered by
them. The fortunes of the hospitality industry have always been linked to the prospects of
the tourism industry and tourism is the foremost demand driver of the industry.
Travel and tourism’s contribution to capital investment is projected to grow at 6.5%
per annum during 2013–2023, above the global average of 5%. The tourism policy of the
government of India aims at speedy implementation of tourism projects, development of
integrated tourism circuits, special capacity building in the hospitality sector and new
marketing strategies.
1.2 Market size
The total market size of the Indian tourism and hospitality sector stood at US$ 117.7 billion
in 2011 and is expected to touch US$ 418.9 billion by 2022.
The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in the hotel and tourism sector during
April 2000 to July 2013 stood at US$ 6754.49 million, as per the data released by the
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
FTA during the month of August 2013 stood at 4.74 lakh as compared to 4.46 lakh
during August 2012, registering a growth of 6.4%.
Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) during the month of August 2013 were
US$ 1.294 billion as compared to FEEs of US$ 1.306 billion during August 2012 and
US$ 1.264 billion in August 2011.
The numbers of tourists availing the tourist Visa on Arrival (VOA) scheme during
January to August 2013 have recorded a growth of 29.4%. During the period, a total
number of 12,176 VOAs have been issued as compared to 9412 VOAs during the
corresponding period of 2012.
1.3 Major developments and Investments
India is expected to receive nearly half a million medical tourists by 2015, implying an
annual growth of 30%. The country has received 43.06 lakh foreign tourists during
January–August 2013. India is perceived as one of the fastest growing medical tourism
198 S. Chatterjee
destinations. The number of medical tourists coming to India has registered a growth of
40% in the past six months. The inflow of medical tourists is expected to cross 45 lakh
by 2015 from the current level of 25 lakh.
The Taj Group has launched The Gateway Hotel IT Expressway Chennai, its first
hotel in the city under the Gateway Hotels & Resorts brand.
Marriott International has launched its business hotel brand Courtyard by Marriott at
the industrial and auto hub of Chakan near Pune in Maharashtra.
ITC Hotels has tied up with Bahrain-based India-born billionaire Mr. Ravi Pillai to
manage five of its hotels under the Welcom Hotel and Fortune brands in India and Dubai.
Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne has opened a 67,000 square feet campus in India to tap
into the growing demand for skilled hospitality professionals in the country. Located in
the newly developed Lavasa Township near Pune, Ecole Hoteliere Lavasa will offer a
four-year programme.
1.4 Government initiatives
The government has allowed 100% FDI under the automatic route in the hotel and
tourism-related industry, according to the consolidated FDI policy, released by DIPP,
Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has signed bilateral agreements/
Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with 47 countries, a tripartite agreement between
India, Brazil and South Africa, and a multilateral agreement between India and member
states of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for cooperation in the tourism
The Ministry of Tourism as part of its promotional activities releases campaigns in
the international and domestic markets under the Incredible India brand-line, to
promote various tourism destinations and products of India. The budget allocated for the
domestic promotion and publicity and overseas promotion and publicity including
marketing development stood at Rs. 110 crore (US$ 17.73 million) and Rs. 350 crore
(US$ 56.41 million) for the FY 2013–2014.
The ministry has set up a Hospitality Development and Promotion Board, which will
monitor and facilitate hotel project approvals. The allocation for Ministry of Tourism in
the Union Budget 2013–2014 has been increased by Rs. 87.66 crore (US$ 14.13 million)
to Rs. 1297.66 crore (US$ 209.30 million).
In a major boost to the North-East tourism sector, Mr. K. Chiranjeevi, Union Minister
for Tourism, Government of India, has approved Central Finance Assistance (CFA) to
various tourism development projects in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and
Nagaland. The ministry has approved CFA of Rs. 25.04 crore (US$ 4.03 million) for the
ongoing tourism mega circuit projects at Tirupati and Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh.
The government has proposed to set up the Central Institute of Hotel Management
(IHM), Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in the country. The IHM will be
set up at Jagdishpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The Ministry of Tourism has undertaken joint development of tourist amenities at
Amritsar and Rai Bareilli, Trivandrum, Gaya and Agra Cantt Railway stations in
association with the Ministry of Railways. CFA of Rs. 10.28 crore (US$ 1.65 million),
Rs. 5.98 crore (US$ 964,453.42), Rs. 5.18 crore (US$ 835,413.19) and Rs. 5.05 crore
(US$ 814,141.59) have been provided by the ministry for the same.
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2 Olfactory branding and hospitality industry
Olfactory branding is:
One of the most significant features of the total product is the place where it is
bought or consumed. In some cases the place, more specifically the atmosphere
of the place, is more influential as the product itself in the purchasing decision.
In some cases, the atmosphere is the primary product (Kotler, 1973, p.48)
The smell of strong coffee beans of Starbucks, perfumes in Shopper’s Stop (Bless et al.,
1990) and stuffed cookie aromas from Cookie Man are all about today’s branding therapy
(Bone and Jantrania, 1992). It seems that olfactory branding or better known as scent
branding is an essential part of today’s consumers’ daily life. Olfactory branding relates with
our nose, and it is the only sensory stimulus which has got direct contact with our brain.
Scent marketing is becoming an incredible tool as brands discover the role scent plays
in connecting with customers on an emotional level (Bosmans, 2006). It is most effective
when combined with other sensory triggers, such as sight, sound and textures to create a
unique customer experience (Clegg, 2006). Scent can trigger a memory or desire that
influences a purchase decision. Across industries, businesses are using scent as part of
multi-sensory marketing strategies to enhance customers’ experiences of a location and
its products or services (Donovanand Rossiter, 1982). This all adds up to a new way of
impressing a company’s brand identity on the memory of the consumer: not just a logo,
but also an olfactory experience (Engen, 1982). Research has shown that people remember
35% of what they smell, compared with only 5% of what they see, 2% of what they hear
and 1% of what they touch (Eroglu and Machleit, 1990; Hirsch, 1995). Scent makes a
brand identity more unique, strengthens customer loyalty and adds to the perception of
quality, an element that is essential to every brand in today’s competitive market
(Knasko, 1989).
Top ten smells that make people happy are as follows:
1 freshly baked bread,
2 clean sheets,
3 freshly mown grass,
4 fresh flowers,
5 freshly ground coffee,
6 fresh air after rainfall,
7 vanilla,
8 chocolate,
9 fish and chips,
10 bacon frying.
Key properties in Kolkata are as follows:
ITC Sonar,
Hyatt Regency,
The Oberoi Grand,
Taj Bengal,
200 S. Chatterjee
The Sonnet,
Monotel Luxury Business Hotel,
Park Hotel,
The Kenilworth,
The Gateway Hotel,
The Sapphire Suites.
3 ITC Sonar, Kolkata
ITC Sonar, Kolkata, is the first hotel in east India to have been awarded the coveted
Platinum certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(LEED®) certification programme.
ITC Sonar uses considerably less energy than that used by the average large size
luxury hotel.
The hotel has a computer-based building management system to monitor and control
the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), lighting, metering and water
management system.
Automatic lighting controls (building management system) have been installed to
time off the non-emergency lighting during after-business hours.
Sonar is the first hotel to receive carbon credits in the world through the CDM
initiatives of UNFCCC.
3.1 ITC Sonar’s success in implementing scent branding
ITC Sonar started off their luxury hotel chain in Kolkata with the aim of refreshing the
minds of their customers not only with utmost luxury during their stay in the hotel
(Krishna, 2009), but also with what is called the olfactory branding projected in fetching
more customers (Krstiger, 2008).
Strategically positioned at entrances to greet guests as they arrive, ScentWave scent
(Lawless, 1991) delivery systems offer a light and refreshing White Tea welcome in ITC
Sonar hotel in Kolkata (Lindstrom, 2002). ITC Sonar has taken the idea of sensory
branding and signature scent to a whole new level, and they have successfully enriched
the overall ‘in-stay’ experience.
A retailer survey would reflect the way scent branding was projected for ITC Luxury
Collection Hotel Chain.
4 Methodology
In total, 250 questionnaires were distributed to the guests of ITC Sonar Hotel, Kolkata.
The questionnaire happened to reach those guests who have prior experience of staying at
other luxury hotels as well apart from ITC Sonar in Kolkata (see Appendices A and B for
Olfactory brandin
Out of the 250 questionnaires, 230 were usable and valid for analysis and 30 have to
be dropped due to incomplete response.
A percentage distribution was carried out from the questionnaires acquired in order to
come to the findings which have been stated in the following section.
5 Findings
The researcher took a sample size of around 200 guests who visited and stayed in the
hotel during a period of two months using a random sampling method. The result is
surprisingly encouraging. More than 41% of the guests agreed to the fact that scent was
actually a very key factor which enhanced their ‘in-stay’ experience during their period
of stay. They felt much more relaxed and rejuvenated. More than 85% of the customers
committed in making a repeat visit to the ITC Sonar Luxury Hotel collection in Kolkata.
More than 43% of the customers told that ITC Sonar is the first name that hits their mind
when they think about staying at a star category hotel. Almost as good as 52% guests
suggested that scent within the hotel premises took more attention than any other sensory
attributes present.
Figure 1 Key influencing factors that play an important role for the in-stay experience at ITC
Sonar (see online version for colours)
Figure 2 Demonstration of guests considering a repeat visit at ITC Sonar (see online version
for colours)
202 S. Chatterjee
Figure 3 Depiction of which hotel comes in the minds of the customers while preferring to stay
in a star category hotel (see online version for colours)
Figure 4 Preference of scent as a key sensory attribute to any other service attributes while
staying in a hotel (see online version for colours)
6 Suggestions and recommendations
The Indian hospitality industry is yet to utilise the hugely potential scent branding
(Lindstrom, 2005). Though there are a few organisations that are currently using scent
branding, a major chunk of the hotel industry is yet to understand the power of olfactory
branding on a serious note (Mattila and Wirtz, 2001).
ITC Sonar could think about introducing two or three more aromas for their hotel
apart from their signature brand ‘white tea’ so that customers could actually experience a
wonderful stay (Morrin and Ratneshwar, 2000). What happens in the process is that the
guests could build a loyalty with the brand and whenever they think of staying in a hotel
in the Kolkata region, ITC Sonar comes on their mind (Spangenberg et al., 1996).
7 Conclusion
To date, the exploration of olfactory branding for the Indian hospitality sector is very
limited. However, the scope for utilising this powerful branding strategy is unparallel.
The Indian hotels have also started trying to apply the essence of scent branding. I have
Olfactory brandin
tried to provide suggestions for ITC Sonar on how to explore this unique strategy in
terms of implementing smell in the hospitality industry and create a brand niche.
Through successful implementation of scent branding could ITC Sonar actually prove to
be a clear winner in the luxury hotel segment.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to ITC Sonar Luxury Collection Hotel,
Kolkata, and all their staff members for being so nice and helpful, for providing
information needed to frame the research paper. I also thank the guests at ITC Sonar who
sincerely helped me fill out the questionnaire. I would like to thank my professional
colleagues as well for providing me constant support.
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response analysis’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 16, pp.331–345.
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sensory-branding-unleashed/#.VCkeK2eSxnO (accessed on November 2013).
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Sight & Sound, Kogan Page Publishers, London.
204 S. Chatterjee
Mattila, A.S. and Wirtz, J. (2001) ‘Congruency of scent and music as a driver of in-store
evaluations and behavior’, Journal of Retailing, Vol. 77, pp.273–289.
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Appendix A: Questionnaire for ITC Sonar, Kolkata
Please mark the correct answer with Bold Font
1 ITC Sonar is using marketing techniques (as music, scent) to promote service and
in-stay experience.
Not at all (1) 2 3 4 5 (very much)
2 Which sense are stimulated most with these branding techniques?
Sight (light, colour, decor)
Hearing (music, sound)
Touch (consumers can touch the product)
Taste (consumers can taste the product)
Smell (perfumes, odours, fragrance)
3 ITC Sonar is aware of sensory branding concepts?
1 2 3 4 5
4 ITC Sonar is aware of scent branding concepts?
1 2 3 4 5
5 ITC Sonar is using fragrance or perfumes inside the Hotel?
6 If ‘No’, why? (You can choose more than one option)
i) It is too expensive
ii) It is too difficult to use
iii) I don’t find it that interesting
iv) I am not aware of this practice so I never thought of using it
v) Others (please specify)
7 Do you agree with the following statements?
a) ITC Sonar is using fragrance to create an atmosphere
1 (Totally disagree) 2 3 4 5 (Totally agree)
b) ITC Sonar is using fragrance to make people enter the Hotel
1 2 3 4 5
c) ITC Sonar is using fragrance to reinforce the brand image
1 2 3 4 5
d) ITC Sonar is using fragrance to create a unique ‘in-stay’ experience
1 2 3 4 5
e) ITC Sonar is using fragrance so that customers can differentiate between brands
1 2 3 4 5
206 S. Chatterjee
Appendix B: Questionnaire for guests staying at ITC Sonar Kolkata
Please mark the correct answer with Bold Font
1 Which category below includes your age?
20–25, 25–35, 35–45, 45-55, >55
2 What is your Gender?
Female, Male
3 What is your monthly salary?
<10 K, 10–20K, 20–30K, 30–40K, >40K
4 In a month how much time do you spend on travelling and staying at a hotel?
<5 days, 5–10 days, 10–15days, 15–20 days, >20 days
5 When do you last remember visiting a hotel with strong aroma?
Never, Less Frequent, frequent, Very Frequent, Always
6 When have you last smelt a brand?
Never, Within the last one year, Last month, Within last few days, Very Often
7 Do you enjoy staying at ITC Sonar hotel under aromatic conditions?
Yes, No
8 Do you believe that you would prefer to stay in a hotel which emits strong
Yes, No
9 Do you believe that you would be able to differentiate a brand with strong fragrance?
Yes, No
10 Do you believe that ITC Sonar would be able to create a niche with their Scent
Branding implementation?
Yes, No.
... Individuals who experienced a flavored room showed a higher intensity of happiness and emotional valence than individuals who experienced a room without smell or aroma. The author of another study [100] believed that scent can evoke an immediate emotional reaction in hotel guests. He carried out his experiment on a sample of 200 guests at the ITC Sonar Hotel in Kolkata, although he collected feedback only using a classic questionnaire. ...
... Table 2 summarizes all 33 studies described by us considering selected indicators (place of experiment, type of aroma used, size of the researched sample of respondents, and researched variables). According to the available resources, we conclude that aromachology is probably the most widely used in the HORECA segment's services [5,25,[73][74][75][76][77][78][79][80][81]97,[99][100][101]. ...
... The sample size of respondents in individual surveys varied diametrically from tens of respondents [5,73,77,86,89,92,99] to hundreds of respondents [78][79][80][81]88,90,91,93,94,97,[100][101][102]. The limitation of certain studies was the omission of these data [72,82,87], the selection of respondents, e.g., involving only women in the survey [73,94], or carrying out the survey on a sample of students [86,103]. ...
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In the current era of a strongly competitive business environment, it is more difficult for companies to attract customers. Consumer neuroscience has growing potential here, as it reveals internal consumer preferences by using innovative methods and tools, which can effectively examine consumer behavior and attract new customers. In particular, smell has a great ability to subconsciously influence customers and, thus, support profitability. This paper examines the importance of consumer neuroscience and its modern technologies used for exploring human perceptions to influence customers and benefit from the aromatization of business spaces. We focused our analysis on various service sectors. Despite the potential of the examined issue, there are a limited number of studies in the field of service providers that use neuroscience tools to examine the effect of aromas on human emotions. Most studies took place in laboratory conditions, and the used methodological procedures varied widely. Our analysis showed that, in spite of the positive impact of aromatization in the majority of aromatized spaces, service companies still do not use the potential of consumer neuroscience and aroma marketing to a sufficient degree. Innovative methods and tools, in particular, are still very underused.
... Specifically, desirable behavioural and emotional reactions have been found in economic activities different from hotels when adding ambient scents in their premises (Bogicevic, Yang, Cobanoglu, Bilgihan, & Bujisic, 2016;Ouyang, Behnke, Almanza, & Ghiselli, 2017;Roschk, Maria, Loureiro, & Breitsohl, 2017;Spangenberg et al., 1996). Nevertheless, the emotional reaction analysis of ambient scents has been a generally neglected topic in the academic literature on the hotel industry, being Chatterjee (2015) and Guillet, Kozak and Kucukusta (2019) two exceptions. In any case, no previous studies have specifically explored the emotional impact of the introduction of an ambient scent in a private area of a hotel, such as a guest room. ...
... Regarding the hotel industry, there is limited evidence on the effects of ambient scents on hotel guests, which has not been obtained using an experimental setup. Chatterjee (2015) inquires guests of a hotel in India if they think that the ambient scent of this hotel's reception contributes to their experience, and the results suggest that this is the case. More recently, Guillet et al. (2019) ask the customers of a hotel in Hong Kong which type of emotions are evoked by the used ambient scent in the lobby and reception area of this hotel. ...
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The introduction of ambient scents in different business facilities might be an effective strategy to influence customers' emotions and, ultimately, their experience. Yet, there is scant evidence on the effects of introducing ambient scents in hotels and, particularly, in hotels' private areas such as the guest rooms. Accordingly, this study aims to analyse the impact on customers' positive emotions when a pleasant ambient scent is introduced in a hotel guest room. To this end, a randomized control trial was conducted in a real four-star hotel in Barcelona in which two experimental groups (N=99) were invited to enter and experience a scented guest room and an identical but unscented room, respectively. The happiness level and the emotional valence of the experiment's participants were measured using a facial recognition technique. This methodological strategy represents one of the significant contributions of the study. The results show that, on average, individuals who entered the scented room were happier and had a better emotional state than individuals who entered the unscented room. These results suggest an important managerial implication for hoteliers who can improve the guests' experience by implementing a non-expensive action and opens an avenue for future studies on scent marketing in hotels.
... Yet in the branding industry, scent is designed to represent the identity of an cooperate or a campaign. It triggers the memories and emotional connections to the brand in a subtle way [11]. Olfactory researcher Andreas Keller pointed out that the affective impact of smell sometimes is more effective when it is not consciously perceived [20]. ...
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Scent has a long history of being treated as the medium for art. Its aesthetic, affective and evocative aspects enrich the art experience. Yet when it comes to the digital era, it seems to become the minority among the artworks. As digital olfaction is getting advanced in recent years, could it open up the opportunity to consider scent as the interface of tomorrow for digital art? This paper reviews how scent was treated as art in the past, examines its recent role in digital media, and discusses the possibilities it lays ahead for digital art in the future.
... Strong brand associations are those that encourage an emotional attachment to a specific brand (Aziz, Kefallonitis and Friedman, 2014;Uslu, Durmuş and Kolivar, 2013;Cervera-Taulet, Schlesinger and Yagüe-Guillen, 2013). Engaging human senses in perceiving brands, creates memorable brand associations (Rupini and Nandagopal, 2015;Chatterjee, 2015;Lund, 2015). ...
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This study examines linkages between country-of-origin brand (country brand) and operator brand using examples in the airline industry. A review of literature examines brand associations that may be (a) shared among the country brand and an airline or (b) are unique to an airline. The importance of both shared and unique association is highlighted. The level of engagement that these associations generate in the consumer audience is exemplified.
Purpose Measurement scales for sensory experience in retailing exist for sight, touch and sound. In the present study, the authors aim to develop the olfactory experience (OEX) scale in the context of retailing. Design/methodology/approach Based on literature review and six studies that follow standard scale development protocols (combined n = 1,203), the authors develop and validate a three-dimensional OEX scale. The scale is further validated in the final study in a different market set-up than the first five. Findings The authors found the three dimensions of OEX as (scent) company, congeniality and congruity. The OEX scale is found to be generalizable and valid across different cultural and market set-ups. In addition, the OEX (i.e. the scale) was found to effect psychological and behavioral outcomes of the consumer in a significant manner. Research limitations/implications The present study contributes to the domain of sensory experience in retailing with the OEX scale and provides three new dimensions of OEX for the academicians to further explore. Practical implications The OEX scale provides a ready to use tool for the retailer to gauge the level of OEX in the store and to predict consumer attitudes and behavior. Originality/value The study is the first to develop a scale for OEX in retailing or for that matter in consumer behavior.
Purpose This paper aims to investigate how brand identity is co-created, with a specific focus on how employees contributed to the process in a five-star hotel setting. The focus of this study is on understanding how two hotels planned and executed their brand identity strategy simultaneously, differentiating one from the other and how employees actively participated in this process. Design/methodology/approach A longitudinal case study approach was adopted, centred on building the identity of two luxury hotels owned by a single company in Seoul, Korea. Various organizational documents were collected and analyzed to understand the brand identity of the hotels and how brand co-creation has been implemented. In addition, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 42 employees to understand the brand co-creation process from their perspective. Findings The brand co-creation process of the hotels was conducted simultaneously and evolved over the following four phases, with employees’ roles varying in each phase, namely, establishing a clear brand identity strategy; designing and selecting sensory identity; aligning organizational identity; and delivering brand identity through external communication. Employees that participated in brand co-creation enhanced their brand knowledge, developed emotional bonds with the brand and were motivated to deliver the brand identity. Furthermore, those that immersed themselves in the new brand identities were able to enable positive guest perceptions towards the brand image, which consequently enhanced employees’ pride in their work. Research limitations/implications This research advances the brand management literature in defining branding and brand identity elements, as well as emphasizing the importance of consistent branding. In addition, the current study expands the scope of internal branding, highlighting the process of brand co-creation and the role of employees as active participants. Moreover, it reveals that employees’ participation enhances not only their brand knowledge but also their emotional bonds with the brand. The proposed conceptual framework demonstrates the flow of branding elements, brand identity elements and the “infinite loop” of employee participation in brand co-creation. Originality/value The case study approach adopted here enables an in-depth investigation of employee participation in brand co-creation, including their different roles and activities in the process; a phenomenon that has not been adequately explored in previous research.
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The popular press has recently reported that managers of retail and service outlets are diffusing scents into their stores to create more positive environments and develop a competitive advantage. These efforts are occurring despite there being no scholarly research supporting the use of scent in store environments. The authors present a review of theoretically relevant work from environmental psychology and olfaction research and a study examining the effects of ambient scent in a simulated retail environment. In the reported study, the authors find a difference between evaluations of and behaviors in a scented store environment and those in an unscented store environment. Their findings provide guidelines for managers of retail and service outlets concerning the benefits of scenting store environments.
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This study tests the Mehrabian-Russell environmental psychology model in retail settings. The results suggest that store atmosphere engendered by the usual myriad of in-store variables, is represented psychologically by consumers in terms of two major emotional states - pleasure and arousal - and that these two emotional states are significant mediators of intended shopping behaviors within the store. The practical value of this approach is that retailers may be better able to explain and predict the effects of in-store changes on shopping behavior.
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The impact of happy and sad moods on the processing of persuasive communications is explored. In Experiment 1, sad subjects were influenced by a counter attitudinal message only if the arguments presented were strong, not if they were weak Happy subjects, however, were equally persuaded by strong and weak arguments, unless explicitly instructed to pay attention to the content of the message. Subjects' cognitive responses revealed a parallel pattern, suggesting that the findings reflect the impact of mood on cognitive elaboration of the message. In Experiment 2, working on a distractor task during message exposure eliminated the advantage of strong over weak arguments under bad-mood conditions. Good-mood subjects were not affected by a distracting task, suggesting that they did not engage in message elaboration to begin with. It is concluded that subjects in a good mood are less likely to engage in message elaboration than subjects in a bad mood.
The popular press has recently reported that managers of retail and service outlets are diffusing scents into their stores to create more positive environments and develop a competitive advantage. These efforts are occurring despite there being no scholarly research supporting the use of scent in store environments. The authors present a review of theoretically relevant work from environmental psychology and olfaction research and a study examining the effects of ambient scent in a simulated retail environment. In the reported study, the authors find a difference between evaluations of and behaviors in a scented store environment and those in an unscented store environment. Their findings provide guidelines for managers of retail and service outlets concerning the benefits of scenting store environments.
An odor of ambiguous quality was shown to shift in rated odor character after presentation of more prototypical odors, always in a direction contrasting with the previous context. The terpene aroma compound, dihydromyrcenol, is perceived as partially woody (pine-like) and partially citrus (lime-like) in odor character. Citrus ratings of this odor increased following exposure to woody odors. Conversely, woody ratings of dihydromyrcenol increased following exposure to citrus odors. Possible explanations for this sequential contrast effect include shifts in cognitive category boundaries, response frequency biases, and simple sensory adaptation.
Orgasmic Chocolates, the brain (or perhaps love) child of two budding UK entrepreneurs, is a new luxury chocolate infused with "wildcrafted" Chinese herbs, which its owners hope will be the next big thing in chocolate indulgence. Leaving to one side what must surely be the rashest brand promise ever made, Orgasmic Chocolates—which claims to induce feelings of "well being, relaxation, and euphoria" in those who indulge—stretches to the extreme the fashion for enveloping consumers in "a sensory experience." But strip away the mystique and what does sensory marketing amount to: another faddish craze or the essence of brand appeal? Attempting to lodge brands in people's minds through sensory associations has plenty of precedents. Old hands at the game include Kellogg's Rice Krispies, with its signature "Snap, Crackle, and Pop," and Schweppes, which, in its long-running "Sch you know who" campaign, linked the "Sch" in its name to the tell-tale rush of gas emitted by a soda bottle that is being opened. Drinks companies (perhaps with an eye to the day when alcohol advertising might eventually be banned) are also adept at building sensory cues into brand communications. For an example look no further than Smirnoff Ice, which builds TV, web-based, and experiential marketing campaigns (featuring public snowball fights) around Uri—a fictitious Smirnoff Ice drinker who lives in the frozen wastes of Eastern Europe—aimed, one might guess, at forging a mental link between Smirnoff's fantasy world of ice and the generic pleasure of drinking ice-cold spirits.
This research examines when and how ambient scents (i.e., scents that are present in the environment and do not emanate from a specific product) affect product evaluations. Consistent with theory in environmental psychology, the author predicts that such ambient scents can elicit emotional responses that can influence subsequent judgments, but only when specific conditions are met. Three factors are hypothesized to moderate the effects of pleasant ambient scents on evaluations: (1) the congruence of the scent with the product, (2) the salience of the scent, and (3) consumers' motivation to correct for extraneous influences. The findings of three experiments suggest that as long as ambient scents are congruent with the product, they continue to affect consumers' evaluations, even when their influence becomes salient or when consumers are sufficiently motivated to correct for extraneous influences. In addition, as long as the scent is not completely incongruent with the product, noncongruent scents are corrected for only when their influence becomes salient or when consumers are sufficiently motivated. These findings indicate that the impact of pleasant ambient scents on product evaluations may be stronger than that of other affective environmental cues.