SENSE OF BRAND OR
SENSITIVE TO BRAND
Assistant prof. at New Bulgarian University – Sofia
Managing Partner and Researcher at Brand in Trend Consulting Agency
Tipping pointsTipping points
Speaking about brands and their images among the target groups, we
mean their fame, reputation and added value stored in only possible
place – people’s mind;
Advertising, packaging, price and promotions as stimuli have this in
common - they are all within the control of the marketing company, but
precisely, only their creation and transmission. “Their perception
however, is not.” (2001: 7; author’s italic).
Brand management usually causes headache to the marketers since
the way we as consumers interpret ‘body language’ of brands everyday
is apparently trivial but can be of great significance (ibid.: 10)
Anthropology of shoppingAnthropology of shopping
Paco Underhill (2009: 3-4)
announced that new branch
of anthropology should be
devoted to study of shopping,
interacting with retail
environment (any in and
outdoor commercial space),
“the actual, physical premises,
including but not limited to
every rack, shelf, counter and
table display of merchandise,
every sign, banner, brochure,
directional aid…”, and many
The first principle of shopping
science states that there are certain
physical and anatomical abilities,
needs and limitations common to
all people which every retail
environment should takes into
consideration (ibid.: 39).
FromFrom 22 toto 55--DD marketingmarketing
((Martin LindstromMartin Lindstrom))
Since long time marketing has been dominated by 2-D concept for
In the course of time our senses become dulled and we count on
models formed in childhood. But about 80% of the parents’ purchases
are influenced by their children whose senses are at least 200% stronger
than those of the adults.
Relatively few people deliberately think of taste or smell where they are
interviewed about automotive category but, in fact, a lot of them eat
and drink coffee in their cars, and sensorial associations could be
positive as well as negative.
Multisensory message directly influences the perceived quality of the
product and from that point the value/price of the brand.
About 40% of the consumers
in USA and Britain – the
largest markets of McDonald’s
- agree that the brand
restaurants smell like stale oil.
(M. Lindstrom 2005: 67-68)
Our senses work in combination. “The higher the number of sensory
memories activated, the stronger the bounding between brand and
consumer” (ibid.: 69).
We ‘evaluate’ brands mostly through senses, but most probably through
their combination and gradation according to the Attention – Information
– Feeling – Bonding process.
Perceptions and filtering of informationPerceptions and filtering of information
((Michael SolomonMichael Solomon et al.et al. 2006: 362006: 36))
Often it appears that messages we chose to pay attention to have
different effect than their sponsors’ intentions since each of us leave
his/her own ‘mark’ on the communication units perceiving meanings
corresponding to our own personality, experience, patterns, bias,
Sensation – ‘immediate response of our sensory receptors to such
basic stimuli‘ as light, color, sound, smell, material structure…’
Perception – ‘the process by which the stimuli are selected, organized
and interpret’ (in this way we assign meaning to ‘raw’ data from the
Basic schema of the perception processBasic schema of the perception process
In the POS the whole environment has its influence - the space mapping in
the particular zone, brands’ names, package design, colors and their
harmony… All this is preceded by the consumer experience with the
product and cultural attitude towards the various types of goods.
From 65 to 80% of communications pass through the visual channel.
Recently design has been developing even among brands of
widespread and everyday use goods (experts point out that packaging
is simultaneously ‘first moment of truth’ and ‘the last 5 seconds’ of
Colors are ‘seen’ in different way by different cultures, by different sexes
as well as different languages.
Our eyes can ‘tell’ us that we are replete more persistently then our
stomach sensations do – for instance, if we eat our food from bigger
box we are willing to eat more food than 50% more than usual quantity
(or from smaller box) and even we could say that we have not had
Aromas awaken memories and activate emotions, reduce stress, and
influence people’s mood.
Aroma is processed by the oldest/primary part of our brain – limbic
system. There some of the most memorable event of our life are kept.
Aroma marketing is more than 90 million USD industry, available in
various sectors. Producers put aromas which are fixed as suitable for
their goods as suits, underwear, etc. General Motors, for example, has
elaborated its own aroma in order to put it into the leather seats of its
automobiles since they should smell like lady’s handbag but not like
cigarette lighter liquid.
Usually music creates good mood and a lot of purchase appeals pass
through sound channel. Thanks to the new technologies, supersound
in the form of ray could be pointed towards the people passing at a
significant distance from the device and in that manner an advertising
message could to be heard only by the particular person.
Music serving as a background at a store or restaurant is among the
main tools influencing the consumption.
Phonetic structure in the brand names also has influence on our
perceptions about the substance and quality of the physical products.
It is accepted that brands that have vowel ‘I’ in their names are
perceived by the consumers as lighter than these with vowel ’a’ in
Tactile and overall skin feelings could be key factors in consumer’s
choice not only if consumer has opportunity to ‘feel with her fingers’
while she estimates the product but we should consider that touch is
an inpouring in the closest personal space.
People associate qualities of fabrics and surfaces with the feeling
resulting from the touch which is used by the cosmetics specialists
who, for instance, have invited ‘tender’ in catch packages for
Usually men value more fabric suggesting roughness and crudity
whilst women look for more mildness.
The prominent design of the Coca-Cola bottle significantly enhances
the experience and bonding.
Very often food and drinks, which we are used to consume from our
childhood and in most of the cases are products of the local culture,
determine our perceptions of taste and companies take into
consideration the peculiarities of the given market when they launch
and communicate their products.
There are laboratories working out new tastes and producers actively
use the so called ‘electronic tongues’, which imitate almost 100% of
the capacity of the human one, in order to make various tests on
different tastes of food and medicines. Some of them count on
‘sensory panelists’ – ordinary consumers or well trained ones to rate
the products comparing them with the competitors production.
Sensory thresholdsSensory thresholds
(Solomon(Solomon et al.et al. 2006: 46)2006: 46)
They are study object of psychophysics observing
the way by which physical environment
penetrates the personal life, and they depend on
age and several individual idiosyncrasies.
The absolute threshold – signifies the lowest
intensity of a stimulus, i.e. the minimum amount
of stimulation that can be detected on a given
sensory channel (hoardings are good channel but
we need time to see the message or sound of a
dog whistle is too high to be registered by
The differential threshold – signifies “the ability
of a sensory system to detect changes between
two stimuli”. It is relative and since what matters is
given marketing context and sensory channel by
which should the information be provided.
Situation/s of consumptionSituation/s of consumption
It is defined by factors which are beyond the consumer or product
characteristics. The effects could be behavioral (having fun with friends) or
perceptive (having bad mood, time pressure, etc.) in particular situation
for which the product is needed
Very often self-image is a reason determining consumption according to
the role we want to play in given context (‘man about town’ or ‘old fellow’,
Even ‘habitual’ purchase is actually not too simple and is not one and the
same routine act every time. Nowadays, especially for important products
as cars, loans and real estate, we are well informed before even entering
the shops/front offices/dealers and there a large set of factors and stimuli
waiting for us – store fittings, sales members, other shoppers, promo-
materials, etc., and usually we come out with more products than wanted.
Issues concerning purchase andIssues concerning purchase and
aftermarketingaftermarketing activitiesactivities (Solomon(Solomon et al.et al. 2006: 300)2006: 300)
Pre-Purchasing conditions – Context of purchase – Post-Purchasing Conditions
Dimensions of consumersDimensions of consumers’’ emotional statesemotional states
((James RussellJames Russell ии Geraldine Pratt, 1980 in SolomonGeraldine Pratt, 1980 in Solomon et al.et al. 2006: 3012006: 301))
Two main dimensions determine what would be the reaction of the shopper: positive or negative
Experience MarketingExperience Marketing
For the first time the conception appeared in 1997 in B. Joseph Pine
and James Gilmore’s book called “The Experience Economy”.
Experience, along with the product benefits, is ‘qualitative’ revolution
in market demand which even more powerful knit together physical
goods and services related with them, providing new, higher level of
valuation on behalf of the consumers.
Since we are talking about ‘experience’, it means that it concerns
consumer as a center both of marketing efforts and of business as a
whole (thence, the two authors mentioned say that consumer is the
In broader sense the notion of ‘experience’ includes satisfaction of
knowledge and aesthetic needs of the consumer.
The modules (or possible
strategies) should offer stimuli
which consumer should react
to (sensually, intellectually,
bodily, and socially)
The so called ‘experience providers’ embrace communications, identity
(brand name, logo, symbols), product design, availability, co-branding,
situation (context) of consumption (P-of-P), websites, people (appearance
and communication skills of the employees). These are the key means for
creating and implementing of good marketing program oriented towards
Strategies can vary according to geographical market, consumer segment
chosen, product or/and service.
Depth – (Enriching vs. Simplifying) if manager should put in motion only one
or two providers, or should add more of them?
Breadth – (Broadening vs. Shrinking) if manager should step to only one of
the modules of experience or should use several (combination) of them?
Possible approaches in
Intensity (Intensifying vs.
Diffusing) - if the level of
experience should be increased
The 6The 6thth
Culture is an accumulation of
shared meanings as well as
(written or not) rules, norms,
rituals, and traditions among
the members of given society
or organization (Solomon et al.
According to T. Parsons (1973) there are different levels of symbolism in any
culture. That’s why should never exclude cultural influence when we talk
about attaining knowledge through our senses; the “raw” experience is
always put in frames of given models and meaning in order to be organized
product and the individual is not just a passive receiver. Since commercial
communication in particular market is part of the whole system of
signification it forms and sometimes overcodes our perception by means of
Culture and ConsumptionCulture and Consumption
Culture is both the ‘lens’ through which human beings see all
phenomena around them and ‘blueprint’ of all human activities. Some
drivers are available to determinate consumer behavior (ibid.: 73).
Culturally Constructed World
Key: Instrument of Meaning Transfer
Location of Meaning
MOVEMENT OF MEANING
(McCracken 1988: 72)
The 7The 7thth
Previous experience is immanent part of consumer’s delight, bonding, and
Models and habits formed predominantly in childhood, in family culture and
reference group, and with a circle of certain goods play dominant role in our
brand preference, particular purchase choice, and our passive or active
attitude towards given products and categories.
Even omnipresence Culture
needs ‘data storage’, i.e.
memory to be able working. It
embraces practices, rituals, role
models, and storytelling.
Buying BrainBuying Brain
Even in a typical supermarket our
brain react as if it is in a jungle. It
searches for dangers and tries to
avoid potential threats – for instance,
it dislikes straight lines and sharp
edges (Pradeep 2010: 171-2).
There are seven dimensions (pillars) of the Shoppers Experience
Framework based on human brain evolution and capacity, which
influence consumer choice (ibid.: 174 ff): Information (search to find),
Environment (life situations), Entertainment (more positive emotions),
Education (permanent quest for knowledge), Simplicity (comfortable
with the given store layout), Self-worth (‘I’m a smart shopper’), and
Community (always need to belong).
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