Monday, March 16, 2015

The new age of Sensory Marketing : Dunkin Donuts

If seeing can inspire you to buy a product, research says that other senses can equally affect your desire to 'aspire' to a product.
That is smelling, or touching too. Enter, Sensory Marketing.

The global doughnut American company Dunkin Donuts had pointed out an escalating problem that soon needed to be addressed. DD is also a coffee-house chain that offers coffee, but blame it on the name or their distracting delicious donuts, the consumers apparently did not associate the local DD store with their morning or evening dose of coffee. Of course, with mainstream coffee brands (read: Starbucks) focusing only on the multitude varieties of coffee offered, this seemed to turn a huge roadblock for the coffee sales of this doughnut giant. It soon charted out a plan to compete with the likes of Starbucks and attract the coffee lovers.

"When you listen to a jingle of the Dunkin Donuts talking about their coffee, paired along with the aroma of coffee, you subconsciously start pairing the idea of coffee with Dunkin Donuts. This is Classical Conditioning."

To increase your association with a product,  sensory organs play a huge role and Dunkin Donuts recognised that. In 2012, the Seoul Dunkin Office in South Korea got in touch with the advertising agency Cheil Worldwide. Together, they devised an aroma machine that releases the 'coffee-aroma' every time the donut jingle was played on the radio - 'Flavor Radio'. The concept of brain association is not new in psychology - Russian Physiologist Pavlov introduced Classical Conditioning - a process of behaviour modification in which an innate response to a potent biological stimulus becomes expressed in response to a previously neutral stimulus - achieved by repeated pairings of the neutral stimulus and the potent biological stimulus that elicits the desired response. Hence, when you listen to a jingle of the Dunkin Donuts talking about their coffee, paired along with the aroma of coffee, you subconsciously start pairing the idea of coffee with Dunkin Donuts. Thus, you are inducing association in the exposed customer's brain between coffee and DD. Pure genius.

"It worked. The Sales of Dunkin Donuts increased by 29% while visitors increased by about 16%."

Apparently, this much calculated effort worked. The visitors to the DD shops located near bus stops (the ads were conducted in buses that had a drop-off around a nearby DD shop) increased by about 16% while the sales increased by 29%. Of course, it bagged the Cannes Award for creativity in 2012 - and deservedly so - for this is one of those classic examples where behavioural research is being used to master consumer psychology. Of course an association like that will only last if the coffee actually tastes good. So those accusing the ad of consumer manipulation can be rest assured that you can't really force a coffee lover to consume a coffee they don't like. The product at the end of the day has its own consumer affinity tests to clear. But getting consumers to your door - that is what turns challenging for most - DD has surely revolutionised this using the sensory marketing in its own novel way.

Advertising agency: Cheil Worldwide, Seoul, South Korea.
What; Interactive Radio Advertisement Releasing a Coffee Aroma via Voice Recognition Technology
Published: January 2012


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