Industry Insights

That perfume looks good!

Perfume Box

Perfume Open

I was recently traveling to France on business. On the way home I picked up a little gift for my 13 year old daughter. It was a box of six different perfumes for her to try. After ripping off the wrapping paper, she closely looked at the bottles.


“I like this one the best…and that one is a close second.” She CHOSE her favorites based on the name and the bottle…without even smelling the perfume.


Marketers have long known the importance of branding and image in marketing…especially in certain categories. Some examples:


TESTING: When trying to make sure that a product or prototype is better than a competitor’s product in the eyes of the consumer, marketers will do a “Blind Product Test.” No name on the product, no logo, just a white package. In this case, consumers (or test subjects) react to the product with no image cues. BUT when testing to see if a customer will like a product in the REAL world, they will test the product in real packaging so that their brand image and product performance go up against a competitor’s. Adding imagery in this “Identified Product Test” can yield different results, because consumers may react differently to a product based on the Brand and Imagery.


THE CHALLENGE: Some years ago Pepsi started a campaign called the Pepsi Challenge. They got people to test Coke vs. Pepsi blind (without knowing which was which). The result…Pepsi won. Why??? Because ‘BLIND’ consumers preferred the taste of Pepsi to Coke. BUT put the logo on the can and they may want a Coke. The power of BRANDING and IMAGE.

By the way, the Pepsi Challenge was probably what caused Coke to make one of the biggest marketing blunders of all times…the launch of new Coke which initially replaced the Classic Coke formula. Brand loyalists revolted, and Coke eventually had to relaunch the original formula under the name ‘Classic Coke.’ Ironically, those brand loyalists probably would have chosen Pepsi in a blind test!!!!


STORE BRAND OTC DRUGS: One of my passions in life is Judo. I play whenever I can. At my young age, joints often feel sore… So I buy my fair share of ibuprofen. Sometimes I buy the store brand. Other times I treat myself to Advil. I know that the store brand has the same Active Ingredient and works the same as the store brand. BUT my mind thinks Advil works better. As a result, when I take the Advil I feel better quicker.


And so my daughter knew which perfume was her favorite before even smelling them. A great reminder of the power of a Brand and it’s Image.


Can you think of other examples when a strong Marketing Image significantly effects your or a family member’s perception of a product? Share them here!!!



The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.


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