AINEO Team members recently visited a conference for a IP phone manufacturer in Florida called ShoreTel. The color of the ShoreTel products are all orange. As a memento in the goodie bags came an inexpensive orange ShoreTel branded t-shirt. In the US, the team thought nothing of it. However, upon return to Tokyo these orange t-shirts drew very negative imagery with no one really wanting the items. Why?
For a year or longer, Muslim extremist have been making Christians, aid-workers, women, children and all sorts of others put on similarly colored jump suits before they were beheaded or murdered before a camera in some other way. Very ruthless. Was ShoreTel wrong for using orange as their color? Absolutely not, but our senses are very influential on us. Due to recent events, orange became associated with evil in peoples minds. Our senses can really shape our perception. What we see, smell, taste, hear.
In Ginza (Tokyo’s shopping district), an American clothing store was told to turn down their “aroma marketing’. From the opening of the store in this prime Tokyo shopping area, they have fans blowing out the smell of their cologne and perfumes from their location. The volumes were too high and the local Tokyo police box, in an effort to keep the peace with other businesses, told them to tone it down. It is amazing how your nose can also bring thoughts and trigger memory. This retailer was truly working that sense. When you smell that particular perfume, you think of the store. This is marketing to our sense of smell or “aroma marketing”. You may notice a similar thing with Starbucks coffee shops all smelling the same.
AINEO has an amazing team of high technology folks. We are mostly Japanese. Recently the entrances to one of our buildings had a foul smell as you walked into the elevator lobby. Our team, understanding the importance of first impressions, immediately called the building management company to have the disturbing smell rectified and give a more welcoming entry to the Tokyo office building. We want people to feel welcome and comfortable.
What people associate with your brand is very important. It is crucial to be aware of how your image is projected to others and do the right things in business so your team is associated with good. We need to understand what is going on in the world and be sensitive.
It is challenging business world we live in. Keeping abreast of the issues and having great communications among your team of how people may perceive your product, and services will set you heads above your competition.