All's well that smells well?
Advanced production technologies have contributed to a high quality standard for most branded consumer goods - e.g. detergents. This generally high standard inevitably leads to a high degree of perceived similarity in blind product tests - pure physical differences of the products and their effects on relative performance are below the discriminative threshold of most consumers. In order to provide differential cues for the customer modem marketing employs a number of features such as brand personality and product aesthetics (e.g. color, form, fragrance). The less differentiated the physical properties within a product group the more important seem to be aesthetic differences - above all on the fragrance dimension. We will defend this central thesis by referring to empirical data from home use tests (HUT) in various product categories. The main methodological tool here is multiple regression analysis with total preference as the criterion and ratings on multiple performance scales as predictors. In selected cases we compare preference shares and subjectively perceived product features as correlates and/or predictors. The findings corroborate the importance of product aesthetics as determinants of individual preference with fragrance being one of the most influential factors
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