Working with colour and fragrance in combination to optimise consumer product perception

Date of publication: June 15, 1991

Author: Ken Lewis


The fragrance/colour combination is crucial in the area of optimising consumer perception of product benefits, which is relevant to subconscious consumer reactions to brand/product acceptance. This paper will look at one particular piece of research as an example and then expand on the theme by discussing the ramifications from two of the diverse range of other projects that B.B.A. have undertaken over the last four years. The method outlined here is very basic, each study is designed to address the set objectives and can include many interactive variables. 100 respondents were recruited, all female users of bath products aged 25-45 years in the ABC1C2 social groups. Each respondent assessed all of the fragrances in each of the three colour options. The fragrances were assessed in groups of three, blind labelled in glass beatson jars, to allow the colour to be seen. Between each set of three fragranced samples, altitudinal and colour related questions were asked of the consumers. The research is always supervised closely by BBA personnel. All of the studies discussed in this paper lead us to the conclusion that Colour has a profound effect on the consumer perception of fragrance. The complex components of each fragrance are interpreted differently by the consumer depending on the colour it is presented in. The interpretive process begins before the fragrance is assessed, expectations set up a preconceived idea of how the sample will smell, based on the colour. The interaction of the actual fragrance and these preconceptions produces a different interpretation dependent on the fragrance type.

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