I’ve read a number of business and marketing books over this past year and most have been fantastic. Sadly, this is not one of them. In short, I’d sum Brand Sense this way – Good Message, poorly written.
I had high expectations for Brand Sense. In the past, I’ve read a number of small one off studies that claim that combining two forms of advertising increases the message impact and retention. (here are a couple of links one and two). I also trusted the front cover endorsement from the Wall Street Journal that claimed Brand Sense is “one of the five best marketing books ever published”. I was excited to read about the findings of the first worldwide sensory branding research project that was Project Brand Sense.
I won’t argue about the methodology and analysis of the ambitious study conducted by Martin Lindstrom and Millward Brown. Their attempt to measure the impact of marketing to the smell, taste, touch, hearing and sight of consumers was noble and unprecedented. However, page after page of repetitive comments like the following turned me off this book.
“Wherever the bottle is still sold, Coke emerges as the clear tactile leader in the soft-drink market. In Europe 58 percent of the consumers in our study stated that they still perceive a unique tactile feeling when drinking a Coca-Cola in contrast to Pepsi’s 54%.”
In my opinion, a claim such as ‘clear tactile leader’ seems to seems to call out for some test of statistical significance when the percentage points are only separated by 4.
There are some great lines in the book and the concept of sensory branding is important. For my tastes, the message of the book is most succinctly defined by Martin in this way
“a message is enhanced by appealing to several senses as it stands a far better chance of breaking through”
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