Quality indicator – The nose


In FMCG it could be a range of personal products which sell because they appeal to the consumers’ senses. It could be the freshness of a particular biscuit, the flavor that emanates when a packet of wafers is torn open, the aroma of tea brewing, or the fragrance of deodorants, gels, soaps and shampoos.

HLL had a long history of developing new fragrances through an exclusive research center in Mumbai, India with utmost concentration on bathing soaps. One can get all sorts of pleasant odors when passing close to the R&D center at Mumbai, This shows the importance the company has given to the quality that can be detected by nose.

The sense of smell particularly associated with food items is evocative. Consumers of particularly high quality basmati rice can make out from the smell and not from the price, the quality of the commodity.

There is another commodity which is judged by smell to assess the quality that is Ghee (as is well used and well known in India and butter oil in countries like U.S.A). Before purchasing Ghee in bulk traders in India have a characteristic trait of applying a pinch of it on the back their wrists, rubbing gently and sniffing to check the quality aspect.

Smell could very well warn the consumer if the product is no longer fit for consumption. Such food items would definitely face consumer rejection.

Smelling before picking is an involuntary action with most people while choosing fruits from a local fruit vendor. Fruits sold in specialized retail stores are no exception to this rule.

Certain product odors literally run into generations. The smell of Dettol, Vicks, Odomos, to name a few have maintained their odors for years. It is quite possible then another product with a different smell in these categories may not go down well with consumers.

People get used to a personal product that has a particular smell. It could even be freshness in mint of tooth paste which is the first thing consumes sense before kick starting their day. No wonder then that medicated tooth pastes are just that medicinal in value and thus purchased only when there is a requirement.

HLL may have changed the packing and product features of its popular Liril soap. But the company has not changed its lemony fragrance which is what attracts consumers who are regular users.

Companies like HLL have a strategic tie up with a fragrance house to keep a tab on the latest tends in fragrance. This is derived in combination with extensive consume market research.

The company realizes that retaining of fragrance is as important as the fragrance itself. Research has helped HLL in understanding that a feeling ir experience of fragrance is also important.

The power of smell even extends to multiplexes, reputed international Airports and even prestigious super fast long distance express trains. A number of people venture out on holidays in trains which they feel gives hem a sense of completeness to their holiday.

Other examples in this category are Pears glycerin soap with variants where the smell could make dedicated loyal customers. So its not an exaggeration to say nose detect quality and consumer uses he same time and again.