The political perfume
The reasons of the deep crisis that strike politics in Europe are caused by the changes of times, and it is not our scope here to expound on the causes of this crisis. However it appears confirmed that slogans are not enough any more to gain popular consents and that the involvement of all marketing instruments will have a preponderant role in politics in the next few years in Europe, as it already has in America.
The necessity to entrust the image of the party and of the candidate to real professionals of marketing, and the need to buy the modern instruments of communication involves an expense that goes far beyond the possibilities of the public funds dedicated to political campaigning (in Europe political parties are funded by the state), new means of financing must be made possible to political parties: and their economic management will have to be completely revolutionized.
In this context, political activity could become an enormous financial opportunity that could help develop entire fields of the economy, providing business to a multitude of companies.
In order to enter in the area of “pragmatic management”, political parties need a careful cure of their image, a real marketing strategy, a professional use of all communication instruments available and huge amounts of money.
Olfactory marketing is a new instrument of communication that alone has the potential to resolve some of the main problems arising from this need of change, such as, for example the problem of “par condicio*” (there is no par condicio rule on olfactory publicity) and the stumbling problem of public financing for political parties (perfume business is a wealth generator).
Above all, however the political perfume could be the only instrument capable of resolving the heart of the “European crisis of politics”; the need to renew the very image of politics in a totally innovative way.
Modern marketing is the result of a current that was developed in the eighties from Holbrook and Hirshman. They concluded that the affective and emotional states are the main factors that motivate the choices of the individuals. Political marketing will not try to communicate ideas because the idea is supposed to be the product in politics, but will endeavor to offer rewarding emotions that will convince people to feel these ideas as their own.
The fact that European politics is devoid of social ideas and ideals and consists uniquely in economic “receipts” changes things only in a minor way, the product is not the ideas but the party.
Olfactory marketing is based on the last discoveries in the fields of physiology and olfactory psychology. Although we unconscious of it, our nose is part of the core of our nervous system. Being a part of our Limbic system, where primordial emotions are elaborated and where our olfactory memory resides.
Olfactory memories, be they gained by personal experiences or by genetic inheritance, program us to determined behavioral answers. A real “language of odors” exists, that speaks to our unconscious in a way much more convincing than many speeches.
This language can be used in order to communicate messages directly to the centre of the persons nervous system.
Shifting the political perception
Europe is not America and is the inheritor of millennia of artistic and religious culture that prevents us to accept the American Way, where everyone knows without bothering much that only the amount of money invested wins an election.
Europe is not America and in Europe the wealth of the rich must be spent for social good or for culture in order to obtain a moral justification of its power (see how the banks restore old churches in Italy).
The impudent expensiveness of the American political show business would not be accepted in Europe, marketing the political product here has to be done in a more subtle way.
European politics having renounced to propose ideas of social projects, the party itself and particularly its leader (with his economic receipt) becomes the product to market, and as it becomes so difficult to identify parties from their ideas and projects, it becomes necessary to shift the perception that people have of them from the idealistic plan to the cultural, artistic and aesthetic ones, which are capable of generating the motivating emotions.
The “Milan effect”
Without any doubt, the purchase of soccer teams by some political persons is the most representative example of this new tendency.
In France as in Italy it has been the conservators, full of capitals and entrepreneurial experience, who tried to shift the perception of politics in the arena of the most followed (and profitable) of all sports, football. A “Milan club” supporter can be a socialist but in a certain sense he supports right wing Berlusconi who owns the team and, going to the stadium, he even effectively finances him.
When some day he will become disappointed with his own party (and it needs little to being disappointed in politics), he will automatically turn to the party of his soccer team, gaining even a new life coherence, because he will transfer in some way his passion for sport into his political choice.
With the political perfume it is possible to take advantage of the “Milan effect” on a much broader base (women rarely like soccer game) with a much inferior investment, using the basic techniques of olfactory marketing.
In the context of leveling of the political market (shifting of the consents towards the centre), innovation is the key to success. One of the basic principles of olfactory psychology is: “what emanates a good smell is good in itself”.
The good scent of a product is unconsciously associated to its innate goodness, but above all, the simple fact that a party should have its own perfume will be perceived by the public as a proof of party’s innovative ability.
The political perfume, as an innovation, is able to promote an innovative image of the party even in total absence of new ideas, and this will happen in a social context in which the necessity of change is felt by the majority.
To acquire and to keep consents
The political choice similarly to the choice of your own soccer team becomes more and more emotional and entrusted to pure instinct, with the true spirit of a supporter. It is a visceral and irrational choice and only arguments of the same nature can determine a change of camp.
The power that odors have to influence directly the central nervous system and to awake positive emotions stored from our past experiences makes perfume a powerful marketing tool capable not only to acquire but also to keep consents.
Advertisement without rules neither costs
There are no laws yet that regulate the use of smells for advertising purpose, this authorizes anyone to use all the techniques of olfactory marketing, including those that take advantage of the subliminal effect, of thefeed back effect and of the recently discovered properties of aromas in psycho-aromatherapy.
With aromas there is no more need to purchase advertising space. If the perfume that we shall propose is able to provoke this demand: “What perfume is this?”, the rest of the conversation can easy be imagined:
“it is the perfume of the party X.”
“Wow, good. I don’t agree with them but I want this perfume.”
In this way the political adversary is not only conquered on the cultural level (perfume is culture), but wearing the fragrance, he will advertise the adversary party, and will also finance it.
Nothing forbids that vehicles diffuse the olfactory logo of a party in the streets, offering to the city a breeze of air perfumed with natural essences. Which better way obtain consents!
The scent can be diffused in all the inner political events of the party, but to diffuse it during sponsored cultural or sport events will allows the party to take advantage later on of the “feed back effect” from that scent, in order to optimize the investment, acquiring new consents.
For instance the logo of the party can be diffused (also in a subliminal way), during events characterized by a strong emotional component: concerts, games, cinema, theatres, convention etc… The olfactory memory of the persons will associate the perfume to the emotion that has accompanied the event, and next time they do smell it, on the wake of a person who wears it, from a vehicle that perfumes the city, close to a perfumed electoral poster or on the paper inserts of the party, the memory of the passed emotion will awaken and will be associated to the name of the party.
The technicality of diffusing the scent does not represent any problem for a political party. In effects, nothing prevent two or three volunteers in a cinema for instance to spray the political essence. The same method can be applied to many situations.
Perfume business to finance the party
The conversion from a system where the state funds finance political parties into a private financing system is a necessary evolution. Instead of the famous Americans political dinners where rich ones leave their checks of support, the political perfume given with the party card, sold in the party centers or during conventions or, why not, in shops, can help any party to generate funds from their own political base.
From antiquity until modern times, the trade of perfumes has been an enormous source of wealth. The sale of the political perfume is itself facilitated by the fact that all political communication made with a perfume is also publicity made to the perfume itself.
The political perfume must be quite expensive, because it must be good and because its purchase must be perceived as economic participation by political sympathizers, while it must be a toll to others.
The price of the perfume first of all will gives value to its own image and to the image of the party.
The olfactory logo
The elaboration of an olfactory logo is made first of all in function of the target that is aimed at. For example in the case of talcum powder, it is the mothers that should like the smell of the product, before the babies. The sweet aroma of vanilla, of the Sunday cakes eaten in family, and of milk creams prepared at home for the children, totally symbolize tender feelings of the mother for her child.
The most narrow will be the typology of the target for a product, the simpler will be the task to make its olfactory logo.
For political parties, like for big companies which already possess a brand and who have a vast public with an immense variety of typologies, not only the chosen fragrance must reflect a set of values and a philosophy, but it should also obtain an almost universal consent.
Nevertheless the composition of an olfactory logo is not difficult for a perfumer, being a creative and intuitive process comparable to the work of a musician who must compose the sound column of a film. Although essential to this task, mastery of olfactory psychology is not enough, as in all artist works, two non scientific factors must take part: intuition and inspiration.
Contrarily to commercial logos, the political olfactory logo should be renewed with every new political season, in order to adapt the communication to the changes of the collective frames of mind and epochal emotions. Moreover, continuing the production of the previous fragrances allows the party to keep the “old customers”, while producing a new one always permits to win new consents. Culture is alive and dynamic, the renewal of the political perfume will be perceived as the proof of the life of the political party, and the array the fragrances that will be created in the course of the years will be witness to its cultural history, let alone a constant source of income.
* “Par condicio” is a rule in Italy that asserts that access to television campaigning for political parties must be in equal measure for all, so that the wealthier of them should not be able to brain wash public opinion.