Consumers who already feel overwhelmed with omnipresent advertising may find Martin Lindstrom's Brand Sense (Free Press) a little scary. A branding expert whose clients include Pepsi, Disney and Mars, Lindstrom says marketers can no longer rely only on a consumer's senses of sight and sound to make their products stand out. To create a buzz and long-term customer loyalty, marketers will also need to promote their products through touch, taste and especially smell. Lindstrom says smell is one reason Singapore Airlines ranked the highest in a global survey of valuable brands. The airline has patented a scent that is part of every female flight attendant's perfume and mixed into the hot towels served before takeoff to become the airline's unique trademark. Lindstrom's brand strategy -- presented a bit repetitiously, with distracting graphs and too-cute jargon -- is far from a sure thing. But consumers can be assured that many marketers, eager to boost sales, will certainly try some of his tips. Scent-sensitive consumers may want to consider carrying a pair of nose plugs just in case.
-- C. E. M.