The 4th Space, Creativity & Organizing Workshop was devoted to the senses – in particular to the sense of smell.
“Perfume plays a social role in that it effects a unique synthesis of individual egoistical and social purposes in the field of the sense of smell.” – GEORG SIMMEL
Do you remember the commercials that promote deodorants and openly appeal to sexist phantasies? Women are drawn in hordes to any male who has sprayed himself liberally with the deodorant – the “Axe effect”. The commercials have been known as the world’s sexist advertising campaign for many years.
The common slogan “dress for success” underlines the wide-held view that what you wear matters in everyday life. It originates in Erving Goffman’s studies on the social world as a stage. Accordingly, individuals interact as performers. In the context of management and organization studies this mode of interaction has later been labeled as “impression management”. It is obvious that workplace attire is used to manage the impressions of others. Studies show that women are more interested in clothing and experience more “appearance labor” when compared to men.*
Individuals who want to be successful in today’s career landscape have to go beyond solid performance and strong results; personal branding is an increasingly important factor as well. Impression management plays a key role in today’s professional world, and one’s olfactory appearance is an integral part thereof. Which strategies and intentions one wants to achieve with personal scent, however, have only been researched casually, at best, so far.
Thus, the leading German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, recently discussed the use of certain perfumes by representatives of a political youth organization. What message does a user of Tommy Hilfiger perfume want to convey? According to the FAZ this young politician wants to identify himself as a performance oriented achiever who spends his money on clothes that are distinctly designed for this social group.