Saturday, 21 November 2015

A Swiss student's thesis on the influence of perfume blogs - online survey request!

A picturesque place in Switzerland which is a little bit off the tourist trail - and for which I have a soft spot for that very reason - is St Gallen. Long term readers may recall that I based myself there one weekend in late October, 2011. I caught a gig by The Monochrome Set (I know - they get everywhere!) on the Saturday night, following a meet up with Swiss perfumistas in Basel and a solo perfumery crawl in Zurich. The impressive baroque cathedral in St Gallen gets a brief mention in this airport sniffing post.

So when I received an email out of the blue from an undergraduate student there, my ears pricked up:

"My Name is Nina Meier and I am currently writing my bachelor thesis at University of St. Gallen (HSG, Switzerland) about 'the influence of blogs on the perfume market'. In course of  my thesis I am now looking for qualified interview partners who are willing to answer a few questions regarding this specific topic."


Nina's degree is in business administration, and her professor, Claus Noppeney, has a special interest in scent. Nina drew my attention to an interesting post on the Scent Culture Institute within the university, which I see counts Andy Tauer as one of its collaborators. Here is an excerpt from the About page of the Institute's website, explaining the olfactory tie up in more detail.

"The sense of smell has long been disregarded as one of the lower senses. More recently, however, the cultural and social relevance of the sense of smell is increasingly recognized. The formation of the Scent Culture Institute reflects this development. It is involved in different kinds of projects focusing on the sense of smell in culture, business and society. Projects vary in orientation: research, consulting, education, scent design, etc. The growing number of projects show how olfaction, scent and smell are increasingly the focus of cultural studies, art and design practice, as well as management research."

Me in St Gallen - wearing my sample scoring coat!

Well, as a market researcher myself, I am always happy to help out where I can - I am often excluded from surveys by virtue of being a professional 'insider' - but no such criteria applied here. So Nina sent me - along with a whole clatter of other bloggers, many of them familiar names on the scene - her survey questions, and I plan to post my own answers on Bonkers shortly. I am holding off from doing so for a while longer though, so as not to bias any readers who wish to take part in a short online survey Nina has also devised.

"Furthermore my current research design is also intending a qualitative part, in which course I would also like to make an online survey with the followers/readers of your blog."

The aim of this parallel line of inquiry is to see what sources of information about fragrance are consulted by the perfume wearing public, and how relatively influential they are in shaping people's views of brands or individual scents. So clearly my saying whether I think Bonkers about Perfume has any part to play in all of that might prejudice the results of this related 'consumer' research.

So without further ado, here is the link to Nina's online survey. It only takes a few minutes - no, really, I did a dummy run myself to see! - and your participation would be very helpful for her thesis.

Online survey link

My answers to the bloggers' survey to follow...


  1. Love the sound of the Scent Culture Institute.

    I enjoyed filling out the survey. Looking forward to your answers, V.

    Best of luck to Nina with her project and degree.

    1. Hi Tara,

      Yes, imagine having a uni professor who is a fumehead to all intents and purposes. Thanks for completing the survey - I hope Nina gets a few responses for her assignment. It is possible that some of the other bloggers she approached may also be linking to it on their sites.

  2. For a while I kept telling myself that I would find time to answer those questions... but with my schedule in the last 6 months who was I kidding? But I hope she found enough participants to get data she needed.

    1. Hi Undina,

      I saw that Nina had approached you and I think that you of all people should be excused from answering her questions - I marvel that you have any time to blog at all these days, never mind comment on other people's blogs. But it is nice to stay in touch with you during your ongoing madly busy phase!

  3. Hello Vanessa,

    I participated! Having studied marketing back in the 80s and 90s, I quite enjoy looking into the design of surveys, so I am a member of several different ongoing panels (for different newspapers and magazines mostly, but also consumer products). I hope Nina gets enough data to be able to do a good analysis.

    1. Hi Ingeborg,

      Thanks so much for taking part - Nina really appreciates everyone's time and thought. I was interested to hear you were a marketing student - research is of course an important plank of that. And to learn that you are still helping out by completing surveys. That is the best way to improve consumer products, no question.

  4. Hi I've filled out the survey. How could I not,seeing as I'm based in Switzerland and adore St. Gallen! I must check out that Institute asap. Do you know if Nina will publish her results?

    1. Hi Mariann,

      Well, thank you very much for doing that! Lucky you to live in Switzerland, it's a beautiful country. I don't know if Nina is publishing her results, but shall certainly inquire. ;)