Congress host 2012

2012 Congress Host: University of Oxford


“We are delighted to host the fourth congress of the Audio Branding Academy here in Oxford. Oxford is a vibrant university city with excellent pubs, restaurants, parks, history, and architecture; a place where centurys-old tradition meets cutting-edge scientific innovation. The University of Oxford has spawned some of the world’s greatest minds and ideas. It is our hope that hosting this year’s ABA conference in this stimulating environment will result in the exchange of ideas that might help to shape the future of audio branding. This year, special attention will be given to the multisensory aspects of audio branding and to the role of consumer research in audio branding. We are very much looking forward to give you a warm welcome in Oxford!” (Charles Spence, Klemens Knöferle)

Host Team

Professor Charles Spence is the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University. He is interested in how people perceive the world around them. In particular, how our brains manage to process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives. His research focuses on how a better understanding of the human mind will lead to the better design of multisensory foods, products, packaging, interfaces, and environments in the future.

His research calls for a radical new way of examining and understanding the senses that has major implications for the way in which we design everything from household products to mobile phones, and from the food we eat to the places in which we shop, work and live. His research has major implications for multisensory branding.  He is currently working on problems associated with the design of foods that maximally stimulate the senses, and with the design of multisensory branding and packaging. He has also worked extensively on the effect of the indoor environment on mood, well-being, shopping behaviour, and performance.

Charles has acted as a consultant for a number of multinational companies advising on various aspects of multisensory design, packaging, and branding over the past decade, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, BMW, ICI, McDonalds, Quest, Firmenich, Britvic, Neurosense, Beiersdorf, Nestle, SSL International, VF Corporation, Mars, Starbucks, Elopak, Faraday Packaging, Takasago, Restaurant Denis Martin, and The Fat Duck restaurant.

Charles has published more than 400 articles in top-flight scientific journals. Charles has been awarded the 10th Experimental Psychology Society Prize, the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section Award, the Paul Bertelson Award, recognizing him as the young European Cognitive Psychologist of the Year, and, most recently, the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany.


Coming from a background in musicology, Klemens Knöferle obtained a Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University. His research focuses on how sensory aspects of products and retail environments influence consumers’ emotions, perceptions, preferences, and behaviour. Klemens is particularly interested in interactions between different sensory modalities, and builds on current insights from the fields of cognitive psychology and psychophysics into how our various senses process information and interact with each other. Moreover, Klemens specializes in the influence of auditory cues (such as product-inherent sounds and music) on consumer behaviour.

The goal of Klemens’ research is to contribute to a better understanding of the biases that arise from the way in which our senses operate, ultimately increasing our knowledge of unconscious influences on consumer behaviour. His research addresses an issue critical to companies and consumers: On the one hand, understanding how sensory features interact with each other can help to design better products, stores, and promotional activities. On the other hand, knowledge of unconscious sensory influences may enable consumers to make better choices. Klemens has consulted and collaborated with national and multinational companies in the automotive, retail, and food industries such as Audi, Porsche, Globus, and Nespresso.