I recently came across an article written by Estelle Page who is a self-employed interior designer. below is her article which was published on https://rabidofficemonkey.com 

Scent Marketing: What Does Your Brand Smell Like?

What Does Your Brand Smell Like?

When planning your marketing strategy you’ve likely considered your brand image, target audience and channels of communication – but what about the scent of your brand?

The idea of using scent to sell an idea is nothing new; religion has been assaulting our senses with incense since the dawn of time, and estate agents have been known to encourage baking before house viewings. However, official scent marketing is growing in popularity and is the next frontier in advertising techniques.

But how can you harness the power of scent to promote your brand and how can  it benefit your business?

What is Scent Marketing?

Scent is one of our most powerful senses and has a dramatic impact on our memory and mood. Have you ever sprayed a perfume and had a sudden flashback, and then a feeling that you associate with the recollection? This is an example of how strong an aroma’s impact on our brain can be; in fact our scent receptors are connected directly to the area of the brain responsible for memory and emotion.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that if we have a choice between a nice smelling product and an unpleasant smelling one, we’re likely to opt for the former– what’s different about scent marketing is that rather than creating desire for a specific product, we are creating an emotional connection between consumers and an entire brand.

Savvy companies have cottoned on to this useful idea. Brand identity is more important today than it has ever been before, as more and more companies and products compete in any given market. The technique involves identifying the ‘smell’ of a brand and using it at barely perceptible levels to influence the desires and memories of your customers. Alternatively, retailers may use a scent that will influence people to buy, for example the smell of crisp linen in a formal wear store, or of freshly baked bread in a bakery.

The idea is that through the power of scent consumers will make an emotional connection with the brand that will cause them to remember it positively, or that it will even influence them to buy whilst in the store.

How does it Work? 

Scent marketing is all about deciding on what mood you want customers to experience, and tailoring a scent that will have this effect. Many scent brand companies will offer a range of scents from fresh and fruity to subtle and sleek as well as bespoke fragrances, in order to suit any brand.

A number of studies have shown the impact that scent can have on consumer behavior. For example neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Alan R. Hirsch found smell to be highly influential when it came to how many coins gamblers would insert into slot machines. The Scent Institute suggests 10 scents that have a recognized impact on our emotions:

  • Talcum powder – safe secure and nostalgic
  • Alertness – peppermint and citrus
  • Relaxation – lavender, vanilla, chamomile
  • Perceive a room as smaller – barbecue smoke
  • Perceive a room as bigger – apple, cucumber
  • Purchase expensive furniture – cedar, leather
  • Purchase a house – fresh baked goods
  • Browse longer and spend more – Tailored floral/ citrus scents
  • Get road rage – unpleasant smells such as rotting and rubbish

These effects are of course dependent on personal experience. If you’ve ever choked on pumpkin pie your unlikely to find it very arousing.

Can it be used by Any Industry?

There are an unlimited number and variety of different combinations of scents – it therefore follows that scent marketing can work for an unending variety of businesses. From cars to airlines, scent is being used to distinguish brands from one another. Take Crayola and Play-Doh; could you tell them apart just by smell – of course you could.

Scent Design

Scent design permeates many markets. In particular car manufacturers have long recognised the importance of the intoxicating ‘new car smell’ for their business. Many bottle their own scent and spray it in new vehicles – for example Cadillac infuse their interiors with a custom scent called Nuance.

Westin Hotels have also got in on the scent marketing action, infusing their lobbies with a white tea fragrance, favoured for its simplicity and ability to both relax and energise. SONYn style fragrance their showrooms with mandarin and vanilla, whilst Singapore Airlines have distributed scented towels for over a decade.

Scent marketing is one of the most modern advertising crazes. Many companies are even looking to take the idea even further, for example by finding ways to waft the fragrance out into the street to entice customers in. As the power of the brand becomes ever greater, its popularity looks unlikely to dwindle.


Estelle Page