Historically, marketing efforts focused largely upon the senses of sight and hearing, using a combination of visual (photos, video, animation, the written word) and audio tools (the spoken word, music, sound effects). Advances in olfactory science have led to a third option for businesses and marketing professionals: harnessing the power of distinctive fragrances to favorably influence customer mood and experience.
The Science of Smell
For much of history, the sense of smell was largely ignored by researchers in favor of vision and hearing. In the last few decades, much has been learned about the critical role the sense of smell has played in human evolution and the unique, remarkable, and hard-wired anatomical connection between smell, memory, and emotion. In purely evolutionary terms, our brains and DNA indicate that the sense of smell is preeminent and fundamental.
How the Nose Knows
Smell, memory, and emotions are closely linked because of brain anatomy. The sense of smell is the process of taking into the nostril’s molecules of the fragrance, and those molecules seek and find a set of receptors, these receptors analyze and transmit information to the brain. The sense of smell is unique among the senses in that its stimuli proceed directly to the limbic system. This is the same part of the brain responsible for memory and emotions. It is this powerful relationship between scent and memory that scent marketing acts upon.
What is Scent Marketing?
Scent marketing might be defined very broadly as the intentional use of fragrance to encourage customers to regard the brand and business favorably. Scents have been demonstrated to create lasting memories associated with powerful positive emotional reactions. Let’s learn about scent marketing from a reputable, full-service firm.
Scent Marketing: Make Your Customers Raving Fans
Studies have shown the following benefits of using scent marketing:
- customers stay up to 44% longer in a pleasant-smelling environment
- enhanced willingness to pay a higher price for products and services
- scenting increases a consumer’s willingness to purchase
- create a lasting memory and unique experience for customers
- renders the brand a more comprehensive statement of philosophy and principle
- enhances profitability by harnessing emotive forces of customers
Medical and Dental Offices Would Benefit from Scent Marketing
Consider businesses that most people dread: the doctor and the dentist. Medical procedures, in general, are associated with unpleasantness at best, and more commonly with pain, blood, and misery. This general sense of foreboding experienced by patients is magnified by the usual obnoxious odors. Might not the moods of patients be soothed by the scent of vanilla or lavender rather than aggravated by the stench of disinfectant?
Imagine if exam rooms for children smelled of popcorn, cotton candy, or flowers. What if similar techniques were used at clinics drawing blood, or performing MRI’s or x-rays? While no medical profession can guarantee a pain-free experience, they can take modest steps to put patients at ease. Just imagine a pleasant-smelling doctor’s office. Would that not find a place in your favorable memories?
Hotels and Hospitality Benefit from Scent Marketing
The hyper-competitive hotel business has a long tradition with scent marketing. A hotel is selling an experience. With the science truly being settled as to the relationship between fragrance, memory, and emotion, hotels have competed to create a unique aroma that their customers will recognize instantly and yearn to return to. Custom scents are professionally crafted and then delivered through the HVAC systems, using the same cold-air diffuser technology used by reputable retailers.
Retailers Benefit from Scent Marketing
In a competitive era, with online competition and a pandemic, retailers are using scent marketing to attract shoppers, keep them around longer, and make them more likely to make a purchase. Even in these difficult times, there are many shoppers who prefer the hands-on to the click-click experience. Scent marketing creates positive memories in a way that cannot be replicated by the sterile online experience. For those shoppers making the effort to visit a location, scent marketing is a potent but affordable way to create lasting favorable memories.
Casinos and Gaming Benefit from Scent Marketing
Casino operators historically have gone to great trouble first to attract, and then to retain, customers. For many years, it was subsidized or free drinks or meals, generous hotel room packages, and similar practices. Studies have shown that casino patrons are more likely to stay, and to spend more, in a pleasant-smelling environment. Scent marketing is a practical and affordable way to enhance the visit of every person who comes in the casino door, and that memory will stay with them. A reputable provider may craft a unique scent that becomes part of the casino experience and part of the brand.
Fitness Centers Benefit from Scent Marketing
Few businesses have the olfactory challenges faced by gyms and fitness centers. In the old days, the best that one might hope for would be a faintly sterile neutralized smell with undertones of dirty socks and dampness. Thanks to scent marketing, gyms and fitness centers can improve user experience in an elegant, affordable way with just the right scent. Not only can those unpleasant aromas be vanquished, but they can be replaced with positive fragrances that energize the workout experience.
Scent Marketing: Invigorating Employees
Attracting and retaining competent staff is one of the greatest challenges facing modern managers. Whether your business operates in retail locations or an office block, scent marketing can enhance the workday experience of employees. Scent marketing is a simple, affordable, and fun way to interest potential employees and keep those you have. It is also a means to distinguish you from the herd. Studies have shown that fragrances can boost employee productivity and creativity. And, scent marketing provides an opening for your employees to strike up a conversation with customers.
Few businesses today are immune from intense competitive pressures. These pressures encourage businesses to adopt strategies and practices to distinguish themselves. Scent marketing provides a tested and affordable tool for businesses to create lasting, powerful, and positive memories in the minds of their customers and guests.