Inside the invisible world of scent branding

Recently, retail outlets, hotel chains and offices have been employing a secret marketing strategy to encourage customers to buy more items, linger longer and increase employee efficiency. How? By creating a unique scent for their environment. Once you realise this, you’ll consciously notice it in many places you visit.

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Scent marketing has become popular in many areas of business. Some companies are creating a scent that sums up their business and encourages positive buying behaviour in the same way as a logo or advertising campaign.

Marketing Emotions

The power of scent branding has been developed due to a person’s unique emotional connection with smell. It’s the only one of our senses that triggers emotions and memories. Being able to influence these can bring positive feelings and associations with the store, hotel or restaurant where a customer smells the scent.

US hotel chain Hyatt Place has developed its own signature scent that is diffused throughout its 300 hotels. Guests are welcomed with a blend of blueberries and florals on a warm vanilla and musk base. When the scent was introduced in 2007 to a test audience, feedback showed that guests felt welcome and calm and that the scent enhanced their visit.

Test Your Scents

Many businesses have been trading on natural scent marketing for years. How can you walk past a bakery without wanting to buy a fresh loaf, or pick a bunch of flowers from a florist? But for other industries, much research, testing and feedback will be undertaken to ensure that they have the smell to encourage positive customer behaviour. Marketing agencies such as are employed to share their expertise in the area.

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Working with an agency on scent branding will ensure that it becomes a part of your marketing mix, complementing other factors such as music, store layout and lighting.

Just as a store’s brand differs, the emotions and memories that a scent triggers are different, and they can be carefully aligned to reach the right audience and encourage the right behaviour. For example, as explained in ABC News, the aroma of lavender can actually lower heart rates, relaxing us and slowing our perception of time.

If you haven’t done so already, maybe it’s time to consider the secret element to your marketing mix to spice up your customer experience.