If your sales success is based on what others think, believe or act, then part of your marketing and branding plan should include some type of scent strategy. Scent marketing works because of one fundamental truth, decisions are emotionally driven.

I bet you can remember the smell of your elementary school cafeteria. Just thinking about it probably floods your mind with thoughts, memories and emotions. Why? Because the sense of smell is powerful.   

WHAT IS SCENT MARKETING
Studies show that odors not only bring back memories, but can also impact responses, thoughts, attitudes and even behavior. This is the reason scent marketing — the purposeful use of odors to increase, sales, create moods and/or stamp a brand experience into a customer’s subconscious — is a growing multi-million-dollar industry.

Studies show that odors not only bring back memories, but can also impact responses, thoughts, attitudes, and even behavior. This is the reason scent marketing — the purposeful use of odors to increase, sales, create moods and/or stamp a brand experience into a customer’s subconscious — is a growing multi-million-dollar industry.

MAJOR BRANDS ALREADY READY USING THIS MARKETING STRATEGY
From retail to healthcare, companies and organizations are using odors to create specific moods, feelings, emotions, and behaviors.

  • Walt Disney World pumps the scent of popcorn down Main Street to make patrons hungry. 
  • Florida Hospital near Orlando added the smell of coconut oil and the ocean to their MRI department in order to create a relaxing atmosphere and was able to cut out-patient cancellation rates in half.
  • Nike found that a person was 84 percent more likely to purchase a shoe when a certain odor was in the air.

FIVE APPROACHES TO SCENT MARKETING
Direct Influence – This is the most basic form, and it involves intensifying and distributing the odor of a specific food item into the air. On buses in South Korea, Dunkin Donuts released the scent of coffee every time a Dunkin Donut jingle played over their speaker systems. The chain saw coffee sales rise by almost 30 percent because of this tactic.  

Frame of Reference – By using an already formed conditioned response (remember Pavlov’s bell and salivating dog), scents can be used to create emotions. For example, studies have found that living on the coast gives individuals a feeling of well-being. If part of the brand experience is to feel comfortable and happy, then infusing the air with smells of the ocean will help generate these feelings and emotions.

Natural Scents – Certain odors naturally illicit specific feelings or emotions.The smell of peppermint is known to invigorate, orange to uplift, and lavender to relax. There are numerous studies that identify which scents create which emotions. 

Signature Odor – If the brand experience involves lasting memories, then having a signature scent may be a good option. Hotel chains such as Hyatt and Shangri-La have their own custom scents. In fact, Shangri-La guests can bring the smell of the hotel home with them by purchasing scented candles, diffusers, room spray, and fragrance oil.