Scent Marketing – fill your brand with scent

Manufacturers and service providers have always used the senses to attract customers. However, these solutions have not been analysed and studied extensively enough to present their real value. Using the senses in order to trigger certain associations is called sensory branding. We live in a society in which sight is the most important sense, so visual stimuli are the most popular way to generate certain feelings. Brands relatively often try to use hearing, while other senses – smell, taste and touch seem to be underestimated. It is a huge mistake, especially when it comes to smell which, according to the studies, has the biggest impact on consumer’s decisions and generates the strongest emotions out of all five senses. Scent marketing is mostly used in corporate headquarters, in shops and in service outlets to create a pleasant atmosphere and favourable conditions for shopping.

The influence of scent on customers

Underestimation of smell in marketing is a big mistake. This is confirmed by numerous studies which show that olfactory memory is several times stronger than visual memory and can last up to 50 years. By combining visual stimuli and smell, our brain can remember 70% more information than with just the visual contact.

Smell is so natural for us that we often use it unconsciously, so we do not even realise that it affects our behaviour and decisions. An example is staying in one room for a longer period of time. People spend approximately 18% more time in rooms that smell nice.


Which branch should use scent marketing?

The influence of smell on customers is mostly associated with boutiques and corporate headquarters where smell aims to improve business relations. Nowadays, the sector that is developing most rapidly in terms of scent marketing is the hotel industry. There are many articles and videos available online that show hotel representatives presenting the best ways of using scent marketing and its positive effects. However, it is important to remember that such solutions are only a part of the offer which should be attractive by itself – thanks to its high quality, good service, wide product range etc.


An example of IMS

The key to success in sensory branding is of course the ability to determine the target group and define its needs. This involves the choice of scent that meets the customer’s expectations and can be associated with the values cherished by our brand.

IMS is a recognised company that deals with sensory branding. The agency is open about its successes and failures that can lead to many conclusions. In one of the interviews published online, Wojciech Grendziński – Vice-president of the Management Board of IMS – talks about a campaign for a shoe retailer which involved deep, sensual scent. The campaign was not successful because the scent was so specific that it generated contradictory emotions, dividing customers into those who loved it and those who hated it. Moreover, it did not blend in with the smell of leather used for the shoes.


However, the extraordinary scent used for one of the luxury clothing brands was a big hit. It was a strong scent that combined several types of genuine leather that initially did not seem to work well in a shop that does not sell leather clothes. Combined with the smell of shirts and suits, the scent became subtle and the customers loved it. The company even considered introducing their own perfumes with this exact tone.


Scent marketing and interior perfumes

Perfume companies can use scent marketing in two ways. On one hand, they may of course consider the possibility of introducing fragrances designed specifically for sensory branding or interior perfumes to the market. On the other hand, they may simply use the selected scents in their rooms. All in all, who should attract the customers with scent if not the perfume companies? Spraying selected scents in small quantities in shops, on markets and in corporate headquarters is a great idea. Designing an interior perfume line or perfumes intended for scent marketing can be even more interesting. Considering the current development of this branch of marketing, we can expect huge interest in these products. It is worth to start working on it now!

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