” – Do you know smell marketing?
– Small marketing? It’s about… like how small businesses do things to promote themselves?
– No no, I actually said smell. Is about scent and how businesses can use smells in their places/products/people in order to be more appealing to potential costumers.
– I see! That’s really interesting! Though I don’t like strong smelly spray some women use… it makes me feel dizzy and sick. But one time I took a minibus, then I noticed it smelled good, like jasmine but not exactly. Then I found the driver have put… smelly rods in a bottle, I don’t know how to explain it. It was really refreshing, best minibus experience!”
This is a real informal conversation I had with a HK friend when I was talking with her about my curiosity about scent marketing. I think is the perfect example to describe how powerful scent marketing can be. The minibus driver, without even realizing, created a different scent for his minibus that captured my friend’s attention and even make her describe the whole thing as a “the best minibus experience” (maybe exaggerating a bit?). This happened to her a while ago, and she still could remember the special scent and… who doubts that she would like to get the same minibus again?
Why scent is so powerful is because of how our brain is formed and how it works. A study from The Rockefeller University in New York revealed that our brain remembers 35% of the things we smell. This is quite shocking as we only remember 5% of what we see, 2% of what we hear and 1% of what we touch. Also, our brain registers the first time we smell something as a powerful emotion related to the situation in which we are at that moment. This is, my friend smelled something new and pleasant on that minibus that cause her a really good impact, so from now on, if she smells that same scent somewhere else, she will link it with that experience on the bus. Not only that, she will remember that she was happy at that time because of the good smell and we know that our brain is addicted to good feelings. So, as stated before, she might want to repeat the experience just because her mind is craving for it.
This might be also an exaggeration, but the concept behind scent marketing is exactly that. Nowadays there are some companies that are specialized on creating unique scents for different kind of businesses. They make a study of the sector the business is in, they study their culture and their marketing strategy and they create a different scent for that specific business taking into consideration those kind of factors.
We actually don’t hear too much about all of this, but actually many companies are using this strategy one way or another to attract or keep clients in their businesses. This is also one of the remarkable things about scent marketing: Is so subtle that customers won’t feel that the company is trying to sell them their products/services. One of the first known using this was Disney using popcorn scent on their amusement parks to make the experience much more enriching and, of course, make them feel hungry.
So in conclusion, we shouldn’t forget about it and know scent marketing is real, and it works. Though that’s one of the hardest thing, how to measure the success of it? I might write about it on later post.
In the meanwhile… Have you ever experienced something like my Hong Kong friend did? What is that place where you noticed that magic smell that made you remember it forever? (Bad experiences also counts!)