Sensory branding, or defining your brand through multiple senses, helps your business relate to customers in a deeper, more meaningful way than traditional visual marketing. Sensory branding is most effective when as many senses as possible are engaged – sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Some research even suggests that the more senses you can successfully engage, the more customers will be willing to pay for your product.

Smell is an extremely powerful sensory branding tool and it is often overlooked and underutilized by businesses. Smell is more linked to memory and emotion than any other sense and can strongly influence customers’ mood. Consider this: 75% of all emotions you generate in a day are due to scents and you are 100 times more likely to remember something you smell over something you see, hear or touch. If a solution as simple as scent can generate positive emotions and create lasting memories, just imagine the effect it could have on a business. Scent can help differentiate a business, keep a brand top-of-mind for consumers and enhance the in-store experience by eliciting positive emotions. Scent marketing continues to be a growing trend that works – and below are some of its most noticeable effects:

Build Value: Scented retail areas cause products to be perceived as higher-quality and more desirable.

– Example: A Nike study reported that 84% of shoppers wanted the shoes more if they were in a scented environment and were willing to pay 10-20% more for the shoes than if they were in an unscented environment.

Increase Shoppers’ Dwell Time: Customers tend to stay an average of 15 minutes longer in locations using a scent. More dwell time means more impulse buys and profits.

– Example: An independent study showed Samsung shoppers visited three times more product categories and underestimated their shopping time by 26% if the store was scented.

Help Customers Relax: Atmospheric scent can decrease anxiety in customers or patients and reduce perceived wait time.

– Example: At the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, some patients undergoing an MRI scan were exposed to a vanilla scent, while others were not. The patients exposed to the scent experienced, on average, 63% less overall anxiety during the procedure.

Improve Employee Performance: The right scent can boost productivity, lower stress and give employees the positive boost they need to succeed.

– Example: Japanese company Takasago found that lavender and jasmine scents lowered stress for their data entry team, while a lemon scent reduced entry errors by around 54%.

Promote a Theme or Product: Scent can add the finishing touch to a themed location and boost sales on certain products.

– Example: A popular London nightclub doubled their sales of Malibu coconut rum after incorporating a coconut scent into their atmosphere.

Scent Infographic

The numbers don’t lie – scent is inarguably a beneficial marketing tool for businesses. However, not just any scent will do. Do you think MRI patients would be as effectively calmed by a lively citrus scent as they were by the warm, comforting vanilla? Different aromas send different messages to your customers and employees and can affect their behavior in different ways. To effectively use scent marketing, you must have an understanding of these effects because the scent you use must fit your product or service and your brand personality.

You can even use different scents within the same location to produce a desired effect. For example, Bloomingdale’s has incorporated zones of scent into different departments, such as a baby powder aroma in the infant section and coconut near the swimsuits. Hard Rock Hotel also successfully uses multiple scents, giving the atmosphere of a seaside getaway with an ocean scent in the lobby and then enticing guests to the ice cream parlor with scents of vanilla and waffle cone.

With the immense potential and complex nature of scent marketing, you don’t want to navigate it alone. Consult with the experts at Mood and ScentAir to develop the most effective sensory strategy for your business. With the rights scents and the right solution, you can watch – and smell – your business grow.

– Submitted by Samantha Knowlton, Marketing