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Scent can cause you to conjure up multiple feelings, images, thoughts, and memories. Smell is powerful and we shouldn’t overlook it — which is why some business owners have been bringing the power of smell to their stores.

Scent marketing helps brands stand out, create unique branded experiences, and even drives sales. Let’s explore this concept of scent marketing and find ways that you can use it in your business.

What Is Scent Marketing?

Scent marketing is the process if identifying positive smells related to your brand and incorporating them into your in-store marketing process to change customer behavior.

For example, an auto repair shop might actually smell like grease and oil. However, they can control the odors in their reception area to block out any stinky smells and instead pump new car smell into the space. This creates a better experience for customers while reinforcing brand ideals.

One example highlighted in a Quartz article is the classic “British Airways smell” that the airline has developed. This is a unique odor that comes through in diffusers in the bathrooms and in the soap. The smell is unique to British Airways and elicits the emotions of comfort paired with the excitement of taking a trip.

Additionally, brands like Nespresso use scent marketing to turn their products into experiences. Their capsules are meant to create a strong odor specifically so customers can feel like they are in a coffee shop when they use them.

These are just a handful of ways you can use scent marketing. Once you understand why your sense of smell is so powerful, you can tap into their promotion strategy for your brand.

Why Is Your Sense of Smell So Powerful?

You might not realize it, but your sense of smell is incredibly powerful and uniquely different from any other sense in your body.

When your nose picks up a particular scent, the smell gets routed through your olfactory bulb, which is right next to your amygdala and hippocampus — the parts of your brain that work with memories and emotion.

Just walking into a house during the holiday season can elicit strong emotions because of the scents associated with fresh baked cookies, a Christmas tree, and homemade meals. Similarly, you might be stopped in your tracks by a familiar smell that you can’t identify, but brings back certain memories or emotions from your past.

Scent marketing taps into the emotional side of smell.

By choosing specific smell profiles, you can build your brand and add an emotional connection to your business before most customers even fully survey your store. Plus, when people get a whiff of your brand smell again, they will immediately think of your business and the experience they had there.

Examples of Scent Marketing Across Various Industries

Along with the examples mentioned earlier of the Nespresso and British Airways branded scents, you can find scent marketing in several industries across all brand levels.

Once you start to consciously notice the scents used by brands, you can start to understand the kinds of emotions and reactions they want from customers. A few examples of scent marketing include:

  • Burger King pushing out the scent of burgers on the grill as people leave the office on the way to lunch.
  • Victoria’s Secret making sure their stores are highly perfumed to convey luxury and status.
  • Williams Sonoma using spices to make even the worst chefs want to cook.
  • Salons and spas diffusing eucalyptus and lavender to elicit a sense of calm.
  • Shoe stores using the scent of leather to convey quality while hiding the odor of customer feet.

Scent marketing is even found in veterinary practices. More vets plug hormone-infused scent diffusers into the walls that are meant to calm nervous cats and dogs. More humans can’t smell anything, but their pets are often less stressed because of the comforting scent therapy.

How Can You Develop a Scent Marketing Plan?

When you’re ready to explore scent marketing, you form a branding strategy similar to your other in-store marketing tactics.

  1. The first step is to determine the top reasons why you want to incorporate scents into your business. Are you trying to neutralize odors, like those found in a veterinary facility or auto shop? Are you trying to improve your branding with a signature scent that customers remember? These goals will drive your scent choices.
  2. The next step is to actually develop your scent profile. You can work with our team to review your different scent options and see which ones match your goals. You might be surprised by the types of scents that elicit reactions from your team and remind them of your brand. You can also mix and match various scents to create a unique profile.
  3. Once you have a signature scent, the final step is to start diffusing it. We use completely hypoallergenic oil-based scents, so you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals or odors that drive sensitive customers away. The goal is to keep people in your store and create a positive customer experience, not create negative reactions and odor headaches.

On your side, it’s up to your team to review the popularity of the scents in your store. Do customers notice the smell when they walk in? Do you notice an uptick in repeat visitors? This means your scent marketing strategy is working and your efforts are paying off.

Learn More About Scent Marketing

To learn more about this marketing strategy, check out our scent marketing resource page or contact Spectrio for a free demo to talk about what scent marketing can do for your unique business.

We’d love to talk to you about how you can infuse your stores with scents that provide a unique customer experience while reinforcing your brand and driving sales.