Sniff, Sniff: How To Market With Scent

Do any of you remember Smell-A-Vision? When I was growing up in the Sixties, Smell-A-Vision was touted as a fun new way to experience things – even though it didn’t actually exist. (It was probably only discussed in Mad Magazine!) But it was tantalizing.

Apparently, marketers are once again believing that scent is the way to sell.

As a marketing consultant and author of a bestselling marketing book, I believe that the use of fragrance is very, very smart marketing. If I’m correct, open houses of luxury homes have frequently used the scent of cinnamon rolls, fresh-baked bread and other delicacies to convey an atmosphere of home, sweet home, to entice sellers.

Some hotels, for example, have adopted a signature scent, and have used it to infuse aromas through the air in their lobbies, to make travelers more at ease and at home. Recently, JW Marriott hired ScentAir to create a fragrance for the chain, and ScentAir developed “Subtle Sophistication.” Advertising Age magazine recently described this scent as fresh “with a bit of citrus.” If you really, really like the fragrance – you can even buy it as a candle to bring home. This way, the hotel is creating the ultimate souvenir which will help you remember Marriott when you’re back home.

Scent experts say that using aromas in marketing works well, because smell is directly connected to the brain’s limbic system, which stores memories and emotions. In 2013, the Global Journal of Commerce and Management Perspective said that “ambient scent has the strongest impact when it comes to enhancing consumer behavior in terms of emotion, evaluation, willingness to return to a store and purchase intention.”

Have you noticed Ford’s Lincoln car lately? In its latest effort at rebranding, the car company created a scent called “Essence of Lincoln,” which is dispersed through special ventilation systems in showrooms, to an encourage a sense of well-being and a relaxing atmosphere. The idea? Scent-sational!

In 2015, you can expert more and more retailers to come up with their own signature scents. And you know what I detect? The smell of hard, cold cash.

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