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What's Scenting?

After a recent visit to Dylan’s House of Candy on a quick task for a client of ours, we entered with a pre-determined list of sweets to purchase, however, headed back out with an extra handful of candy that promised a sweet sugar rush.


Why? Because the sweet and succulent scent of the candy in the store brought back long-lost childhood memories, which made buying hard to resist, which leads us to our latest blog that looks at a few companies who use or have used Scent Marketing in their business model to generate brand awareness, including a study on using chocolate in a bookstore.


“A smell returns us to the already visited places and it takes us back in time. It´s scientifically proven – through the connection between the nose and the sensual part of our brain. Smell is a powerful and emotional trigger for memories and feelings,” – Petr Brabec, owner of Brown & Johnson Company.


Dunkin Donuts

Whilst the brand name suggests that the company’s main product is donuts, Dunkin Donuts are also a coffee-house chain, and one of the problems that this brand had was the fact that consumers, particularly in South Korea, opted for mainstream coffee brands for their wake-up call.

Therefore, to increase the association between Dunkin Donuts and coffee, the Seoul Dunkin Office in South Korea got in touch with the advertising agency Cheil Worldwide. Together, they devised an aroma machine that releases a ‘coffee-aroma’ every time the Dunkin Donut jingle was played on the radio on a bus. The goal was for listeners of the Dunkin Donut jingle to subconsciously start pairing the idea of coffee with Dunkin Donuts.

The visitors to Dunkin Donut shops located near bus stops (the ads were conducted in buses that had a drop-off around a nearby Dunkin Donut shop) increased by about 16% whilst the sales increased by 29%.

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 “We have vocabulary for touch, for sound, for sight, for taste. But we have no vocabulary for smell.”— @dawn_goldworm


Hyatt Place

The hospitality industry is also rapidly adopting and adding scent into their brands and spaces. Hyatt Place hotels are just one example of many in the hotel industry to create a signature scent brand and waft it throughout their spaces. In fact, according to Bloomberg, in 2015, hotels spent an estimated $300 million in the scent-branding industry. Experts claim the hotel scent branding industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2015 to 2020.

Adding scent to your brand can increase brand perceptions, brand memorability and quality of experience. Hyatt Place’s scent brand Seamless is now featured in over 300 hotels across the US. The scent has proven to be an integral aspect of the Hyatt Place brand, personifying the brand’s message and mission through olfactory sense.

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 “In our experience, the best hotel scents have a multifaceted job to do; they should make a statement about the brand they represent, and at the same time evoke a specific mood within the minds of guests the minute the walk into a hotel lobby or hospitality environment.”Air-Scent International


A Bookstore in Belgium, Chocolate Scent Experiment

For approximately half of its open-for-business hours, the scent of chocolate was dispersed into the store from two locations. The smell was subtle enough that it wasn’t immediately noticeable, but strong enough so that it could be instantly identified once it was pointed out.

Researchers tracked the actions of every fifth customer to enter the store—a total of 201 people. They report that when the scent was activated, shoppers showed a greater tendency to take their time, check out a variety of titles, and/or chat with an employee.

Specifically, “customers were 2.22 times more likely to closely examine multiple books when the chocolate scent was present in the store, compared with the control condition,”

In addition, when the aroma was present, shoppers were less likely to search out one specific book and take it directly to the cash register. Something about the store’s environment made them want to hang out a bit longer than they perhaps had planned.

The researchers tracked sales of books in four popular genres. A panel of students had previously ranked two of them (food and drink and romance novels) as congruent with the smell of chocolate, and another two (history books and mysteries/crime thrillers) as particularly incongruent with that aroma. Altogether, 119 of the 201 tracked shoppers bought at least one book in one of those categories.

They report sales for books in the first category increased by an impressive 40 percent when the chocolate smell was in the air. Perhaps even more encouragingly, those in the second category also rose, by a more modest but still substantial 22 percent, over the hours when the store was scentless.

Interestingly, the customers were more likely to check out the crime thrillers and history volumes when the aroma was absent. The scent of chocolate apparently steered people away from those genres.

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What do Aromatech Inc, a Canadian Scent Specialist, have to say about scent marketing?

Scent Sells

There is a lot more to scent branding than just creating a pleasant aroma or transmitting the aroma of a product. Research tells us that the sense of smell affects about 75% of our daily emotions and plays a significant role in memory. The sense of smell is different from the other senses because it is processed first by the limbic system, the same part of the brain responsible for memory, perceptions, and emotions. The other senses are first directed through the analytical part of the brain, before indirectly reaching the emotional sphere. So, scent is a more primitive sense, and science is discovering that scent plays a much larger part in influencing our emotions and decisions.

Scent Marketing is a growing trend in advertising, and it is becoming more and more successful because companies start to realize that our senses play a vital and complex role in forming our mood, thoughts, and behaviours. Businesses are spending millions of dollars to stand out and catch our attention, yet 83 percent of commercial communication presently revolves around visual and auditory stimuli. Scent marketing offers an avenue that is different from traditional branding strategies, and although it has not been yet fully discovered by companies, it is making a tremendous impact on those who use it. Scent marketing revolves around the fact that a human brain is most receptive and most likely to form, retain, revisit and reinterpret memory when all five senses are engaged. By influencing more than one sense, brands can establish a stronger and longer lasting emotional connection with the customer and finally be memorable.

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Until the next one!

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