Fragrance takes scent-er stage – types of scent marketing

Scent - fragrance

If you didn’t know already, there are different types of Scent Marketing. Let’s see what they are, how fragrance can reach new audiences and how each type of Scent Marketing is used.

As my father alluded to in his July blog for American Cleaning & Hygiene, Scent Marketing allows us to take company brands & the messages they portray and link them with a fragrance that intensifies those messages. Inside our bodies, our olfactory nerve is responsible for our sense of smell and smell is deeply connected to our emotional state. Ultimately, it has a far greater influence on our behaviors than most of us do and will ever realize.

The technique of combining scents with other sensory prompts – such as the use of sound and lighting – can be highly effective in creating an enduring emotional connection with customers. I know first-hand – scent can work and influence purchasing decisions. I majored in Scent Marketing in my final year at University many moons ago. There was a plethora of information available at the time and in my own focus groups from my research, scent clearly could influence the dynamics of a decision, not just a decision about purchasing a particular item.

While the notion of ‘Scent Marketing’ is becoming more and more popular as a way for brands to reach new target audiences, there’s actually at least 3 different types of Scent Marketing; Ambient smells, Signature smells and Thematic smells.

All of these can be used as a way of helping improve the deep and long lasting connection between the business and the buyer. After all, scent helps to create memories and moments.

So, what do these different types of Scent Marketing actually mean?

Smell - Olfactory - Smelleth the difference- fragrance

“It all depends on what’s being sold”

The different types of Scent Marketing all relate to the types of product or service that is being advertised, promoted or sold. Think of when you take a trip into a hotel, particularly one from the luxury hotel brands. Your nose is immediately drawn to a familiar smell that you’ve noticeably experienced before haven’t you? I explain about that type of scent marketing shortly…

“Thematic smells”

This is relevant to the type of business, such as a cooling mint or herbal scent experienced in a spa. You wouldn’t want to go to a spa and smell food aromas would you? The smell is meant to complement the décor. So in a plush men’s retail store selling designer clothing, a cool, sharp smelling fragrance would be appropriate. However in a spa, you’d want a relaxing or reinvigorating fragrance like a touch of jasmine or lavender. Get the thematic smell wrong and you could alter visitor perceptions of a location, for worse, not better.

“Setting the right ambience”

These smells are more subtle. Ambient scent marketing is used to cover and eliminate unpleasant smells or indeed, fill a void but continuing a locations theme.

Places such as toilets, and large open spaces often employ ambient smells for their scent marketing needs but are increasingly looking at more ‘retail’ or ‘end user’ friendly fragrances notes rather than just a sweet smelling citrus. It’s now common to go into high end restaurants and visitors will find either ‘high end’ reed diffusers or sophisticated fragrance scent diffusers to continue the ambience from the main area. It would be odd to step from a high end restaurant scene into a restroom smelling of bad odors or a ‘cheap’ smell that was completely in contrast to the restaurant’s overall ambience.

“I recognize that smell”

As I indicated earlier, some smells are so familiar to you that you know that you could step inside a store with your eyes closed and you would know what store you were in just by the smell. Welcome to Signature smells. Signature or bespoke smells can be found in higher end department stores. Big, bold and luxurious smells such as bergamot and nutmeg are the most sought after signature smells. These smells are linked to the brand and to events, for a truly unique experience.

There’s a particular retail store, readers are bound to know the brand without me even naming them. They used to spray their signature aftershave all over the store and on their clothes. When the brand worked out that this was becoming far too expensive, they installed scent machines on the ceilings and pumped out their signature fragrance from there at presumably a far more friendlier cost to the Company, both in labor and fragrance oil. Now, head nearby the store, let alone stepping inside and passers by will immediately know which store the smell is coming from.

Using smell as a marketing tool

Reading what a signature smell is essentially explains what scent is all about. It evokes memories, it creates moments not otherwise there, opportunities for retailers, hoteliers and other business channels alike that simply are not there with other senses. Smell influences attitudes and behaviors – get it right and scent marketing can be a very lucrative tool. Get it wrong – either not understanding the use of smell or the different types of scent marketing available, and it could damage reputations and even revenues not just for a period of time, but permanently.

As featured in the August edition of American Cleaning & Hygiene Magazine | By Matt Wonnacott, Marketing Manager | North America | Vectair Systems

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