Scent marketing research is complicated and requires rigorous scientific inquiry. Three British scientists (Rimkute, Morales and Ferreira) have recently tackled the arduous task, covering every aspect of the connection between our sense of smell and scent marketing. All businesses should be aware of these findings and the answers they pose about how smell influences choices, thoughts, emotions and memory.
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1) Improve Brand Recognition
Scent marketing can be a vital force behind reinforcing and improving brand recognition because it has the power to unify a brand or product with a buyer’s emotions. A brand is a whole package experience for all consumers and once a shopping adventure occurs, consumers draw their own conclusions about a company brand. Scent marketers realize that aroma branding is the hook, and for many industries it is the only thing that may differentiate your particular business from your competition.
Scent marketing allows for the creation of a new and deeper dimension in your existing brand because it reaches the emotional triggers of targeted consumers. Sensory cues repeated consistently increase sales, traffic, time spent shopping improve brand recognition and loyalty.
2) Improve Guest Experiences
Scent marketers know that the very first impression a guest in a hotel perceives is that of scent, and it is intensified at that exact moment of entry through the hotel doors. For this reason, a scent must be an integral strategy, as it will fail if it is used as an afterthought. According to Loren Nalewanski, VP of brand management for Spring Hill Suites and Towne Place Suites by Marriott: ”The goal of a branded scent should be to lodge it within a guest’s memory. Visual memories fade by 60% after a year, while the memory of a scent only fades by 40%.
In the words of Nadim Barrage, director of operations for the Conrad Miami, “the sense of smell as another piece of the guest experience has become incredibly important. It’s about creating an entire experience from the arrival process through to departure. All senses come into play when creating and improving a hotel guest’s experience.” The Conrad Miami’s lobby is on the 25th floor, so the olfactory experience initiates on the ground floor, starting with music and flowers. Barage states: “It’s about bringing guests into different moods as soon as they step into the hotel…which uses a white tea and thyme scent that is diffused through air conditioning vents in the lobby for a relaxing atmosphere, and a mango-peach option by the elevators and bar entrance. It creates a unique Miami vibe.”
3) Make Your Brand Unforgettable
Scent marketing makes your brand unforgettable by using fragrance to imprint a pleasant memory that is associated with your product or services. In the case of hotels, Roberto Payer, General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, states: “Hoteliers must be careful when selecting a scent—not too strong, not too light. The hotel must also select a scent that reflects the property and its values, rather than being everything for everybody. We want the smell to provide an ambience, something that’s ours.”
4) Extend The Time Customers Linger
According to a study conduced a few years ago, stores that utilized scent marketing witnessed increases of people staying up to 20% longer on average and 300% sales increases in particular products. Those consumers who identified with the store’s signature scent without even being aware of having done so, spent more time lingering and browsing in the stores surveyed. Scents are persuasive and have the ability to make shoppers feel warm, familiar and comfortable, like a cozy fire on a cold winter’s day.
Mike Gatti, the Executive Director of marketing at the National Retail Federation, claims there are five companies in the US that control around 80% of the world market in scent branding and an estimated 10-20% of retailers in the US are their customers. He says: “Its fairly widespread. A lot of retail companies use scent marketing and the purpose is really to keep customers lingering in their stores.”
5) Attract New Customers
A pleasing scent can serve as a lure to potential customers who have never stepped foot in a store or business before, but what could motivate a consumer to make that decision? The answer to this important business question lies in a combination of factors, but scent marketers know that the allure is purely sensory. It could be visual, like a striking or colorful window display, or auditory with appealing music, but more than likely it will be a complete sensory experience, which includes the most potent element in the mix; namely, the welcoming signature scent.
The scent’s immediate connection to the brain creates a first impression that is either positive or negative. Establishing a positive memory unconsciously creates a desire to repeat it. Scent marketers play on this psychological fact and place great importance on the chosen scent and its power to suggest the recall of positive memories.
6) Create Heightened Value Perception
Although this is a very important aspect of scent marketing and its affect on a company’s bottom line, according to B2B International, only 54% of businesses have initiated a branding strategy that can evaluate brand perceptions. This concept refers to how consumers are exposed to, attend to, and comprehend stimuli in the environment.
There is no doubt that the proper ambient scent contributes to the building of a favorable perception of the store or business and helps buyers develop a certain ”feel” for their surroundings. Farah Abassi, owner of the Aroma360 Scent Marketing Company, believes that aroma has the power to alter personal perception, even before the consumer is aware of a particular scent.
7) Encourage Repeat Business
Fifty-seven percent of small business owners claim that having a relationship with their consumers is what drives repeat business. According to Bain & Company, returning customers typically spend more than 67% than first time customers. The right scent in the right place propels the consumer into a pleasant vortex of swirling memories and associations that repeat themselves automatically whenever that fragrance hits their unsuspecting nostrils.
Savvy scent marketers understand that the average person is 100 times more likely to remember a smell than something seen, heard or touched. Tapping into this concept, a signature scent requires strategy to provide the ultimate customer experience, which is completely sensory in nature. Repeat business is not so much dependant on satisfaction with products or services as much as it concerns the positive look, feel and aroma surrounding the atmosphere of the store.
8) Increase Sales
Increasing sales is the ultimate goal behind any successful scent branding campaign. Major retailers like Nike found that scent marketing in retail stores “increased intent to purchase” by 80%. One scent marketing experiment revealed that the aroma of freshly brewed coffee sold at a gas station increased coffee sales by 300%!
According to a 2003 study conducted by Lindstrom and Kotler, 84% of customers were more likely to purchase a pair of shoes (or at least like them better) when they were on display in a scented room. That very same study revealed that many of the participants admitted they would be willing to pay 10-15% more for a scented product. Another study indicated that the introduction of a sweet citrus aroma in a retail setting nearly doubled the average total purchases from $55 to $90 per customer!
9) Inspire Loyalties
According to research conducted at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, up to 15% of a business’s most loyal customers account for 55-70% of its total sales. This is the value of brand loyalty in dollars and cents. Further, some 80% of any company’s future revenue will come from 20% of its current customer base. Scent marketing accounts for at least part of these statistics because a significant scent branding strategy inspires brand loyalty by attaching a positive emotion to a brand. This in turn leads to both recognition and trust.
10) Affect Performance in The Workplace
Scent marketers are well aware that the proper scent introduced in a workplace can have a powerful impact on employees. Whether you are an entrepreneur managing a startup, or a corporate executive with thousands of employees, you know that happy employees translates into productivity and according to the Harvard Business Review, 31% more so, as well as 37% higher sales and 31% higher creativity.
Scent in the workplace influences mood, alertness and productivity. Some of the best scents for affecting workshop performance are: strong, woodsy rosemary, which is know to lower stress levels; lemon which energizes and relieves tension, anxiety and anger in the workplace; lavender with its calming properties; cinnamon, which is mood-altering and an aid to productivity. It also is known to improve focus and attention to detail. Jasmine is subtly sweet and revitalizing, as is peppermint, which stimulates alertness and mental clarity.
11) Counteract Malodors
Probably the most formidable task and most appreciated benefit of scent marketing is its ability to eliminate bad odors. Air-Scent has the best solution to this problem with its Metazene® formula. By neutralizing odors at a molecular level, Metazene® does so much more than just cover up the bad smell; it completely destroys it. In addition, this proven, efficient system is very effective and couldn’t be simpler to use.