Categories of Scent Marketing


Case study on smell (go more deep on smell by using a company that use smell as a marketing tactic, what did they do, how successful it. 


Scent plays a vital role in the animal world as well as humankind and it is a natural instinct to get attracted to a particular kind of aroma and being repelled by another. The scent of oven fresh cookies, the morning newspaper, and salty air evoke a feeling of goodness and coziness within the mind. Scent became the a powerful marketing tool in business nowadays. the global marketing industry have worked much on t5he other sensory avenues like sound and also touch but working with the olfactory sensation is the new trend in marketing. Although scent marketing is the current hype yet it is the most complex mode of marketing as of now (Smiley, 2014).

The mode of action

As soon as a person smells an aroma, the aroma is sent to the olfactory bulbs, a part of the limbic system and interpreted there. Yet again, this particular section of the brain being also responsible for decoding memory and emotions, initiates the linking it to the memories, pleasant and horrible, hidden in the subconscious level and immediately brings to surface a powerful sense of nostalgia. Hence, smell acts as a potent factor in invoking nostalgia. The other sensory factors like sight, sound, touch or taste usually move to the cognitive receptors of the brain and then initiate reasoning and hence fail to trigger instantaneous memory while the olfactory sensation functions on the subconscious level. For this reason, in marketing aroma can make the buyers act impulsively and an increasing number of companies are tending to utilize scent as the mode of marketing their products. The statistics says that investments on scent marketing ranged between $50m to $80m in 2013 while it is expected that the figure would increase above $500m in the next decade.

Categories of scent marketing

Scent marketing has myriads of the application according to the type of business but the four basic structures are maintained till date. Firstly, the Aroma Billboard Smell that creates a smell statement and makes its presence felt everywhere. Secondly, the trademark aroma that is associated with the fresh brewed coffee at Starbucks which purposely attract the customers and is a pivotal part of customer experience. Then comes the thematic smells that are incorporated within the décor of the spas and or serviced apartments or hotels to create an ambiance that soothes the mind. And finally the use of signature smells by big brands, for instance, cardamom and ivory aromas used by elite shoe brand Jimmy Choo, to represent prosperity and lavishness.

Advantage of scent marketing

Scents cater to the subconscious mind of the customer and hence a pleasant aroma in the store (e.g- lavender/ vanilla), may linger the customers which would naturally initiate impulse shopping. Signature aromas create a brand image in the memory that helps the customer to recall the brand name whenever exposed to that particular aroma. It is a natural tendency to consider an aromatic product as a quality product. Hence, it is found that customers pay hefty amounts for a scented space or product compared to the unscented one, as says the Smell and Taste Research Foundation. On the other hand an obnoxious odor may give customers a run and the business run out of their money.
Smells have extremely subjective nature which must be applied according to culture, gender, and always in congruency with the business. it is preferred that natural and subtle smells are used in most of the business and even if artificial smells are used, care should be taken that it should not be so overpowering that it gives headache to the customers or distract their focus from the product(Cartwright, 2014).

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Smiley M (2014), Dollars & Scents: From Clothes to Cars to Banks, Brands Seek Distinction Through Fragrance. Retrieved February 27, 2018 from
Cartwright S. (2014), How and why businesses make use of Scent Marketing to boost sales, Retrieved February 27, 2018 from

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