Did you know that every single Hilton Hotel lobby smells the same all over the world? Whether you’re visiting a hotel in Prague or Manhattan, you’ll be greeted with Hilton’s signature scent of delicate and calming jasmine. What’s more, if you had a good experience at a Hilton Hotel when you last visited, upon smelling their signature scent, your brain will automatically shift you into a better mood based on your previous positive memories!
That’s how powerful scent branding is and here's how you can use it to benefit your business.
The Science Behind Scent Branding
It’s common knowledge that for many years large brands have used scent branding to connect consumers with their brand by creating powerful positive emotions through scent.
Evoking a pleasant aroma every time someone enters your store, restaurant or hotel creates positive associations in the mind of consumers whenever they think of your brand. It can also create physical reactions in people — think that smell of doughnuts or fried chicken making you salivate is real? Think again!
The science behind why scent branding is so effective is largely due to the way scent is processed through the limbic system of our brain, which governs our emotional state and memory. Research has shown that roughly ‘75% of the emotions we experience on a daily basis are generated by smell and not by what we hear and see’.
While it isn’t quite on par with the sense of smell of apex predators, the human sense of smell is still extremely sophisticated and has a ‘memory’ — on average we are able to recognise 10,000 odours and recall smells with 65% accuracy after a whole year! Our ability to remember smells for this long means that we are able to form an emotional attachment to them and build enduring scent-based associations.
How Can Scent Branding Improve Your Relationship With Customers?
Businesses all over the world are using scent branding to drive sales, enhance customer experiences and build brand loyalty.
Nike tested scent branding in their retail stores and found that a unique aroma increased customer purchase intent by 80%. Another example is Singapore Airlines, who pioneered this practice over 30 years ago when they developed a custom scent to spray into their hot towels. In addition to improving the scent of stale air in their cabins, Singapore Airlines and other airlines developed a scent to help reduce anxiety and improve a customer's overall experience.
Scent branding can also be used by your business to create a positive customer experience ‘loop’.
First, choose a pleasant scent that personifies your brand and puts people in a great mood. For example, if you are a gym, use pine, cedar or peppermint-based scents to create a ‘fresh and clean’ ambience that motivates people to work out and also masks unpalatable gym-floor odours. If you are a female fashion label on the other hand, use softer musk-based and floral fragrances that linger and create a welcoming ‘dreamy’ ambience.
Next, create an outstanding in-store experience with your exceptional customer service. Leaving the customer with a smile on their face sets the expectation that future visits will be equally pleasant. The next time your customer enters your scented location, their brain automatically recalls their previous positive experience which in turns puts them in a great mood which in turn makes them easier to deal with and more willing to spend time at your business premises.
When applied correctly and in conjunction with the correct visual and sensory stimuli, this scent branding loop can have a huge influence on consumer behaviour, in-store purchases and future brand loyalty.
If you don’t think customers remember your scent and associate it with your business, think again! A full 30% of the tens of thousands of enquiries we field every year, are requests from people who have asked the staff of a store, gym or hotel about the scent they were using at their business premises.
A Final Word on Scent Branding
Scent branding is more than just pumping a pleasant fragrance through your aircon vents, it’s a marketing device that savvy businesses (and your competitors!) are using to create powerful brand identities and marketing messages that resonate with consumers and that ultimately increase in-store consumer dwell times and basket size.
What’s more, implementing a scent branding strategy has never been easier, with the scent industry growing rapidly (15% year on year) and innovative ideas and smart technology now delivering powerful scenting solutions including, portable diffusers, HVAC (aircon vent) systems and micro diffusers (just to name a few!). With the increased uptake, scent marketing solutions have never been so cost-effective either.
There's no denying that our emotional connections drive our behaviour and that scent is one of the most powerful triggers of emotional response, so if you want to create positive emotions towards your brand and build brand loyalty, then perhaps you should consider scent branding for your business.
You can read more about scenting for your specific industry here, or if you would like to discuss scent branding solutions for your business, please contact us to chat about your specific scenting needs.