Why Experience Marketing Should Include The Power Of Scent

Air-Scent International’s Ray Czapko recently delivered the following presentation at the Experience Marketing ExpositionRay is an expert in scent diffusion technology. For well over thirty-three years, he has served as Air-Scent’s Director of Marketing and Chief Operating Officer. He is currently its VP of Business Development.


I have been with Air-Scent International full-time since 1985 and have 12 patents on scent delivery devices—the apparatus that puts scent into the air. What I know about the apparent effect of scent on human behavior I learned the same way you have: through the media, research studies, white papers and so on. I have included references for everything I present this morning. So, please consider what you see, smell and hear as well-attested-to-reminders of why scent should be considered as a vital aspect of experience marketing.

The wave of scent marketing is here. According to the US Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey, 248 million Americans used air freshener spray and room deodorizers from 2011 and 2017, and this figure is expected to increase to 256.58 million by 2020. Scent is making the biggest impact on marketing and advertising since photography. By now, experience-marketing companies must ride the wave or risk chasing it.

It’s all due to new discoveries and our growing understanding of the subtle (and maybe not-so-subtle) influence that scent has upon the human mind and body.

Yes, the nose affects the brain and the brain affects the heart—the figurative heart, the inner person, the seat of motivation, and the part of us that moves us to do stuff. What makes smells so special?  Sights, sounds, tastes and textures are processed by the left-brain first—organized, analyzed, filtered and (some say) tainted before being introduced to the seat of our emotions in the right brain. Scent, on the other hand, takes an express route to the right side of our brain.

Whenever the olfactory bulb in the brain detects a smell, a chemical message is immediately sent (without prejudice) to our limbic system. Our limbic system contains the keys to our lust our emotions, our imagination.

When We Smell We Recall And We Feel

Since scent bypasses the pragmatic left brain, no matter what else we are doing, scent breaks through to triggermemory, nostalgia and mental imagery.

Samples. 1) Popcorn; 2) Campfire; 3) Crayon®; 4) Moist Soil; 5) Grass; 6) Funeral Home. Please open and allow the top notes to burn off.

How many have opened already and started sniffing? Happens all the time; in itself shows the provocative nature of scent. I selected these, not for qualities as fine perfumes, but for their potential to transport you through memory recall. In fact 3 of these scent have been used prominently in research studies: popcorn, campfire and grass.

While opening, consider these fun fragrance factoids.

A mother can recognize the smell of her brand-new baby after only an hour.

The Ongee people from Islands off the coast of India have integrated smell into every aspect of their lives. The Ongee construct their calendar on the basis of floral aromas that come into bloom in certain seasons. A typical Ongee greeting exchange would go something like this: “How is your nose?” “I am quite odiferous” or “I am not too smell-strong today.”

Wearing a floral spice fragrance can reduce a woman’s perceived weight by as much as 7 percent.

A well-attested study showed that the smell of cinnamon buns increased blood flow to the nether regions of male subjects. You’re welcome 😉

Please take a moment to sniff the scent samples. Rather than smell them with just your nose, allow your brain and figurative heart to be involved. Allow them to move you by associating them with some life experience. Which scent(s) were you able to connect to a memory or emotion? You may select more than one.

Briefly think about your scent experience—the memory, mood or emotion evoked.

I am sure many have experienced an occasion when a scent or smell took you somewhere. In one or two words, what was the scent?

In one or two words, where did it take you?

I think we can all agree that, anecdotally and scientifically, the nose affects the brain and the brain affects the figurative heart.

So what?

Here’s what. The understanding of the influence of scent on human motivation means that there is an innate, inborn “demand” for the power of scent walking around in every human being. Experience marketers are already tapping it, and you should too.

The Power Of Scent Marketing To Drive Revenue

By implementing scent marketing, there is revenue to be made by your prospects and clients.

For example, Dr. Alan Hirsch conducted a study testing aromas in a Las Vegas Hotel. Over a period of several weekends he infused an area in a casino containing slot machines with an undisclosed pleasant scent. Revenues were compared with several weekend periods when no scent was used. The astounding results were that total revenues for slot machines increased by 45 percent, 53 percent when a higher concentration of scent was used!

An enterprising Canadian entrepreneur pumped discreet traces of citrus fragrance into a local mall’s general areas for a weeklong period. Shoppers barely noticed the scent, however merchants were pleasantly surprised that purchases increased by $55 per customer in the time period.

Large retailers have always known the value of exploiting core consumer “touch-points” to create brand identity for their respective chains. Print media, television, internet, social media…

Over time these same retailers, armed with the understanding we have been discussing, realized that they had been ignoring the consumer touch-point most directly wired to memory, mood and emotion—the sense of smell. So, what was always called white tea fragrance is now refereed to in many circles as Westin white tea.

The Use Of Scent Marketing Throughout The Hotel Industry

It is worth noting that Westin reinforces its brand at every turn by marketing other products using its signature scent. So, the Westin scent imprint can follow you home in the form of a scented candle.  Talk about reinforcing a brand!

Your prospects are everywhere, likely you may be working many of them already. Every one of these can be persuaded of the benefits of adding scent to their environments, marketing—to an ambience or experience they want to create. And it is not just a good aesthetic decision; it’s good business.

Think about this… Your potential clients, and you as experience marketing experts, go to great lengths to control nuances of every important space — light, sound temperature and color. How much more so is the importance of controlling the consumer touch-point most intimately connected to memory, emotion and motivation—the sense of smell.

Air-Scent And Our Air Freshening And Marketing Products

Scents and scent delivery systems are available through Air-Scent International. There are a few general categories of these; dry vapor, cold mist nebulizers, and dry air diffusion, which are the two most commonly used.

Dry vapor diffusers are typically best suited for areas up to about 20,000 cubic feet. We provide this type of diffuser to many, if not most, lobby applications. The cold mist diffusers take over from there. They can be used as freestanding diffusers or connected to the HVAC system to cover very large areas. In either case, the installation of these can be exceedingly simple.

The dry vapor Aroma Beam system uses a disposable refill cartridge. You just insert the cartridge, plug it in and set the controls, which is controlled by way of a smart phone application.

Even when connection to and HVAC system is necessary, installation is relatively simple. This brief video showing installation steps of our AromaStyler system makes the point.

The latest iteration of scent delivery devices will work with Bluetooth and even WIFI. Our systems use a smart phone application called Scent Bridge™ whish is available for either iOS or Android platforms. Typically these applications allow for complete control of the scent diffusers including daily time settings and the concentration of fragrance.

The key to the effectiveness of both these systems is the marriage of the scent chemistry to the delivery system. Every fragrance oil will not work effectively in each systems. So, choose a supplier that understands how to create scent compounds that maintain their character throughout the entire service cycle.

Profit margins are outstanding, easily ranging from 50 percent or more by even the most conservative estimates. Start-up costs are comparatively low. With capital costs generating revenue right away, ROI is fast. Typical service cycles are monthly or E4W (which yields 13 services per year).  Even more, scent marketing services can easily be expanded into other services including restroom odor control, garbage room odor control and various other air freshening services.

To sell something new we need a story to tell, a demand for our wares and a simple enough implementation to overcome inertia. For scent, the demand is self–contained in every intelligent carbon based life form. What we provide in scent delivery systems makes getting started less daunting than ever before, and the story is provocative. The nose is connected to the brain and the brain is connected to the figurative heart, the seat of human motivation. This addition to your experience-marketing program is well within your reach.

Thank you very much!


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