How To Choose The Right Scent For Your Store Or Business Interior

Over the course of the last several decades, sensory-based marketing has increasingly become an effective marketing tool for businesses and advertisers. In fact, most every brand has aimed to reach consumers and influence their decisions through their senses, as evidenced by the scratchy sound of a Sharpie pen, the distinctive tang of a particular mouthwash and many other sensorial impressions.

For years many industries have focussed on all of the five senses when it came to how they designed or marketed their products, a fact particularly evident with automakers. Whether it be the supple leathery feel of a dashboard, the quick, sturdy thump of how a door shuts or that forever-cherished new car smell, most every detail has intention.

While taste, sound, touch and feel remain important to certain brand impressions, the sense of smell has recently taken a lead in the sensory efforts of marketing companies and brands, mainly because there are more and more statistically-proven facts that support ambient scent branding as a catalyst for increased bottom line — we summarized many of these researched benefits in our recent post on scent marketing.

With new research indicating that we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell over something we hear or touch, the science of olfaction has quickly become a necessary layer to add to any brand or business environment. As a result, scent marketers and businesses from many diverse industries have quietly but fragrantly been adapting this simple fact by enlisting the services of companies like ours to introduce ambient scents into their commercial establishments with advanced air diffusion systems.

The challenge, however, and the new marketing question every business owner or retailer asks themselves when embarking on using fragrance to further expand their brand is — what is the best scent for your company?

With that, we’ve created the following in-depth guide to help shed light on that very mystery.

Embodied Cognition and Scent Marketing

The latest research on scent marketing is focused on the idea that our bodily sensations help determine the decisions we make without our conscious awareness. For example, an experiment conducted by Lawrence E. Williams, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and John A. Bargh, of Yale indicated that people who had briefly held a warm beverage were more likely than people who had held a cold one to think that a stranger was friendly. Another study led by Xun (Irene) Huang, of Sun Yat-Sen University revealed that warm ambient temperatures prompted people to conform to a crowd.

There is no doubt that sensory input can drive consumer behavior. Aradhna Krishna directs the Sensory Marketing Laboratory at the University of Michigan and is considered the foremost expert in the field. Her fascination with embodied cognition concerns the realization that the senses amplify one another when they are aligned in some alluring way.

Influences are extremely powerful because they are simultaneously very subtle. This knowledge can and should make an effective scent marketer ask such questions as: Why does wine taste better in a wine glass than in a water glass? Why does the smell of cinnamon make a heating pad seem to work better? A wine glass suggests something special; cinnamon a sense of warmth.

Statistics And Another Study About The Power of Scent and Business

According to Jennifer Dublino, VP Development at Scent World, the global scent marketing industry is growing at an estimated annual rate of 15% with revenue of about $300 million.” There seems little doubt that scent marketing has slowly and fragrantly replaced visual advertising as a sales marketing strategy over the last decade or so.

This is evidenced by a recent Dunkin’ Donuts campaign in South Korea that introduced a company jingle that was played on municipal buses and at the same time, released, via an atomizer, a coffee aroma. Visits to Dunkin’ Donuts outlets near bus stops increased by 16% and sales at those outlets by 29%.

How Can a Company Find The Proper Scent?

Scent masters understand the power of ambient scent branding and state of the art air-care and application. They are experts at selecting a scent that will meet the specific needs of any company, and in our case, we have amassed an endless collection of scents through our own house fragrance division.

Whether a business concerns retail sales, hotel management, office atmosphere, a restaurant or an auto showroom, the controlled use of scent allows companies to influence consumer perception and extend the time they linger, shop and ultimately buy, increasing that vital bottom line.

Each company needs to find its own unique answer in terms of what they want their scent to convey for their brand and their customers. But the key to uncovering the right scent is to decide how each business wants their customers to feel the moment they walk in the door. This establishes a desired mood and from there, selection is literally one scent after the other wafted in front of the noses of the powers-that-be until the right one piques their attention.

Different Scents For Different Company Types

Consumers have become numb to visual advertising but the vast frontier of smell is another story entirely. Some scents promote relaxation; others invigoration. Knowing which scent to choose requires time, patience and careful exploration.

The following are just a few examples of certain types of scents that work in various industries.

The Use Of Scent In Hotels

Hoteliers are conspicuous users of brand-defining scents to enhance their lobbies, hallways, rooms and bathrooms, often diffused via professional air freshening systems. A common goal is often the creation of a fragrance that coincides with a hotel’s location. The Las Vegas Mandalay Hotel, for example, utilizes a coconut spicy scent to emphasize its tropical and sensual setting, and the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C celebrates the city’s famous cherry blossoms in its signature fragrance. Hotels in South Florida are often into citrus aromas, and a Colorado ski resort is more likely to prefer woodsy fragrances that are soothing and relaxing.

Aromas To Enhance Gyms and Fitness Centers

Competition among gyms and fitness centers is very keen and one way a facility can gain an edge over others offering similar services is to incorporate a unique and memorable scent. We’re recently written about scenting gyms and fitness centers, but to summarize, the right fragrance in the right place can help create a more welcoming environment to new visitors, which can translate into more membership sign ups and more sales. Properly diffused scents can work wonders in locker rooms, lobbies, steam rooms and workout sections.

Popular welcoming scents for a fitness reception area are essential oils of cardamom, peppermint and rosemary, while scents that invigorate and get those juices flowing for weight lifting could include citrus notes of orange, lemon, lime and peppermint. Intense cardio and spinning workouts require shots of energy that fruity citrus notes of pineapple, mango, tangerine, grapefruit, melon and pear can provide. Lemon notes are also potent because they evoke a sense of cleanliness.

Fragrances For Banks and Financial institutions

Banks and financial institutions sometimes select scents that mirror the colors in their customized logos. For example, if the color orange appears, an orange scent may follow. Generally speaking however, banks prefer aromas that are pleasant and peaceful to counteract the topic of money, which is often a source of contention and stress. Banks with elitist clientele frequently select scents that evoke luxury such as leather and tobacco, or rosemary and peppermint, which promote alertness and improve cognition and problem solving skills.

Beauty Salons and Spas

Beauty salons are prone to pick scents that relax and calm their customers. The idea is to transport them to another pampered corner of indulgence and help them escape from every day problems and stress. Some popular choices include but are not limited to: Green Tea, Spicata Mint and Lavender. To aid in body stress management, they also sometimes use powerful relaxants such as geranium and jasmine, which are known to decrease cortisol levels.

Certain newly advanced reed diffusers using scents like sandalwood and rosemary are very effective in a spa/salon setting such as a reception desk, bathroom or waiting room because they release the scent more slowly and subtly than other methods. During massages, vanilla is an ideal scent for inducing calm while citrus is energizing.

Scenting Retail Environments

Retail stores began experimenting with the idea of utilizing the first scent diffusers back in the 1970s. According to Zev Auerbach, executive creative director for the Miami-based Zimmerman Advertising, the idea behind creating an effective ambient scent is to insure that the selected fragrance evokes imagery that is emotionally connected in some way to the merchandise, whatever it may be. In his own words: “If you see a bathing suit in a store, and you smell the scent of ocean, you’re more likely to want to buy the suit and go on vacation. It’s the combination of the see and the smell… This is pure science.

Restaurants and Nightclubs

In decades past, scent was used to conceal (but not eliminate) smoke and other unpleasant smells such as body odors and stale beer. To compound the issue, ever since the smoking ban was inaugurated in restaurants, bars, and clubs, undesirable smells that were previously masked by cigarette smoke became even more noticeable.

Although many may not realize it, eliminating bad odors from smoke, bathroom or trash is as much of an art form as creating scents, and after seven decades of refined science, our exclusive product, Metazene, a vapor-phase, odor-neutralizing additive has become the most effective vanguard against any airborne odor. Even more, it can be combined with any chosen fragrance and scent application, so businesses are effectively benefitting from both odor elimination and a fragrantly enhanced environment.

According to a recent survey, the use of scent in bars and restaurants increases sales by 40%. Even without ambient scenting, the aroma of good food has the power to stimulate appetites and make hungry mouths water, but pipe in a controlled and evenly distributed scent, and you can create the perfectly balanced scented environment to stimulate sales.

Selecting a scent for restaurants or nightclubs can be a slippery slope and requires expertise because nightclub and restaurant owners must determine first whether their specific clientele would prefer to relax or kick up a storm or even more difficult, a combination of both.

For the past seven decades we have not only helped ambient scenting to evolve into both an art form and a behavioral science applied to real word settings, we’ve spearheaded many of its advances. Scent marketing allows the fragrances and/or the products they are incorporated into to speak in their own subtle language, drawing consumers closer to them. The increasing numbers clearly indicate that many businesses are getting on that fragrant bandwagon, with more being added every day.

No matter what your business may be, our experts and the air freshener and odor control applications that we provide can help improve company traffic, brand loyalty and bottom line. We specialize in commercial scent branding for all types of industries, and all enterprises can benefit from a customized air diffusion systems.

So don’t hesitate to give our scenting experts a call, and start defining your brand with a perfectly built fragrance.

Closing thoughts on the power of scent: A good fragrance must have a certain personality that makes people identify the scent with you. ~ Shakira


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