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What does your brand smell like?
by Jennifer Jefferies
Close your eyes for a moment and think of the smell of freshly baked bread – what does that wonderful warm smell remind you of? Perhaps it takes you back in time to your childhood, to Sunday mornings when you used to walk down to the corner bakery to buy a fresh loaf dusted with flour.
In the same way that an everyday aroma can instantly take us to another place and time in our minds and remind us of people and places, so too is it possible to associate your brand with an aroma in the minds of your customers and clients.
Aromas have the ability to build powerful brand recognition, quickly. In his book, Brand Sense, Martin Lindstroem says, ‘Seventy-five percent of the emotions we generate on a daily basis are affected by smell…Next to sight, it's the most important sense we have’.
Dr Eric Spangenberg, Dean of the College of Business and Economics at Washington State University, ran a test in a clothing store in the Pacific Northwest of the US to determine how scent affected customers by gender. He diffused the subtle smell of vanilla in the women's department and rose maroc (a spicy, honey-like fragrance) in the men's. When he examined the cash-register tapes, he found that receipts almost doubled on the days when the scents were used. However, when he reversed the scents (diffusing vanilla with the men and rose maroc with the women) customers spent less than average. ‘You can't just use a pleasant scent and expect it to work,’ he says, ‘it has to be congruent’. That is, the fragrance has to make sense with the product or environment it's supposed to enhance: ‘When you go into Starbucks, you don't expect to smell lemon-scented Pledge’.
Whether your company operates retail stores, hotels or corporate offices aromatic branding can give you the edge. Here’s how aromatic branding works:
Our sense of smell is our most acute sense. We take in more information, more quickly and retain it for longer through smell than we do through any other sense.
Our sense of smell interacts with the limbic system in the brain, where memories are linked to aromas. We’ve all had the experience of smelling an aroma that instantly transports us to another time and place because we associate it so strongly with a certain person, time or experience.
The deliberate use of aroma is the final frontier in creating a truly unique and memorable brand experience.
Aromatic branding is about creating a unique aroma that people associate with their experience of your brand – effectively, it anchors a certain aroma to the brand experience so that every time a person smells that aroma, they will be instantly reminded of their experience.
Most companies already use sight, sound and touch to create an integrated brand experience, but few use smell. This is an opportunity for your company to be at the forefront of aromatic branding.
So to add that extra dimension to your marketing, aromatic branding is the way to go. Help your clients to smell the roses and remember your brand.
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About the Author
Jennifer Jefferies is a work/life balance expert with a prescription for modern living.mHer powerful message is of work, life and balance - and how to have it all without losing your health, sense of humour or sanity along the way. Find out more about Jennifer's 7 Steps to Sanity at www.jenniferjefferies.com
Contact Jennifer: Jennifer@jenniferjefferies.com