Use Scent Branding to Create a Unique Customer Experience

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

You can successfully boost your overall brand image and help to make your small business stand out by using a marketing technique known as scent branding — getting customers to associate a particular scent or fragrance with your business. Scent branding has become increasingly popular as studies have revealed that using the proper fragrance has the effect of making customers feel more comfortable or even think that they’re experiencing shorter wait times than they actually are.

Many hotels have jumped on the scent branding bandwagon, commissioning designer fragrances to give guests an extra sense of comfort and enjoyment. Retail establishments, too, have caught on, and purposely designed their stores to with scent branding in mind.

Understanding the Importance of the Sense of Smell

Scent branding works well for the simple reason that a person’s sense of smell is one of their most powerful and decisive senses. People are often immediately either attracted or repelled by a distinctive scent. A person’s sense of smell is the only sense that is completely developed from the moment of birth, and also the only sense that is directly tied to areas of the brain that process emotions and — especially importantly for businesses — memories. Scent memories even persist longer than visual memories. It’s an immediate and significant plus for your business if just walking into your store immediately triggers memories of previous pleasant shopping experiences.

Ways Your Small Business can Implement Scent Branding

There are a number of ways for your small business to incorporate scent branding as part of the overall effort to build and strengthen your brand. Here are just a few ideas that have been successfully used by a variety of companies.

First, you want to identify a scent that you want consumers to identify with your business. A fragrance expert can help you with the task, but it’s easy enough to research on your own to learn basics such as the fact that vanilla is generally a soothing scent, while peppermint or freesia tend to make people feel more upbeat and social.

Businesses can use a variety of ways to deliver their chosen fragrance to customers in an impactful way. If some of your products, such as leather handbags, carry the fragrance you want customers to associate with your brand, then consider placing these items at the front of your store so that customers catch the scent as soon as they walk in. Some businesses use scented candles located at strategic positions throughout their store. Others employ warm or cold air diffusion systems and nebulizers, dispersing the scent directly through their HVAC system. One business even employed the idea of infusing fragrances into notepads so that the fragrance is released when clients press down to write on the pad.

Even if your small business isn’t a brick-and-mortar operation such as a retail store, it’s still possible for you to engage in scent branding. For example, if you operate an online ecommerce business that ships products to customers, it’s a simple matter to package a distinctive fragrance packet into each shipment.

References & Resources

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