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When people think about branding, they often think about the logos, the colours, word-play, etc. Some also think about the feel of the product, the packaging, and so on. Sound plays an important part in branding as well (everyone can remember the crazy jingles of their favourite brands). However, as a human being, we have five senses. So why are companies not capitalizing on this idea? Why not add some smell to your brand?

If you were in a movie theatre, and it didn’t smell like popcorn, would the atmosphere be the same? The popping of the popcorn occurs, not only to create product to sell, but also to create a unique customer experience, using the sense of smell. The scent of popcorn popping not only stimulates the olfactory senses in a very positive way that creates desire for the product, but it also assists in making going to the movies a multi-sensory experience.

If you bought a new car, and it didn’t have that “new car” smell, would you have the same sense of gratification? Did you know that the new car smell is fake? Research by automakers determined that consumer preferences have changed over the years and we now prefer the smell of artificial leather to genuine tanned leather.

The result is that both the new car smell and the leather smell are sprayed into cars before they leave the assembly line. Smell is such a powerful cue to buyers that many used car dealers freshen up cars they sell with the new car scent.

In a Las Vegas casino, Dr. Alan Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago,  discovered that when a floral scent was pumped into an area where slot machines were located, the amount of money people spent went up 45 per cent. That’s amazing!

Another example from the book OBD: Obsessive Branding Disorder mentions that to get people thinking about milk, they infused the sent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in public transits. Pair this with “Got milk?” ads, and all of a sudden people are thinking about milk and cookies.

Some of you are probably thinking “how can this apply to my product?“. Well, if you are a service industry, spraying subtle pleasant smells in your lobby or boardrooms could trigger pleasant feelings in your clients, leaving them more satisfied with your service (or increasing the chance of them accepting your service).

Are you in the food industry? Infuse your package with the smell of your products. People will be able to smell your product without opening the box! If your product smells good, they will be more likely to buy it. Are you a manufacturer of plastic products? Infuse your plastic with a lavender scent!

There are many ways that consumers can be influenced with smells. Have you ever used smell in your product/service before? In what ways?