What does your brand smell like?

Doesn’t that sound like something from a Monty Python send-up of Madison Avenue?  Well, according to Jennifer Dublino over at Neuro-marketing companies in all kinds of industries have been using aroma to sell themselves for years.  Seriously.

The sense of smell is the only one of our five senses that is directly connected to the part of the brain that processes emotion, memory and associated learning. In fact, you are 100 times more likely to remember something that you smell than something that you see, hear or touch. . . .

. . . .In order to work, the signature scent needs to be consistent with the image and emotions of the brand. Think about the personality of your brand. Is your brand reliable and trustworthy or edgy and fun? Is your brand relaxed or power charged? Also think about your target market. Are they young, middle-aged or older? Predominantly male or female? Value or luxury buyers? These characteristics can be successfully matched with different fragrance elements to create a scent that embodies your brand characteristics.

A highly successful use of scent branding is Abercrombie & Fitch. Their signature fragrance, Fierce, is dispersed in high concentrations in all of their stores. Fierce is strong, edgy and appeals to young, upscale consumers. The result? Fierce (which is also sold as a personal fragrance) is the number one selling fragrance for men in the US and Europe and A&F’s teenage and young adult target market can easily identify authentic A&F jeans solely by their smell.

Most of the major hotel chains also use an olfactory logo. For example, the Westin uses a cool and relaxing white tea fragrance, and the St. Regis uses an elegant blend of rose, sweet pea and pipe tobacco.

Here’s a question for economic developers:  when a prospect makes a site visit, will the fragrances they encounter affect what they think about your offerings?  Will that sheet metal operation across the street help or hurt?  Is that nearby field spread with fresh manure a good thing or a bad thing?  Only neuromarketers know for sure.  You can read Ms. Dublino’s post here.

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