Start Making Scents

Fragrance is one of the most powerful triggers of memory and emotion, yet it is largely under-leveraged as part of the creative process.

Whenever I smell vanilla or Cinnamon I think of Thanksgiving and watching my mom prepare her famous apple pies. Automatically I feel warm and secure.

When I smell fresh cut grass, I think of lazy summer days of my childhood and I feel like anything is possible.

Polo by Ralph Lauren reminds me of my student days and early crushes.

My list could go on and on, and I’m sure you would have lots of examples of your own to add.

So why is scent such a infrequent part of our efforts to create brands that connect on an emotional level?

Here’s an idea, next time you are planning a brainstorming don’t just include visual stimulus. Introduce some scents that are related to the benefits and emotions you are exploring.

Bring in scented candles, spices, food, iconic perfumes. Close your eyes, inhale and let the scents and emotions transport you to vivid associations…and perhaps new ideas.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

What scents transport you?

3 thoughts on “Start Making Scents

  1. There is actually quantifiable research that our sense of smell has an impact on purchsing behavior. I heard Martin Lindstrom speak years ago on his book, Brand Sense, where he conducted research to understand how our senses impact our purchase behavior and brand loyalty. It turns out that sense of smell can have the greatest impact of all, for brands. Some examples he sites – Crayloa now artifically adds the old-timey waxy smell to the crayon box as the modern wax now used doesn't carry it; New-car smell is actually from a factory-installed can containing "new-car" aroma; Singapore Airlines has patented a scent that is part of every female flight attendant's perfume as well as infused into the hot towels served before take off – the scent generally permeates the entire cabin.
    Sense of smell cannot be forgotten when creating or maintaining a strong brand experience. It's a simple, subdued element that could set up consumers to become fantastic brand loyalists.

  2. Fanrastic examples! Thanks for sharing. I think the Crayola one is my favorite. I wonder if they could add a real cooking/frying smell to foods that we microwave (like bacon). I do think also the smell of popcorn can't be overlooked. It's like instant hunger. I wonder if they pump that up too.

  3. There is also my favorite, especially as a frequent traveler – each of Starwood's brands (Westin, W, etc.) have their own distinct scent, one that you can sense as soon as you walk into the lobby.

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