Scent Marketing: love is in the air

Did you know that…

  • We can remember 35% of what we smell. According to studies by the Rockefeller University, the evocative “power” of each of our senses is as follows: smell (35%), taste (15%), sight (5%), hearing (2%) and touch (1%).
  • The human sense of smell affects 75% of our daily emotions, mood, and desires.


Today’s consumers have unlimited choices and are paying less and less interest in the efforts of some companies that try hard to get their attention. Companies need to deliver messages that stay in consumer’s minds so, they try to use reliable ways to connect with consumers, being one emotional marketing (if you would like to read more about this topic, you are more than welcome to take a look on my previous blog) and the other is sensory marketing, which evokes to the senses more diversely and completely.

One of the senses that achieves better results is the sense of smell. This is because it has an incredible capacity to associate aromas and emotions, some of these aromas have the power to make us happy or nostalgic and eventually drive us to buy things.

A few important studies have shown customers would spend 40% more time in an area of a retail store scented with a distinct scent over an odor-free area. (Martin Lindstrom)

Why does scent marketing work so well?

The sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system, which automatically unlocks a series of evocations and memories associated with the fragrance.  It also allows us to associate these aromas with the perception that we have of a brand, which also strengthens our relationship with the company and its products.

What memories come to mind if you feel the fragrance of talc?
Surely your thoughts are associated with childhood… perhaps directly to newborn babies, right?
or, if you go to the supermarket and feel citrus aromas, you know how close the cleaning section is.

People process smells unconsciously, the associations we make are fast and uncontrollable. Science has helped companies learn how scents can evoke consumer reactions and behaviors. This is the reason why some companies are careful to choose an aroma that represents them, but most importantly, that has an impact on consumers.

How some brands apply this scent marketing?

Packing with smell: most of us shop online nowadays and some companies add a special aroma to these delivered packages, to reinforce the consumer’s shopping experience and also to reinforce their branding.

Aromatization at the point of sale: as a clear example I will mention the cosmetic store LUSH, who hasn’t passed by any of these stores and by smelling so many fragrances in a millisecond put a step inside…. maybe we do it more often than men, but the fact is that the aromas of this store are incredible as well as the products and those amazing designs, that will make you feel like going to the last corner of the store.

Diverse formats:

  • DUNKIN’ DONUTS: after an experiment they carried out in Korea, they managed to increase visits to their stores by 16% and coffee consumption by 29%. Commuter buses in the city were outfitted with devices that released the aroma of fresh coffee whenever the Dunkin’ Donuts jingle played over the radio. At the end of the jingle, the buses would stop close to a Dunkin’ Donuts store.


Source:  American Inno

  • ROLLS ROYCE: This luxury car brand uses the smell of leather and wood to perfume their cars every time a customer takes his car to an official maintenance store, thus living the experience as if it were the first purchase.
  • SINGAPORE AIRLINES :uses the scent of lotus flowers and bamboo forests that is worn by flight attendants and put on hot towels handed to passengers before take-off.

Brands understand the influence that fragrances have in generating ideas and identification. That’s why some fragrances work as a seal of a specific brand.


For fragrance newcomers, you should keep this in mind…

Vanilla and floral essences work for women and woody essence for men. Basically, studies show classic scents are better than complex. A shortlist first.

  • Cinnamon: mental stimulant, reduces fatigue.
  • Lavender: undoubtedly has a calming and sedative effect on clients and is highly recommended for reducing nervousness and depression.
  • Lemon: this aroma gives off freshness and cleanliness.
  • Mint: mint stimulates brain activity and facilitates concentration.
  • Orange: is considered an antidepressant.
  • Vanilla: finally, it is one of the smells that consumers remember the most and, among its effects, the one that stands out is that it reduces stress.




Karen Paz

Master student in Online Business and Marketing, I think that marketing makes you experience a thousand different things and is like a tale book. It always has a better story than the previous one.

View all posts by Karen Paz →

11 thoughts on “Scent Marketing: love is in the air

  1. I really love this article, it’s interesting how can we be connected with smell, That means customers will associate a smell with a brand image and recall it when they smell it later. Scents can help create an experience associated with a brand and subtly influence a customer’s view of a brand. Scent can also affect customers’ perception of quality.
    And above it all can give us best memories <3

  2. Wow! I’m really surprised how some of us as costumers, don’t realize this sort of stimulus in our environment, until we cross by an article like this which puts everything together. It’s really clear and invited me to open more my senses when I go shopping 🙂

  3. Interesting… this reminds me of Abercrombie & Fitch and the scent they use in every store, can recognize it “miles” away (L)

  4. Very interesting insights, Karen. Scent marketing is even done in groceries shops – just think about the smell of fresh bread, yummy! For clothing, I always remember Abercrombie&Fitch or Hollister with strong perfume smell.

    1. Thanks, Katharina! I think the best moment is when you buy bread and it is still warm but it’s better to do your shopping after a meal so you do not fill your basket with lot of food 🙂

  5. When I started to read your article, LUSH was the first thing coming to my mind! Everytime I saw their store in another city, I was sure to smell their fragrances (they smell amazing though). Even though I already knew about scent marketing, I also know that being conscious of it does not stop the effect on us?
    I did not know about Rolls Royce and Singapore airlines, it’s interesting to see how it can work with all types of sellers.

    Very interesting topic!!

    1. You can smell LUSH from a distance! every time I pass by I go in some minutes just to try the aromas haha 🙂
      Those are just some examples, I think the best example is Starbucks with their Coffee aroma.
      Thanks for your feedback !!

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