Do you feel more warm and cozy when you enter a retail mall and the aroma of fresh-baked cookies envelops you? Do you feel more relaxed as you enter a hotel spa lobby when greeted by subtle notes of lavender? The power of subliminal smells is not regularly talked about, but the world of scent marketing, with its ability to alter moods and buying decisions, is growing across the globe. Even the famed Davos Global Economic Forum isn’t turning up their nose at the power of olfactory manipulation having hired a scientist to present a range of odors geared at helping delegates tackle the financial meltdown at this year’s event.
Ambient Scenting, actively promoted by the Scent Marketing Institute, has become a $14 billion global market for retailers and marketers looking to enhance their brand experience. There is no doubt about the power of scent marketing and its connection to the bottom line. Hoteliers evoke signature scents to create emotional connections with their guests that encourage return visits.
Researches have found a strong correlation between smell and memory so some businesses are using manufactured scents to elicit positive memories and induce a sense of well-being for shoppers. When in a good mood, a customer may stay in the store for a longer time which leads to greater buyer opportunities for the retailer. Retailers use scent branding to keep customers contentedly shopping. But is the use of scent branding blatant manipulation or a welcome olfactory respite? Is it morally questionable for businesses to affect the subconscious minds of their customers without their permission? What if a person is hypersensitive to a chemical ingredient in a fabricated scent?
The challenge of scent branding is real. While a consumer has free-will on whether to “inhale” a Big Mac over a salad when they go to McDonalds, you can’t opt-out of breathing when you enter a hotel or retail establishment. In the United States, authority over fragrances is shared between the FDA and the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), with some regulatory aspects regarding air and water contamination involving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In Europe, the European Commission (EU) is the regulatory body that formulates scent policies in the best interest of its member nations.
Fragrance chemicals that are air sensitive may form peroxides, respiratory irritants, and particles that cause inflammatory responses in the lungs. Particles of 10 microns or less are considered respirable. The major players in the scent branding and odor remediation sector are committed to ensuring public safety and have moved the needle on developing environmentally friendly and responsible compounds and delivery systems.
Currently, to deal with odors and create a pleasing ambiance, it is no longer necessary to saturate a space with heavy concentrations of scent and environmentally unfriendly VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Nano-droplet generation technology represents a breakthrough in the use of liquids for air treatment applications for ambient scenting as well as less sexy applications including odor remediation and restroom hygiene. Conventional aerosols produce droplets that vary in size between 30 and 100 microns in diameter. Nano-droplets consistently measure less than 1 micron. Relative to a conventional aerosol droplet of, say, 50 microns in diameter, a nano-droplet is 1/50 the size, 1/125,000 the weight), and presents to the air more than 50 times more exposed surface area per unit of volume.
Businesses spend billions trying to attract and keep consumers through the sense of sight and hearing via television, print and online ads. Our next generation of businesses will appeal to the sense of smell to persuade consumers to stop, smell and “inhale” new products and services. The delivery of responsible scent branding solutions requires educated and experienced HVAC professionals and the use of nano-droplet technology. The key potential of scent marketing for a brand is the lasting association of a scent with a certain event or environment. Evoking a positive sensory experience with a brand may give your product or service an advantage in an era of seemingly unlimited consumer choices.
To learn more about scenting marketing, visit our Premium Scenting page.
Do you have a favorite smell? Share below in the comments!