Scent marketing is one of the five subtypes of sensory marketing that focuses on scent. Senses of sight, hearing, touch, and taste have a significant effect on human behavior, but research reveals that the sense of smell has a significantly greater effect on shaping human perception, emotions, opinions, and behavior.
Smell as a means of communication
The sense of smell is the strongest human organ that cannot be turned off. The average adult breathes 15-20 times per minute, which is 20,000 times a day (GAPA, Georgian Association of Physician Assistants). At the same time, on a daily basis people are exposed to scents, which can affect their emotions, moods, and thus their behavior. Recent studies by Bushdid and others have revealed that humans are capable of recognizing at least a trillion different odors.
Smell is a complex but effective means of communication. Moreover, the sense of smell is directly related to the human limbic system. Human memory power is very strong in terms of various odors since the sense of smell is most closely related to memory. Smells surround us everywhere and up to 75% of all emotions, generated by a person, are based on the perceived smell, and not on what a person sees and hears around!
A look at scent studies
Over the years, many different scent marketing studies have been conducted for different purposes. The first study dates back to 1932, when Laird (1932) tested the effect of smell on the perception of product quality. Participants in the experiment evaluated four pairs of stockings that differed only in odor. Although the researchers did not ask participants to sniff the socks, 50% of the participants preferred daffodil-scented stockings and only 8% of the participants opted for odorless ones. Participants who preferred scented tights described their choice with the following keywords: strong, durable, shiny and stretchy.
In Germany in 1998, Anja Stohr studied the possible effects of perfuming the retail environment and discovered that information is stored up by 26% more than usual, people’s time spent in the store increases by 15.9%, buyer readiness by 14.8%, impulse purchase by 6%.
When perfuming rooms, the most important thing is to carefully choose the scents used for this purpose. Studies have shown that synthetic fragrances can cause a number of unwanted side effects. For instance, inhalation of synthetic fragrances can adversely affect the blood circulation in the brain and often cause migraines.
Scent marketing is an area in the future that will cause a very high resonance in society, as it is a sensitive issue in terms of both health and possible consumer manipulation. The use of scent marketing should not be feared. Instead, you need to be able to ask the right questions and receive honest answers to them.