Guest post: Scent marketing, beyond pushing sales


I am proud to present our new Triggerpulling guest author: Anthon-Pieter Wink. Anthon-Pieter is responsible for press and communication at ScentAir in the Netherlands. As a true scent marketing expert, he will shed light on the obvious and not-so-obvious questions that you will likely face when dealing with scent for your business. Anthon-Pieter will write for us on a regular basis, so stay tuned for more!

His first article is all about an introduction to scent marketing. An outline of where the market has been and where it is headed. Over the coming months Anthon-Pieter will take us deeper into the material and enable you to implement scent in your expressions correctly and, more importantly, effectively.

Welcome to Triggerpulling Anthon-Pieter!

Scent marketing
Beyond pushing sales

As the Communications Manager for ScentAir The Netherlands, I will regularly write an article concerning scent marketing on this blog. In this introduction, I will explain the (recent) developments in scent marketing and how its purpose has drifted away from pushing sales directly, towards the building of a brand.

Scent marketing has come a long way since the early days, when supermarkets and retailers tried to lure their customers into buying things they didn’t necessarily need by engulfing them with smells. Freshly-baked bread comes to mind, and so does the smell of fresh coffee. But in the modern days, scents can be used for so much more.

One of our clients recently told me: “I don’t believe scent, or any other aspect of our brand, drives sales directly. The point is: when you do as many things right as you possibly can, and when you do them better than your competitors, your clients will notice this. And as a consequence, you will get better results.” And that is basically it: when you get the whole package right, results will follow.

The whole package
So what does that entail? Brands have always been concerned with distinguishing themselves. This can be done by using any one of the senses, but it mainly started with the visual aspect of the brand. Think of the big yellow M alongside the highway, signalling where to get your roadside burgers, and think of the various shades of red, green and other colours used to distinguish the cans and bottles of soda and beer brands from each other. The auditory aspect soon followed. Commercial tunes are often very well-known and many brands would kill or die to claim a certain slogan as their own. Ron Burgundy’s recent catch phrase “it comes standard” for Dodge Durango would be a good example of this. And then there is the fact that some products produce their own distinguishable sound, such as Microsoft computers versus Apple computers.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that now, scents are added to this list, although it has taken a while. Early adopters were often faced with scent delivery systems that couldn’t really disperse the scents evenly throughout the shopping space, so often the customers were greeted by a thick cloud of smell lingering near the entrance. Not the best way to say ‘welcome’! Also, business owners often chose the scent they liked best themselves, without any concern for their customers, employees, or the other in-store marketing tools they had installed. Luckily, things have changed.

An emotional connection
With a new generation of distribution systems, ScentAir The Netherlands (partner of Mood Media) is able to evenly distribute the scent of choice throughout spaces of any size – so that takes care of the distribution issue. What it now comes down to is the choice of scent. With over 1.600 scents to choose from, this is often not easy. Luckily, almost everything is known about the workings of all the different scents, as they all trigger certain emotional responses – from extremely relaxed all the way to incredibly energetic. What we need to focus on, is how you want to connect with your customers on an emotional level.

brain - ScentAir

This may come as a surprise, but smell is the only sense that is directly connected with the right side of the brain – the side where memories and feelings are being created and stored. All of the other four senses are connected to the left side of the brain – the rational and analytical part. This is the reason why certain smells can instantly take you back to childhood memories. So, as opposed to auditory or visual stimulation, smells can make customers feel stuff. How this can help you build your brand, do everything right, and get results, I will explain in the next sections of this contribution.

Anthon-Pieter Wink
Press and Communication
ScentAir The Netherlands

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