Fresh Baguettes in the bakery section of Billa Corso

A good nose

23. May 2016, Editorial

Always follow your nose: Increasing revenues by using scent marketing. If nothing else, an emotional connection to the product is established.


brand fragrances
emotional bond
fragrant marketing
limbic system
Specialised companies create individual scents for brands.

To be able to smell isn’t random. Our olfactory sense is linked to our limbic system, the part of our brain where emotions are also stored. If you like someone’s smell, you like them. Whoever stirs positive feelings seems friendly. And that is exactly what marketing departments are making use of more frequently by giving their products a very distinct signature: a pleasant smell. This is an advantage particularly for stationary retail as it comes under pressure from online shopping. It can be a nose length ahead of the neutral smelling internet.

Scent marketing is said to increase revenues by up to 15 per cent. Because the scent of freshly baked bread stimulates desire for baked goods and the fragrance of vanilla in the air reminds one of home when purchasing clothing, shoppers linger in a store longer. It’s no surprise that a lucrative business and entire industry is springing up around finding the perfect fragrance note. Scentcommunication, The Aroma Company, Aromea Airdesign, Prolitec – these are all companies that create brand scents from brand messages. They create completely new aromas and prepare scented room concepts that fit the product. For Adidas, Coca Cola, for BMW or hotel chains. There’s no industry that wants to chance ignoring personalised perfumes. Only the way it is used differs: While automakers use their fragrances very consciously and in high doses because they want to communicate the value and high degree of finishing in their material through the nose (the smell of a new car), hotel guests do not want to immediately smell something when they enter their room.

There is no scent that pleases everyone. That is the highly sophisticated art of scent marketing.

Being reserved is the key, even at the POS. Here, discreet scents that are only mildly perceived dominate. Their source remains completely unidentifiable. Customers who have to fight through a cloud of smells will no longer (be able to) focus on the product. The subtle dissemination of scent must take place dryly through the ventilation or a special device. Unnoticeable but effective. Whereby the real art of scent marketing is in finding the exactly right fragrance note. Especially since the olfactory sense are linked to emotion, there is nothing that will smell good for everyone. What makes Customer A tremble with joy because it reminds him of a summer day, Customer B can’t even get near his nose because it has the same ingredients as his ex-girlfriend’s perfume. But there is general rule: Lemon scents enliven, lavender calms. And: When a delicate nose discovers mango or papaya, it is supposed to stimulate a desire to eat or buy – turning the POS into an island of sales.

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