Scent marketing

Are you master of your fate and captain of your soul? Do you boldly navigate the waters of life guided only by an unwavering internal compass? You might think you do, but marketers out there would beg to disagree; they think they have you by the motivational short and curlys. You might be smugly thinking that you are alive to the tricks and blandishments of those trying to sell you something and that you know an attempt at manipulation when you see it…but would you know it when you smell it? A new study has shown that without you even being aware of it, some fragrances can make you more likely to purchase.

”Scent marketing” is big business and it is not just linked to products that have a fragrance but it uses fragrance to set a mood, promote products, or position a brand. It is powerful mojo too, because with all other senses you think before you respond, but with scent your brain responds before you think. You breathe 20,000 times a day and your olfactory system can discriminate between at least one trillion different smells. As scents invade your space simply as a function of your breathing you can’t easily escape ambient scent marketing and the new research shows that it has definite effects on behaviour.

For the new study researchers conducted several experiments to see how different ambient scents influenced perception and decision making. They found that when warm scent such as cinnamon was ambiently present in a shop then people felt more crowded causing them to feel a sense of less power and they compensated for this by buying items that they felt were prestigious and would raise their personal status. These findings held true across a range of experiments.

So next time you find yourself about to make an inexplicable purchase of some impressive new purple socks, it’s not because something is smelling fishy, it’s because it is smelling cinnamon.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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