scent marketing
scent marketing

A type of marketing which you probably didn’t know of: Scent marketing

Did you know that you can control coustomers memory, emotion, and even buying tendency by taking advantage of the strengths of the fifth sense?

What is scent marketing?

Various smells can convey your brand’s theme and value - it’s essentially a way to communicate subliminally with your customer. Different smells reflect your company’s brand name by associating a feeling with your product or service.

Scent can also be used in the workplace to increase productivity and happiness among your employees. You must know what smell suits your demographics in order to make it effective. Many businesses underestimate or neglect the power of smell.

Scent marketing or sent branding is the process of using one scent for the whole experience. Hospitals use scent to create a more soothing environment for patients.

Abercrombie and Fitch use the most extreme form of scent marketing called billboard scenting, every store of theirs smells the same. The smell they use is very masculine and it relates to their brand.

The aroma absorbtion process in human beings.
The aroma absorbtion process in human beings.

There are four main types of scent marketing

Aroma billboard

It is aroma billboard when a company associates a bold, noticeable scent with its brand. The same scent will be used in all of their branches.

Thematic smells

This smell is relevant to the type of business that is using it. It’s more subtle than aroma billboard and this type of smell can usually be found in spas.

Ambient smell

These are subtle smells that are mostly used to cover up the bad smell. These smells are usually light and pleasant. They can be found in malls or large shopping centres.

Signature smells

Many retail establishments and designer stores use a signature scent at all their locations. It is a perfume a brand sells or sent that evokes a certain feeling.

different variations of smells used in scent marketing
different variations of smells used in scent marketing

Scent diffusion process

The scent is diffused through a stand-alone system or through an HVAC system. It is a very delicate process and releases a mild scent into the air, as overpowering people with the aroma is not a good practice.

HVAC system — scent marketing diffuser

HVAC system


The global perfume market reached a value of US$ 38.8 Billion in 2018. Looking forward, the market value is projected to reach US$ 48.0 Billion by 2024, at a projected CAGR of 3.6% over the forecast period.

Disadvantages of scent marketing

When the particular scent does not match the demographics, location, or brand identity, the public reaction is often negative. Just as scent marketing can create a positive image for a brand it can also do the opposite by creating a negative image when used in the wrong way. So, one has to be wise enough to choose the right scent for their brand.

Scent marketing can be overwhelming at times. If a customer has a sensitivity to smells it can create adverse reactions by making them uncomfortable. People from different cultures and age groups have different associations with certain smells. What is pleasant to some can be aggressive to others.

Benefits of scent marketing

  • Improves brand recognition.
  • Extends the time customers linger around in the store.
  • Customers are 100× more likely to remember something they smell.
  • 59% of the customers would spend more money in a store that smells good
  • People can relate a scent to memory with 65% accuracy within 12 months.

Famous brands and business who use scent marketing

  • Starbucks.
  • Cinema Plex.
  • Cinnabon.
  • Singapore airlines.
  • Ford motor company.
  • Ocean bank.
  • Lowe’s home improvement.
  • Muji, a Japanese retail company.
  • Abercrombie and Fitch.