The Invisible but Influential World of Scent Branding
Brands are competing more than ever for the attention and hearts of customers. The advent of e-commerce has introduced a new level of offerings and with that, customers’ expectations are changing. Retail, fashion and hospitality brands are adapting as they evaluate new and innovative ways to stand out from the crowd.
A brand identity is no longer dependent on visual aesthetics alone. With the rise of smart speakers and music streaming services, sound is playing a vital role in our every day life interactions with brands. Research shows that you can change the storyline of something simply by changing the musical score. Mastercard has taken notice, and recently developed a 30-second song that represents their “sonic logo”.
A holistic multi-sensorial experience includes sight, sound and smell. Why smell? Often neglected, our sense of smell is directly connected to centers of the brain that affect feelings, memories, and motivations. Scent is invisible, yet it has the power to influence how we feel, as well as associate with particular events, objects and people. Brand perception matters, and it is this influence that brands can leverage to communicate a memorable identity.
Scent marketing is an investment in brand identity to emotionally connect with an audience. Designing a signature fragrance starts with an understanding of brand values & objectives. Attributes such as visuals, color, architectural design, customer demographics and seasons can be considered in concept development. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel has adopted signature fragrances that are culturally influenced, whereas The St. Regis Hotel (both Marriott brands) use “Caroline’s Four Hundred” scent consistently across their properties. If done correctly, merchandise can be developed as customers seek to own that memorable experience.