Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scent Branding Boosts Sales and Customer Loyalty

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Fast Company

Link to article:
Smell the Love: How the Scent of a Brand Creates Close Connections
ScentAir is a company that helps businesses use scent to boost sales, link stores to a desired theme, or create a business' brand identity. Their Director of Fragrance Development, or "smell guru", shares a bit of his firm's history and approach to scent branding in an interview with Fast Company.

Excerpt; "You worked at International Flavors and Fragrances and a few other companies before moving to ScentAir. What’s your job there?

I select and interpret the brand messaging from our customers, and translate that into what their fragrance should be. I talk to customers--sometimes they give me a big brand book, or sometimes they just send me a website--and recommend what I think would fit. I interpret what fragrance will work for their customers: Something traditional? Modern? Trendy? With a nice fragrance, customers may linger longer, and lingering longer can turn into brand loyalty.

There’s a particular vocabulary to the world of scent. I’ve heard you use the words 'billboard,' 'thematic,' 'ambient,' and 'branding' to describe different approaches. What do they mean?
'Billboard' means you put a fragrance into the air, and that’s something they’re specifically trying to sell. So a Ralph Lauren store sells a line of fragrances, and we might put that into the air. 'Thematic' means, with a company like REI, for instance, they may have a mountainscape, and we’ll put a woody type fragrance. Or they may have camping equipment, and we’ll put a campfire smell. 'Ambient' is when a business just wants their customers to come in and feel comfortable. Maybe they want to take away any musty odors in the store.

'Branding' is the most complex. If you think about JW Marriott, they have a very defined brand: luxury without pretense. They gave us a big brand book, and we had multiple meetings with them. I had to develop a scent that would work in their big, 'great room' type lobbies that in some cases have restaurants. I had to develop something I thought was going to work, not clash, and hit home the brand message.

You’re the Don Draper of smell branding?
I have little vials of fragrance with blotter sticks. I start to describe the notes and how it works with the brand. I say, Let’s find the perfect fragrance for you: we’ll put a little vanilla in back here to get some more comfort, or some citrus on the top here to get some more energy. These types of discussions."

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