Friday, May 30, 2014

Smart Scent Marketing Pays Off for Panera Bread and Cinnabon

It's no secret that humans respond in a deeply subconscious way to scent memories.  Proust wrote a whole book about the chain of memories set off by the smell of freshly-baked madeleines.  Now companies are becoming increasingly sophisticated in exactly how and how much they use scent in fostering identification with their brand, as well as stimulating sales.

Panera Bread is a chain with both shopping center and free-standing locations.  It has recently decided to up the ante on boosting pleasant scents in its locations.  Front of the store "show ovens" bake bread to boost the fresh, homey scent throughout the restaurant. Meanwhile, nighttime bakers are being shifted to daytime shifts so that the scent of baking bread will not be lost on an empty Panera's after closing time.

Meanwhile, Cinnabon depends almost entirely on enclosed shopping center locations, and makes sure that their leases and locations allow them to waft the scent of cinnamon rolls (or even just baking trays dusted with brown sugar and cinnamon in the oven) for purely olfactory effect.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Wall Street Journal (blog)

Link to article: 
Using Scent as a Marketing Tool

Excerpt: "As more shops add odor, the battle for noses is getting intense. Restaurants are adjusting recipes to make aromas more concentrated and pleasant. Stores are installing discreet misters to diffuse essence of tea, wood and other scents into the air.

Stores relying most on aroma to draw in customers or nudge them to buy more have found achieving the right scent is complex. One person's sweet aroma is another's stench. A store's smell has to be powerful enough to lure in customers yet not offend neighboring businesses and landlords.

Cinnabon, the bakery chain, places ovens near the front of its stores so the enticing smell of warm cinnamon rolls escapes when oven doors open, says Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon, a unit of Focus Brands Inc. The bakeries are intentionally located in malls or airports, not outside, so smells can linger. Over time, the company has recognized that aroma is a huge part of its formula, Ms. Cole says. Putting ovens in the back of stores at a test location 'significantly' lowered sales, she says.

Cinnamon rolls are baked at least every 30 minutes. Some store operators heat additional sheets of brown sugar and cinnamon to keep the aroma in the air, she says.

Stores with their own scents sometimes have 'aroma restrictions' in their mall lease agreements, Ms. Cole says. The contracts typically restrict food businesses within a certain radius, limiting where Cinnabon can lease space, she says.

While research doesn't clearly point to pleasant smells boosting sales, stores are embracing scent marketing as a way to create ambience, alongside lighting and design. Many stores will diffuse fragrance through heating and air-conditioning vents.

Scent is most effective when subtle, says Edward Burke, spokesman for Scentair Technologies Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., one of the largest sellers of scent diffusers. Sweet smells like brown sugar and apple work well in diffusing systems, he says, while cooked-food aromas, like charred steak, don't smell 'authentic.'

Scent marketing is growing fast among retail and high-end apartment buildings, Mr. Burke says. Many hotels now use scent, especially subtle, tea-derived aromas. At senior living homes, cinnamon and other homey scents are popular, he says."

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