SCENT MARKETING RESEARCH
Did you know that our sense of smell is the strongest of the five senses? It’s true. In fact, there’s a plethora of research that demonstrates the power and impact of scent in a variety of business settings. In this article we summarize some of the most pertinent stats and explain a bit of the science behind Scent Marketing. By the end you’ll have a better understanding of how to effectively put Scent Marketing to work in your business.
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SCENT AND COGNITION
The olfactory nerve is what manages our sense of smell, and it’s directly linked to the part of the brain that monitors memories and emotions. As such, scent affects mood, concentration, memory recall and emotion. In fact, 75% of all emotions generated every day are due to smell, and because of this, we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell over something we see, hear or touch. Additional research shows that there is a 40% improvement in mood after being exposed to pleasant scents.
International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. developed a self-administered, quantitative method that measures subjective mood changes evoked by fragrances. They found that eight major factors of mood are affected by fragrance, including: irritation, stress, depression, apathy, enhancement of happiness, sensuality, relaxation and stimulation.
A study by the Sense of Smell Institute indicates that while visual recall of images sinks to approximately 50% after only three months, humans recall smells with 65% accuracy after an entire year. Similarly, a study carried out at the Rockefeller University shows that in the short term we remember just 1% of what we touch, 2% of what we hear, 5% of what we see, 15% of what we taste and 35% of what we smell.
These stats are just a few of the many reasons why humans are naturally drawn to scents in the products we choose and in our daily environment.
BENEFITS FOR BUSINESSES
Scent marketing continues to be a growing trend that is effective in business settings. What can scent do for your business?
Build value. Scented areas are perceived as higher-end and more luxurious. For example, a Nike study showed that scent affected desirability of shoes in 84% of subjects, and those customers were willing to pay 10-20% more in scented environments for products they desired.
Increase shopper dwell time. Shoppers tend to stay longer in locations using a scent solution, by an average of at least 15 minutes. A study showed that Samsung shoppers underestimated actual shopping time by 26% and visited three times more product categories when exposed to scent marketing. An additional casino study showed a 45% revenue increase for slot machines in scented areas, and a 40% increase in dwell time versus. areas without scent.
Improve employee productivity & satisfaction. A Japanese company found that lavender and jasmine soothed data entry operator stress, while a lemon scent increased productivity by up to 54%.
Promote a theme or product. Scent can add character to a themed environment, help customers “escape” to another place, or promote a product. For example: A well-known night club in London doubled their sales of a particular Malibu drink by introducing a coconut scent into the atmosphere.
BENEFITS IN HEALTHCARE
Researchers have found that the use of fragrances can help reduce anxiety amongst patients. For example, vanilla can reduce claustrophobia in MRI facilities, calm pre-surgery and dental patients, and can reduce patient cancellations.
Neutralizing unpleasant odors for patients with a heightened sense of smell will also soothe and comfort. Citrus uplifts and helps ease anxiety.
In a US study forum, patients that were exposed to a sweet vanilla-like scent experienced 63% less overall anxiety than those not exposed. Fragrance cannot only reduce stress, but it can also affect our sleep. Peppermint can stimulate the brain and thus disturb sleep. Heliotropin, however, a vanilla-like smell, can relax the brain and enhance sleep.
CASE STUDY: CELEBRATION HEALTH
Celebration Health, Florida Hospital’s health care facility located in Disney’s town of Celebration, had a serious problem with patients canceling MRI appointments at the last minute. These cancellations could not be filled in a timely manner and would ultimately lead to lost revenues. The hospital was seeking a solution to help reduce these cancellations.
So Celebration Health got creative. They renamed their MRI department “Seaside Imaging” and turned it into a relaxing beach-themed environment. Beach murals were painted on the walls throughout the waiting and changing rooms and chairs were replaced with wooden rocking chairs and folding lounge chairs. Even the MRI machine itself was transformed into a large sandcastle. Mood Media provided beach-themed fragrances to complete this revolutionary approach. The result – a 50% reduction in cancellations.
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