It’s no secret that our sense of smell is deeply connected to our emotions. Studies show that scent can also influence the amount we are willing to pay for items we purchase, how attractive we find a member of the opposite sex, and how much money we are willing to give away. In fact, scent experts estimate that the scent marketing industry, which brings in an estimated $300 million annually, will continue its current trend of 15 percent annual growth.
As businesses search for creative ways to set their brands apart and increase brand loyalty and awareness, leaning on the scent marketing industry is becoming an avenue for gaining customer loyalty and increasing sales. Although candles are still popular, savvy businesses can also influence sales through the use of essential oils, sprays, and diffusers.
Essential oils are concentrated extractions from the leaves, roots, and seeds of plants. Each oil blend contains a unique mix of ingredients that can be used for healing, summoning a particular emotion, or controlling odors. For example, the smell of vanilla mixed with orange oil is known to be calming while Rosemary is known for its uplifting properties.
There are many ways to utilize essential oils, including placing them in an aromatherapy diffuser (good for larger spaces); adding the oil to a spray bottle along with distilled water (perfect for an office and manual misting); or placing the oil on a cotton ball and inhaling the scent directly (this is great for individual use in a shared space).
Interestingly, although experts agree that scent may impact people’s emotions and spending habits, the way in which a particular fragrance influences our experience of an object or place differs greatly from person to person. For example, rosemary and grapefruit are known to increase energy, but the scents also have unique influences depending on individual associations.
Rosemary has been known to improve memory, so the theory is that if you cook with rosemary and work on things requiring higher cognitive functioning after that, you will perform better. The smell of grapefruit may also influence a male’s perception of age: men who smell rosemary estimate that a female’s age is significantly younger than her actual age. However, if that same man’s memories of an abusive home environment involve the smells of grapefruit or rosemary, he may not react the same way to those aromas.
Research shows that retailers cannot ignore the power scent has over consumer behavior. A 2013 study found that an ambient scent has the strongest impact on consumers’ behavior based on its influence on purchasing intentions. Experts also believe that a company’s signature scent is as important as lighting, music, and logo for creating brand loyalty and evoking a particular mood.
The magic of scent is that a consumer doesn’t have to be consciously aware of its impact for it to work. Scientists have researched which scents impact humans even without their knowledge and have documented how effective and powerful they can be. Using diffusers or essential oils are just two ways to impact and influence consumers
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