Rockefeller University: How Scent Marketing Could Drive you Results


Since July 1st 1941 when Bulova (the watchmaker) paid $9 for a placement during a baseball game to be broadcasted in NY, we have gone to the TV as the most important marketing aid discovered.

Even today, during the ‘digital era’ where Facebook accounts for 600+ million users, YouTube monetizes more than 2 Billion videos per week, and more video is uploaded in 60 days than the networks did in 60 years (more in this amazing infographic), and so on, internet still is the 2nd most important source of communication (after TV – According to TVB Media Comparison Study 2010)

All the major consumer media (TV, Internet, Radio, Newspapers) are based on a sense (or a combination of them) that is not very potent.

According to a Rockefeller University study, the reminiscent “power” of each of our senses is as follows:

  • Touch             (  1%)
  • Ear                  (  2%)
  • Sight               (  5%)
  • Taste              (15%) – 80% of which is smell
  • Smell             (35%)

And still we keep focusing on the least powerful senses to acquire consumers.

Scent Marketing could drive your brand (sales) results because it uses the most powerful sense the human body has.

Have you ever notices how this products are remembered by the costumers as for their great scent:

  • Baby Shampooby Johnson & Johnson
  • The newness of a dealership car
  • Most Hospitals Cleanliness
  • A Bakery’s recent bread – Has worked great for large supermarkets in-store bakeries.
  • The smell of chocolatein a confectionery shop
  • Old books in a Library

There are other studies that support that scent strengthens consumer loyalty and perceptions of quality.

And fragrances evoke moods and enhance brand recall.

Obvious candidates for scent marketing are hotels, transportation providers, retail stores, etc. who too often ignore the possibilities of olfactory marketing.

Perhaps you should go to a Sony Style Store and sniff… this is no ordinary stuff, this is science!!

This is scent marketing!!

Or notice on your next trip to a Bloomingdale’s that the infant department smells like baby powder, the intimate apparel has scent of lilac or the swimsuit department to coconut (this could work for a travel agency in summer).

If you’re up for the challenge, keep in mind these examples on how to make scent work for your brand or business:

  1. Use a signature scent to define a brand
  2. Use scent to put consumers at ease
  3. Use scent to define spaces, or zones