Olfactory marketing for brands

Our sense of smell awakens the emotions and opens the door to nonverbal communication

In the same way that pictures may tell a story better than words, scents have a powerful effect on our memories and emotions. Studies show that while people only remember 1% of what they touch, 2% of what they hear and 5% of what they see, 35% of what they smell stays in their mind. When it comes to marketing and the customer experience, the sense of smell is now seen as a crucial tool for awakening customers’ emotions and making them better remember the brand.

The sense of smell in our daily lives

“Olfactory memory” refers to the process by which the memory captures not only a scent but also the surroundings and related emotions. As a result, it stores memories that are often more emotionally charged than those generated by the other senses. Like Proust’s madeleine, the emotional impact is even stronger and more vivid because memories stirred by scents are often very accurate and have not been altered by time.

Impact on buying behavior

“That person really has a nose for business.” This is just one of many expressions that reflect the important role the sense of smell plays in the act of buying and communication.

Because it capitalizes on olfactory memory, olfactory marketing is a subtle and invisible way of starting a dialogue with consumers or customers, telling them about the brand’s identity and inviting them in to discover its universe. The evocative power of a perfume stays in people’s minds, leaving them with a positive impression of a place, a service or a product.

Whether they are simply creating a fragrant atmosphere or have their own olfactory identity, more and more brands are investing in olfactory marketing to enhance visitors’ experience and awaken their emotions in order to make a lasting impression.

Brands can use olfactory marketing in a wide variety of ways: to offer an immersive discovery of a product or work, to fill a space with a unique and memorable ambiance, to give customers a sense of wellbeing… Hotels, shops, offices and many other sectors diffuse room scents to create a strong emotional connection between brands and visitors.

There are many measurable advantages to creating a comprehensive sensory experience in terms of how it affects visitor behavior:

  • On average, customers will spend more time in a scented space
  • They will come back more frequently to discover what’s new in a store
  • Packaging with a faint odor or “scratch and sniff” type sticker tends to attract more attention: customers pick them up and smell them, sometimes without thinking about it.

Discover how olfactory marketing is used in different sectors of activity


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