First-time Scents are Memorable

By |December 8th, 2009|

We know that smells can evoke memories - think Proust's madeleine - but new research shows that first-time scents seem to merit a unique status in our brains. The researchers used fMRI imaging to judge how well people paired scents and objects a week after their first exposure...

Scent Marketing vs. Social Media

By |October 30th, 2009|

The other day, Ad Age’s CMO Strategy Section ran a column by Harald Vogt on scent marketing. Vogt may not be entirely impartial on the topic – he is the founder and chief marketer of the Scent Marketing Institute – but he makes some good points when he questions why so few marketers employ olfactory marketing strategies: […]

Sensory Branding at Le Méridien

By |August 10th, 2009|

The last time you were in a hotel, what did it smell like? Do you recall any sounds? While I think sensory branding is important for all businesses, hotels have a particularly strong opportunity to practice it. After all, their customers enter the hotel environment completely, providing plenty of opportunities to both delight the senses of the guests and provide consistent branding cues. Of course, all too often hotels do the reverse, assaulting guests with unpleasant odors, noisy ice machines and hallways, and other elements that detract from brand perception.

At least one hotel chain, Starwood’s Le Méridien, is putting serious effort into a memorable and consistent sensory experience: […]

Subconscious Sniffing

By |May 5th, 2009|

It’s no big surprise that our brains can process odors without the intervention of our conscious minds, but a study published earlier this year showed just how sophisticated that process can be. Specifically, brain scans showed that women responded differently when they smelled the sweat of sexually aroused males, even though almost none of the women were consciously able to identify the smell as sweat. […]

Scents, Names, Recall, and Imagination

By |February 16th, 2009|

A few weeks ago Dave Munger at Cognitive Daily had a great post about how naming a smell can help us imagine it in the future. He described research that looked into why it’s fairly difficult for us to identify and imagine scents: […]

Smell Better, Sell More

By |September 22nd, 2008|

Does a better-smelling product work better? Probably not, but people will THINK it does. Research shows that people rated a better-smelling product higher in completely unrelated performance areas. Reading Whiff! The Revolution of Scent Communication in the Information Age by Brumfield, Goldney, and Gunning, I was led to The Smell Report, a white paper authored by Kate Fox and published by the Social Issues Research Centre. The paper cites two examples of consumer perceptions being influenced by scents: […]

Coffee Smell Is All You Need

By |June 16th, 2008|

I’ve written about sensory branding, olfactory marketing, and in particular Starbucks’ attempt to get more coffee aroma into its stores. Now, it seems that all you need to get you going in the morning is a whiff of […]

Breaking News – Perfume Turns Guys On

By |March 5th, 2008|

South Korean researchers have conducted an fMRI study that shows that perfume can arouse some men. Shocking news, eh?
Eight healthy right-handed heterosexual male volunteers (20-35 years of age), having normal olfaction and no brain diseases, were recruited. During fMRI, […]

Smelly Politics: Obama #5? Hillarity?

By |March 5th, 2008|

With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton locked in a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination, will one or the other turn to sensory branding, Korean-style? Last December, Reuters reported that Lee Myung-bak, a candidate for the South Korean presidency, was spraying a scent called “Great Korea” at campaign events, and planned to also spray the scent in or near polling places: […]

The Brut Effect: Cologne Doesn’t Really Make You Smarter

By |March 3rd, 2008|

In Brain Rules by John Medina, one of the more amusing anecdotes is an informal experiment by Medina on the potency of scent to enhance the formation of memories. Medina conducted the test while teaching a complex molecular […]