The power of scent in experiential marketing

October 30, 2019

The first whiff of pumpkin spice. The smell of woodsmoke on a crisp morning. Damp leaves decaying underfoot.

According to the evidence of our noses, autumn is definitely here.

But why are smells so strongly associated with memory? And how can experiential marketers harness this power?

Experiential makes sense.

Experiential marketing campaigns target as many senses as possible - not just sight and hearing, but touch, taste and smell too. The touch of a fluffy towel, the taste of ice-cold ice cream, or the coconutty smell of a beach holiday is what sets experiential marketing apart.

Experiences that activate the senses tap into existing emotions and memories, and are more likely to be remembered in turn.

The smell of a memory.

Of all the senses, it's smell that is most closely linked with memory and emotion. When you stop and smell the flowers, your olfactory bulb sends the information from your nose to your brain. This olfactory bulb is part of your brain’s limbic system, which also deals with emotion, motivation and long-term memory. Your smelling centre is tucked right in there with your emotions and memories – perfectly placed to help you form a lasting emotional bond with a brand.

I mean, who hasn’t stuck their nose in a Play-Doh pot and inhaled the scent of their childhood?

Harness the power.

Experiential marketing is all about building that emotional bond with the consumer, so we often build scent into our campaigns. In this outdoor dining roadshow, we tempted customers and evoked the spirit of summer with the smell of a sizzling barbecue. The opportunity to smell these all-natural ingredients convinced pet owners that this was a quality pet food fit for their four-legged friends.

Whether it's an intrinsic part of the activation (e.g. the smell of cooking food) or is an added element (a spritz of 'coffee and leather' scent as you enter a classy pop-up grooming salon), scent is a powerful addition to your experiential marketing campaign. So it only makes sense to give us a call!

Photo by Ruslan Zh on Unsplash

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