Long before the days of social media and digital marketing, retailers had to think outside the box to push their brand to the next level. For many, that meant using scent branding.

scent branding

Coco Chanel is said to have used this method back in 1921 when she was trying to launch her first perfume, Chanel No.5. The story is that Coco Chanel asked her employees to spray the fragrance all over her boutique – on the clothes, in the dressing rooms and especially the entrance to the store.

scent branding

Over the years scent branding has gotten more sophisticated and is often used with diffusers rather than spritzing the entire store.

Other brands currently using this technique are United Colors of Benetton, Hugo Boss, Marlins Park (the Miami baseball stadium now includes the smell of caramel popcorn in the general concourse areas to create a “whimsical, family atmosphere,” a more sophisticated black orchid aroma in the stadium’s luxury Diamond Club, and a muted orange scent in the team store to reflect the stadium’s history of hosting the Orange Bowl.)

So what’s the purpose of scent branding?

Brands need to find a way to stand out against the crowd. One way to do that is to elicit a distinct feeling or emotion with the brand.

Hotels do it to create a sense of warmth, homeyness.  Retailers want people to feel energized, excited and eager to spend!

Scent branding isn’t always an easy sell. Many brands are wary of turning into Abercrombie and Fitch. The retailer is known for so fiercely diffusing their fragrances in the stores, groups have protested, calling it a potential health hazard.

The fact remains scent diffusion is steadily gaining awareness among marketers, which means that its use is likely to increase.

Do you use scent branding in your retail stores? Are your customers turned off by it or do they enjoy it? Let us know in the comments!

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