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Just Follow Your Nose!

By: Rick Ruffolo
Posted: November 1, 2011, from the November 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • Branding through fragrance is a real consumer marketing trend that cannot be ignored—based in real science and consumer preference.
  • Branding through fragrance is about solidifying an emotional connection with consumers.
  • The best approaches to branding with scent involve well-thought-out test scenarios, coupled with savvy marketing/merchant instincts, before rolling out a broad-scale initiative.

Earlier this summer, I was walking through New York City and happened by the Hershey Store in Times Square. Like many others, I was drawn into the store by the enticing, yet familiar scent of chocolate that wafted onto the street as shoppers entered and exited the doors. The scent hooked me.

It was a scene repeated countless times that day and every day throughout the world of retail—whether the door was in New York City’s Times Square, a Midwestern farmer’s market, Toronto’s artsy shopping districts, Oxford Street in London, Magnificent Mile in Chicago, or at the “Big E” summer festival in New England.

Consumers are influenced by their senses.

For decades, those who study global consumer trends and consumer behavior—notably, Paco Underhill and Martin Lindstrom—as well as Madison Avenue’s top advertising agencies—have researched and tested how to orchestrate sight, sound, taste and touch in ways to influence brand choice and consumer shopping decisions. However, it’s only been in the past five to 10 years that marketers, retailers and brand leaders have begun to embrace the role of scent in enhancing the consumer brand experience.

Fragrance is More Than a Fad—It’s Science