Scent Communication: Make People Love Your Brand

Monday, 5 January, 2015

Scent Communication: Make People Love Your Brand

“One sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes."

Le Petit Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Do you realize the emotional effect that a scent can have on Brand Communication? More and more Companies are experimenting by associating a specific scent with their Brands. Have you ever wondered what the actual Scent Values of your Brand are? You might be surprised.

I recently performed in Barcelona a research about Scent Perception. We took a class of 25, 3 year old children. In their classroom, they were sitting in 5 tables of 5. Each table was given a set of six different scents, in identical, child-proven containers, randomly distributed. All scents were safe & suitable for children, all with the same intensity. Scents were: cinnamon, mint, flowers, strawberry, coffee and soap. 3-year-old children are still unable to identify these scents or read the labels. After smelling all scents and playing for a while, having a good time together, we asked them, individually and separately, a simple question. Which one do you like best?

GUESS: Which scent did they like best?*

* (Please have a thought to it before reading the answers below).


Children really smell with their hearts. There are psychological reasons why people like or dislike a particular smell. Such reasons are linked to deep emotions and generally related to feelings of love.

The ‘scent arena’ is always subconscious: scent messages are connected to primary instincts and feelings, such as love, sex, hunger, thirst, feeling at home, welcoming friends, feeling safe or happy, enjoyment, excitement or calming. These feelings are related to memories, either because the smell elicits past memories or because it creates future emotional memories.

Scent Communication is about spreading messages by means of scents. It is usually a one-way system: the receptor smells but does not respond with another scent. Instead, the response is a behaviour: they like or reject the smell; they purchase or not; they enter or avoid a shop; they come back or not.

Using scents to enhance the Brand Experience can be compared to using music or visual stimuli for the same purpose. However, because of the nature of the sense of smell, Scent Communication is far more Emotional than the conventional communication based just on sight and hearing.

The process of producing a proper scent message starts by defining Brand Values and positioning, it includes an in-depth translation into the scented messages, ensuring that such messages are well received and it concludes with an excellent and convenient implementation. Only the best Scent Design and Execution can communicate the Emotional Brand Values.


* Responses were: 4: cinnamon; 0: mint; 3: flowers; 2: strawberry; 14: coffee; and 2: soap. Unexpectedly, coffee was clearly the most preferred scent among the little kids. The question is why? Our hypothesis is that coffee (in Barcelona) is the smell of morning and afternoon at home, feeling safe with mum and dad. 3 year olds are obviously not coffee drinkers, but coffee is the smell of Love to these kids. And the reason why they prefer it among other child appropriate scents, such as strawberry or cinnamon, is because it evokes feelings of love to them.


At Open-Senses we are Experts in Scent Communication. We provide Top Scent Design Services and Scent Marketing Products. You can find more information at