Experiential marketing can loosely be defined as a touch point that enables consumers to interact with a brand in a physical way. While the obvious touch, sight, and sound may come to mind, smell is the missing link in experiential marketing tactics.

Brands are increasingly adding experiential marketing to their arsenal as it offers the opportunity to stand apart from the crowd in traditional marketing medias. According to the Event Marketing Institute, in 2015 companies and brands increased event and experiential marketing budgets 6.1% from the previous year (1).

Companies like Coca-Cola and Heineken are well known for enveloping their customers in branded experiences with campaigns like the Happiness Machine and the Heineken Departure Roulette.

Each of these experiences connect brand with consumers emotionally; be it through happiness and excitement, or anticipation and adventure. Regardless, a memory and experience was created that will never be forgotten, and will undoubtedly be shared time and time again.

In an age where consumers expect increasing value from brands and covet the chance to share a personal experience with their network, these memorable events are essential to forming long-term relationships with consumers.

THE ROLE OF SCENT

The heart of experiential marketing lies in creating an emotional connection between brand and consumer. A memory that can be traced back and related to a particular item or occurrence. And what better way to associate a memory than with scent; the most powerful of our five senses.

Humans can discern nearly half a million tones and several million different colors – but this pales in comparison to the 1 trillion olfactory stimuli they are able to detect (2). The direct connection between the olfactory bulb in the nose and the amygdala and hippocampus in the brain, make scent the most powerful at triggering emotions and memories (3). Imagine associating your brand and a custom experience directly with a consumer’s mind.

Consider the impact of incorporating a custom scent within a larger experiential event. Imagine a retailer launching their summer line of tank tops, shorts, swim suits, and all the best summer weather accessories. They debut this new line with an in store display featuring a mock beach and lighting to match a gorgeous summer sunrise. Add a fragranced environment with notes of lemon, mandarin peels and geranium (Prolitec Happy Days fragrance) and it becomes a tropical paradise experience, guaranteed to resonate with anyone who longs for travel and warm carefree days in the sand.

This sensory experience transports us and becomes ingrained in long term memory. After all, we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell than something we see, hear, touch, or taste.

87% of consumers in the Event Marketing Institute Event Track study reported purchasing the product or service at a later date in addition to their purchase made at the event or experience (4). Proof that experiential marketing brings consumers back to the brand even after the experience has passed. With the addition of scent to aid recall, the potential for repeat visits and extended brand loyalty are even greater.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The possibilities for experiential marketing with fragrance are endless; from retailers and hospitality, to wellness and real estate. Making a true connection between brand and individual that resides in long term memory offers the perfect opportunity to create a one of a kind experience and long-term brand recall.

Connect with Prolitec to discover how scent can improve your experiential marketing efforts and put your brand in the forefront of consumers’ minds.

by Erin Anderson, Prolitec


1. Event Marketing Institute, Event Track 2015, Executive Summary, bit.ly/1qyUk1D

2. Science Magazine, Humans Can Discriminate More than 1 Trillion Olfactory Stimuli, March 2014, bit.ly/1N6Kein

3. Psychology Today, Smells Ring Bells: How Smell Triggers Memories and Emotions, 2015, bit.ly/1emNyFL

4. AdvertisingAge, Just What is Experiential Marketing, and How Can It Be Measured?, 2014, bit.ly/1iwQeBx

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