Olfactory Branding and Scent Marketing – What’s the Difference?

by Mar 8, 2018Business Marketing, Scent Marketing0 comments

Two new buzz words are flying around in the marketing sphere. Scent Marketing and Olfactory Branding – sound familiar?  Is there any difference or are they actually the same thing? It’s a clear indication when certain terms become buzzwords they are of some importance. This is ‘the new craze’, so if your marketing ears are perking up it’s probably time to check them out.

Firstly, what on earth is scent marking and olfactory branding and why are they so popular? These unique marketing and branding techniques both use scent to influence consumers. This is because smell is the quickest route to the mind and heart. ‘Sense of smell’ is the most sensitive of all senses and it’s why it captures consumer interest so easily. People recall 65% of smells after one year, but only recall 50% of visuals after merely three months. Scent triggers different emotions, awakens memories and influences behaviour – the perfect combination of factors for a successful marketing campaign.


Olfactory Branding vs. Scent Marketing

So, what is the difference between scent marketing and olfactory branding? Well, olfactory is just a fancy scientific word for smell or scent. For us to smell a smell we rely on miraculous little things located in the nose – your olfactory bulbs. Olfactory branding could be known as nose gland branding but that wouldn’t sound as glamorous, I suppose.

So the real difference lies in the terms ‘marketing’ and ‘branding’, let’s elaborate on each:


Marketing vs. Branding

Scent marketing is marketing your company by using certain scents to attract consumers and influence their behaviour. The manner in which you use scents may vary from times of the day to seasons or even to important stock movements.

Big names such as Nike and Disney World use scent to influence the behaviour of their customers. This fascinating research shows successful outcomes of scent marketing.

On the other hand, Scent branding is having a unique scent that is ‘tagged’ to your brand. When people smell that scent they will attach it to your brand and vice versa. When coming into contact with your brand’s scent, a lasting impression is formed. Olfactory branding needs to match the uniqueness of your brand as well as the image your brand is wanting to portray. If you are wanting your brand to portray the image of an upmarket, uniquely sophisticated brand, you aren’t going to attach the smell of freshly popped popcorn to it.

These days a lot of companies are using a scent logo. This is pretty much a layman’s term for olfactory branding. Using a scent logo is when the focus is less on the visual of the logo and more of the smell of the logo. It may sound a bit strange at first but smell is one hundred times more memorable than seeing, touching or hearing.


Abercrombie and Fitch got it right

Savvy marketers create a custom scent that embodies the uniqueness of their brand.

Abercrombie and Fitch is a company that utilises olfactory branding by dispersing high concentrations of their signature fragrance, “Fierce”, around the store. Fierce is a strong, edgy perfume that has became so popular in store that it is now sold separately as it’s own perfume. It has also become the number one selling scent amongst men in the United States and Europe. The people using that perfume were walking advertisements for the Abercrombie and Fitch brand. The idea is genius.

An important factor about olfactory branding is that the scent needs to be consistent with the emotions and image of the brand. On the other hand, scent marketing may use different scents for different times and occasions to influence the behaviour, attitudes and perceptions of potential customers.

Therefore, the main difference between the two is that olfactory branding is used to make your brand memorable, while scent marketing is used to alter moods, attract customers, change atmospheres and influence buying power. Both techniques use scent to accomplish their goals. Both techniques show great success results. By using scent marketing or olfactory branding you’ll be smelling the sweet, wholesome scent of success.