How To Build A Brand Or Product Using The Power Of Fragrance

Building a brand by using fragrance is a formidable task that demands a coalition of professional marketing skills that take years to perfect. More than one thousand new scents are launched world wide every year, and for fragrance manufacturers such as Alpha Aromatics, creativity as well as superior marketing strategies (and many dollars) are what keeps them in the public eye, aided by press releases, fragrance launches and the like.

As the owner of any brand, you are taking a leap of faith when you enter the realm of scent marketing, and you want to do it right, which translates into understanding this phenomenon and how it works.

Aroma Marketing, Scent Branding Or Ambient Scenting

Are these terms synonyms or do they each have different meanings? When seeking a fragrance to build a brand, it is vital to understand the differences between them. Generally speaking, scent marketing, scent branding and aroma marketing are synonyms, referring to a type of sensory marketing targeted only in part to the consumer’s sense of smell.

Specifically, scent marketing goes beyond just diffusing a pleasant aroma in a given space. Scent branding is about creating a signature scent that is associated with a brand and evokes certain emotions. It involves blending a company’s brand identity, marketing messages and target audience and developing a fragrance that intensifies these values. The experts at Alpha Aromatics specialize in manufacturing scents for everything from fine perfumes to personal care products, diffusers, candles, etc.

Alpha Aromatics Sensory Marketing

The phrase, scent marketing, is defined as using scents “to set a mood, promote products or position a brand.” Airlines, hotels, retail stores, and casinos are creating sensory signatures by infusing scents into the consumer environment in the hopes that this will affect the moods of consumers and translate into increased traffic and ultimately, revenue.

Ambient scenting is a little different only because it is not quite as brand-focused. It is similar in the sense that it is a marketing strategy employed to introduce a specific scent in order to influence the consumer experience within that space. In other words, it adds to the experience of a first impression but is not necessarily a fragrance that will become associated with a company brand.

Statistics And Studies Concerning Brands And Scent Marketing

Did you know that human beings breathe in about 20,000 times a day? Recent research indicates that our sophisticated olfactory systems can discriminate among and between at least one trillion different smells. The global fragrance market by the year, 2021, is estimated to be worth about USD 43.6 billion.

Several important studies over the years have cemented the power of the human nose when it comes to marketing and selling almost everything. A Samsung study found that when consumers were exposed to a company scent, shopping time was increased by 26% and they visited three times more product categories.

Well known author and brand consultant, Martin Lindstrom, conducted a study which indicted that scents trigger up to 75% of human emotions related to memory, and that brand impact increased by 30% when more than one sense is engaged and by 70% when three senses are integrated into the brand message.

Why And How Does Scent Contribute To A Brand?

Aroma and/or scent marketing should be considered as a brand’s olfactory logo. Familiarity in this case does not breed contempt as the old saying goes, but rather an indelible association with the brand. Consumers will know they are entering a particular store as soon as they step inside and the aroma invades their nostrils. In the words of Dawn Goldworm, a fragrance expert, “Scent stimulates your olfactive nerve and the limbic system, the largest part of our memories. It instantly taps into your emotions without you even being aware of it.”

How Scent Contributes To Brands

Scent Interpretation Is Generational and Cultural

Creating a scent for a place of business is complicated and requires consummate skill and understanding of human perception. When a fragrance was designed for a high end men’s clothing shop in Hong Kong known as PYE, the designer selected a combination of the incredibly costly iris molecule and the dry, paper scent of papyrus. This amalgam worked very well in China, but would have been a fragrance disaster in the United States where such a scent is associated with laundry detergent or baby powder. The designer states, “How we interpret the same scent is cultural. It’s also generational, because the largest, and strongest, scent memories are formed in childhood.”

Scents Are Inextricably Linked To Childhood Episodic Memory

When we are children the world is new, and so are the millions of scents that comprise our cosmos. Aromas are triggers for childhood memories because our first experiences with them usually occur when we are very young. That first fragrant encounter becomes permanently linked with both emotion and episodic memory, which refers to those events in our lives that are highly personal and relate specifically to the individual. It is the job and the challenge of the effective scent marketer to draw on episodic memory to either enhance or establish specific associations consumers might make with products or brands.

How Are Episodic Memories Formed?

Episodic memory is the recollection of an experience that is unique for every person. Each time a new episodic memory is formed, three distinct stages occur, each of which involves a separate section of the brain. The first concerns encoding; the second consolidation at which time the event is cemented into long-term memory. The final process is recollection, where the brain retrieves information relative to a specific incident. Recollection is sometimes instantaneous and at other times may need a trigger, such as an image or a smell. Some examples of episodic memory include: where you were on your first date; the first time you traveled on an airplane; a specific vacation, etc.

Examples of Fragrances Enhancing Brands Using Episodic Memory

Two prime examples of big brand names that have been highly successful in different ways using scent-marketing techniques are New Balance shoes and Mercedes Benz. In 2009 in Beijing, China, New Balance opened a new shoe store with the understanding that “it’s no longer simply enough to present or provide your products or services in a strongly branded visual context; the brand needs to connect and engage with all five senses of the customer in order to create resonance and establish long-term loyalty.”

Scent Branding And Mercedes Benz

The New Balance Store created a signature scent that mimicked the aroma of a mid twentieth century shoe store. It incorporated notes of wood and leather to convey the idea of ‘heritage and craftsmanship’ and it was very successful in influencing how long customers lingered in the store.

At the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Sindelfingen, Germany, Sabine Engelhardt is responsible for tracing social developments, cultural movements and sociological changes. Until recently she was plagued with the question, what should a Mercedes-Benz smell like? With the help of Marc vom Ende, the senior perfumer at Symrise, they have come up with an answer.

Together, using catchphrases and mood boards, they settled on the words for the brand that the aroma would need to reflect; namely, luxury, urban and quality of life. They came up with four distinct scents: Freeside Mood (smooth citrus); Sports Mood (naturally fresh with green tones and lightly floral nuances); Nightlife Mood (heavy leather with mild fruity tones) and Downtown Mood (warm musk notes with a subtle metal effect and a touch of sensual tones.)

Alpha Aromatics And Brand Building With Scent

For more than seven decades, we have been a leading name in the fragrance industry and our skillful perfumers and chemists are among the most innovative and talented in the world. Our unique scents are sought by some of the richest and most powerful brand names in the world today. In the words of our master perfumer, Roger Howell, “We know how important branding is for the continued growth of our clients’ product lines, and we pride ourselves on building scents that build great brands.”

Alpha Aromatics and our team were recently featured in a local ABC news piece about the power of fragrance and brands. Enjoy or continue reading


Each client is vitally important to the powers-that-be at Alpha Aromatics, and we pride ourselves on establishing personalized relationships with everyone we have ever worked with, whether the association is for the creation of a fine perfume for a signature scent or a product line for cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions, candles or anything product in need of fragrance compositions. Our continued success did not come easy and is the polished result of hard work and years of experience coalescing with the art of fragrance and science.

By way of example, the following are a few unique fragrance formulations we’ve created for international brands:

Black Bamboo Pikake

Conjuring images of tropical gardens and sparkling emerald waters, this fragrance is sensual and floral with nuances of soft bamboo. A top note of citron followed by middle notes of sweet creamy gardenia, delicate and sexy pikake, fruity and tropical plumeria, lily and aromatic star anise melds into a finishing base note of bamboo, musky patchouli and rich and woody sandalwood. This scent would fare well in travel companies, hotels located in tropical locations and stores featuring attire for the warmer months of the year.

Burnt Vanilla and Amber

This scent is associated with early autumn, a time when leaves of red, orange and gold drift away from their summer core and apples bake in the oven, their warm and spicy aroma wafting through a country kitchen. A fragrance with a top note of refreshing citrus followed by a middle note of cozy, musky cinnamon, this scent is both mystical and alluring, finishing with a base note of earthy, woodsy, sandalwood and burnt vanilla. A retail store featuring seasonal clothing could utilize this scent for their fall line of apparel. It would also work well in cafes and bistros featuring coffees and desserts and in vacant homes realtors are trying to sell.

Fragrance Market Trends Spring Summer

Explore 12 of our natural blended fragrances.

To Sum Up This Fragrant Missive

While it is said that the heart wants what the heart wants, a consumer’s mind and decision-making process is a fickle thing influenced by many factors.

Building a brand by using fragrance is the best way to insure an increase in traffic, brand loyalty and that all-important bottom line.

To be led by the nose is an old expression, the meaning of which has not only changed, but has also transformed modern commerce in terms of signature scents created to cement brand loyalty and influence sales.

So don’t be “non-scentsical” — Whether your business is candles, diffusers, a personal care product line, fine fragrance or other, call our team today for help in building your own brand through scent and making it shine above all the rest.

Final thoughts on fragrance: Nothing is more memorable than a smell…. ~ Diane Ackerman

This blog was created with the direction of our chief perfumer, Roger Howell, the insight of our President and CEO, Arnold Zlotnik, and the Alpha perfumery management and staff. Learn more about our mission, our degreed perfumers and quality control staff, as well as the passion we pour into our every fragrance creation.

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