That Smells Like Seriously Good Design

spiceBy Sabine Lenz

It is an uncontrollable reflex. Every time I smell freshly baked spekulatius (for the non-German’s among us these are special Christmas cookies), I am magically transported back to my godmother’s kitchen. She was a fabulous cook, and having 30 different kinds of cookies for the holiday season was not unusual for her. And, well, someone had to sample those delicacies 😉

No matter how much time passes, this still happens to me the instant I smell those freshly baked goods. No wonder, as it has been proven that scent is the sense linked closest with our memory.

And clever marketers are buying into this, creating pleasant scents in their stores that give consumers a feeling of nostalgia; they become more relaxed and thus increase their chances of making a purchase.

But scents have even more power than this.

Scents as Part of Corporate Branding
There was a very good reason why Starbucks took their successful breakfast sandwiches off the menu for more than six months. Chairman/CEO Howard Schultz felt that the smell of the cooked food conflicted with the scent of the fresh coffee for which the Starbucks brand is so well known.

Starbucks’ aroma task force – yep, there is an actual department for this – took the clash of aromas very seriously. And they are not the only ones.

Using scent as a marketing tool, Cinnabon negotiates the leases for their stores based on the best reach of their cinnamon smell – which, we have to admit, lures us in. Abercrombie & Fitch and many other retailers are choosy about their locations so as to avoid having their scents conflict with others, hoping to attract customers with their own unique fragrances instead. The Wall Street Journal recently dedicated a whole article to this tactic.

And you better believe that as a smart designer and marketing services provider, you can add your 2 cents (and smell) to your client’s success as well.

Scents as Part of YOUR Branding
From marketing pieces, novelty products and direct-mail pieces, to packaging, magazine ads and POP, scented coatings or varnishes can be successfully utilized in just about any fashion.

“All the products consumers buy that have a hint of fragrance – be it shampoo or candles – contain a specific oil that delivers this fragrance,” says Mark Bernstein, a specialist in scent encapsulation at Scentisphere. “We take the essence of these oils and microencapsulate them into millions of tiny capsules.”

Hundreds of scents are readily available – fresh bread, cinnamon, suntan lotion, chocolate – and can be applied to your printed piece by way of a varnish or coating. [PaperSpecs PRO members, find out more about the different scented options and intricacies here.]

This, my fellow paper and print lovers, is something that you can only do in print.

You might think this is a gimmick, but believe me, when Panera Bread Co. asks their 1,800 locations to change their baking schedule from night-shift to day-shift so that the smell of freshly baked bread can linger in the stores, you better pay attention.

Here is to your own sweet smell of success…

sabine_120Seeing designers worldwide struggle to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine Lenz to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper selection tool and weekly e-newsletter. Growing up in Germany, she started her design career in Frankfurt before moving on to Australia and the United States. Lenz worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG. Lenz is a noted speaker and author on paper issues and educational topics related to the paper industry.

1 Comment
  1. Lewis Adely 4 years ago

    Aromas are known to often be connected to previous experiences and to elicit certain emotions. Using scented coatings, therefore, provides a mechanism for marketers to develop a personal connection between their brands and consumers.

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