Is too Much Smell the Perfect Amount of Smell?

Okay, first let me explain the title - I know, it's a bit of a doozy. But here's the thing: we've all be in malls and we've all heard the thumping music and cologne drenched air coming out of stores like Abercrombie, Hollister, and Pac Sun. Not to mention, the lucky among us who have travelled to smells great there, too. Ever wonder why? link

In a new article published in the Journal of Retailing, researchers reviewed 66 studies examining how store scent, color, and music influenced people’s experiences, perceptions, and memories of their time spent shopping. More specifically, the paper focused on three main categories:

  1. Arousal (no, not like that - how stimulated a shopper feels)
  2. Pleasure (how much are they enjoying the expereince, not just the products)
  3. Satisfaction (the outward facing judgement of the expereince)

And, interestingly enough, scent is the only factor that networks all three of the above together. However, with a scientific edge this outcome is not necessarily surprising. The olfactory bulb, which is where our idea of scent is processed, is connected to the amygdala and hippocampus. So? Well, those are two parts that deal directly with emotion and memory.

This is leading to a whole new world of olfactive branding. Yes, you read that right. Brands are now trying to craft scents, based on research like that found in the Journal of Retailing, to establish memorable, emotional, and pleasurable experiences for shoppers based solely on their noses.

The above picture was provided by Flickr user Jeremey Jannene and is licensed under creative commons.