Forget Me Not: Scent and Memory

When it comes to business, getting your customers and prospects to remember your business and important features about your product is a top priority. Scent can be a highly effective tool in your marketing toolkit to help make your business memorable.

Scent is processed in the limbic system of the brain. In addition to processing emotion, the limbic system is also instrumental in creating memories. This is why people remember smells accurately for much longer than they remember pictures and other sensory stimuli. Smell-related memories are more accurate over time and they also last longer, sometimes for years.

Most advertising has a brand name, visual component and product information. Researchers wondered how the addition of scent would affect recall of the product information so they devised a scent and memory study experiment.

The Study

Researchers showed participants one of two advertisements for a product, either with or without an image. After a short delay, they asked the subjects to write down everything they remembered about the product. Five minutes later, some got a scented paper, and were asked to write down anything else they remembered.

When subjects got a scented paper, they remembered more than those who got an unscented paper. This was more so for those who also saw an image, meaning that the combination of scent and the image reinforced memory more than either alone. Scientists asked the subjects to come back two weeks later to be tested again.

People who had seen no image and had no scent clue recalled essentially no details of the ad. With scent but no image, they remembered 21% of the product details. With both image and scent, they remembered 36% of the product details.

On average, having scent doubled the amount of information remembered about the product over time.

How to Use This in Your Business

When you use environmental scent in your location, you are making your business more memorable. You can reactivate the visitors’ memories of your business by reintroducing the scent to them. For example, you can sell or give away items with your businesses’ fragrance as candles, room sprays or even scented direct mail. Smelling this fragrance again will remind customers about you and make them want to come in again.

Try pairing the scented item with a promotional incentive like a coupon for even more reasons to come back.

Contact your Air Esscential rep to find out how to use fragrance to boost foot traffic and sales.