Scent marketing: Benefits for brands and businesses

Explore the power of scent marketing to enhance brand recognition, boost sales, and improve employee satisfaction and productivity.
Office Sense

Have you ever thought about the role of scent in your branding? Scent marketing can strengthen your brand identity, increase the likelihood of purchases and increase employee productivity and satisfaction. In the world of marketing, scent is often an overlooked component. Companies often invest a lot in their brand elements, like design, music and lightning, but forget that scent can also be a valuable asset to their brand. In this whitepaper we’ll explore the science behind scent marketing, and what it can offer to companies looking to get ahead of their competition.

This whitepaper tells you how you can:

  • Strengthen brand identity
  • Increase sales
  • Increase employee productivity
  • Increase employee satisfaction

Strengthen brand identity

Let’s dive a little deeper in the previously mentioned claim of strengthening brand identity, by first defining what it is. Brand identity are the elements that distinguish a brand from its competitors. Think of logos, patterns, or certain scents (like the bready scent you smell when you walk past a Subway) that are inseparable from their brand. Having a strong brand identity is important for customers to easily recognize your brand and create a personal connection with it. This in turn helps with customer loyalty.

With scent marketing, we can create this connection between customers and your brand. For example, research shows that customers are more likely to return to a store when a fitting scent is being dispersed (Spangenberg et al., 1996; Bone en Ellen, 1999). By having a certain scent active in all of your locations, people will link the scent with your brand, thinking of it when they smell it somewhere else.

Increase sales

Scent marketing also has the power of influencing customer purchases. Spangenberg, Sprott, Grohmann, and Tracy (2006) found that shoppers spent more money on clothes when a masculine (or feminine) scent was dispersed in the female (or male) section of the store. Another experiment done for Nike, performed by neurologist Dr. Hirsch,  discovered that by adding a pleasant scent to an environment, purchase intent can go up by 84% (Kleinfield, 1992). By making customers feel comfortable in a store, they are more likely to look at products longer and thereby increase the chance of buying something.

Scent can also be used to increase appetite for certain products by dispersing a scent associated with it—take the bready scent of subway mentioned earlier for example. Steven Semoff, previously co-president of the scent marketing institute, mentioned an experiment where a petrol station with a mini-mart attached to it started to disperse a coffee scent, they saw the sales of their coffee increase by 300% in the Independent. This effect can also be used in luxury restaurants. Dispersing a luxurious scent creates a more exclusive atmosphere, which in turn can promote customers to act luxurious and spend more on say wine or expensive food options.

Increase employee productivity

When we look at outside factors on our productivity, we often think of things like music, a clean environment, or even things like coffee, but we seldom think about scent in this context. According to Mark Moss, head of the psychology department at Northumbria University, scent can play a vital role in our productivity levels. “Pleasant smells are associated with better performance, probably through improved mood, whereas unpleasant smells impair performance, most likely due to negative mood”, he said.

Herbal scents in particular can have a profound impact on concentration levels (Hoult et al., 2019). Think of scents like rosemary, pine, eucalyptus and peppermint. It’s worth noting that calming and relaxing scents like lavender and chamomile don’t have the same effects on productivity levels but can have a calming effect. This is a great example of why scent selection is an important factor when implementing scent marketing.

Increase employee satisfaction

Apart from increasing productivity, we can also use scent in our office spaces to create a significant impact on the well-being of our employees. By dispersing the right type of scent, we can enhance their mood, positive emotions, and cognitive functions (Spence, 2020). This in turn can also have a positive effect on the concentration and productivity levels of our employees.


Considering all the information and research there is out there, It’s safe to say that scent marketing can be a valuable asset for your business. How can you implement scent marketing? We would suggest spreading appropriate scents with a scent device. With modern scent devices you can disperse just the right amount of scent for your desired space to get all of the benefits discussed in this article.

At Sense Company we offer a complete, professional and affordable way to implement high quality scent marketing. Want to learn more about how we can transform your brand through scent? Don’t hesitate to contact us here and we’ll be happy to help!


Hoult, L., Longstaff, L. F., & Moss, M. (2019). Prolonged Low-Level exposure to the aroma of peppermint essential oil enhances aspects of cognition and mood in healthy adults. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 10(06), 1002–1012.

Bone, P. F., & Ellen, P. S. (1999). Scents in the marketplace: explaining a fraction of olfaction. Journal of Retailing, 75(2), 243–262.

Spangenberg, E. R., Sprott, D. E., Grohmann, B., & Tracy, D. L. (2006). Gender-congruent ambient scent influences on approach and avoidance behaviors in a retail store. Journal of Business Research, 59(12), 1281–1287.

Spangenberg, E. R., Crowley, A. E., & Henderson, P. W. (1996). Improving the store environment: Do olfactory cues affect evaluations and behaviors? Journal of Marketing, 60(2), 67.

Mark Moss, head of the psychology department at Northumbria University

Spence, C. (2020). Using Ambient Scent to enhance Well-Being in the multisensory built environment. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Independent. (2011, August 15). The smell of commerce: How companies use scents to sell their products | The Independent. The Independent.

Kleinfield, N. R. (1992, October 25). The Smell Of Money. The New York Times.