The Influence Of Scent When Crafting A Memorable Brand

Remember, that part in Legally Blonde when the professor takes a copy of Elle’s baby pink resume only to discover it’s scented? “It gives it a little something extra, don’t you think?” she explains to her professor. 

If we put our branding hats on when watching this scene (yep, we’re those people), we learn that Elle was in fact creating an olfactory logo for her brand.

An olfactory logo is ‘branding speak’ for scent branding – the process of creating a custom scent that is directly associated with your brand. The scent embodies the characteristics and values of your brand and like a traditional graphic logo, is used wherever your brand is present. 

Moving from the courtroom to the real world, olfactory logos are used by a multitude of major brands across a variety of industries. Leading examples are Peter Alexander with their burning ‘A Tahaa Affair’ Caramel Glasshouse Candle burning in every single store across the country, endota spa’s ‘Signature Blend’ essential oil of rose geranium, lavender and patchouli and even Disneyland who pump the smells of fresh popcorn and baked goods through vents down Main Street. 

Whenever we come across a similar smell, we’re drawn to our memories with those particular brands. The more a customer is exposed to this smell, the stronger the memories, feelings and emotions become. 

This is because studies have shown that you’re 100 times more likely to remember the smell of something versus what it looked, sounded or felt like. The sense of smell is the only one of our five senses that is directly linked to the part of our brains that store memories and emotions. The other four senses are processed by the part of our brain responsible for thinking, instead of feeling. 

When it comes to creating your olfactory logo, it’s more than just choosing a scent that smells nice. Just like the perfumes we wear ourselves, it’s all about creating a signature scent that works to strengthen the bond between your customers and your brand identity. Think of it like our attraction towards particular colours and fonts that evoke certain emotions; smells do the exact same for our brand. 

When deciphering what makes up that signature scent, we must lean into the same information we used to craft our brand voice and brand identity. Who is our dream customer? What are we wanting to communicate? What experience do we offer and how do we want our brand to be remembered?  

For a day spa that is incredibly feminine throughout their colours, fonts, furnishings and touch, we naturally gravitate towards floral, soft and comforting scents like gardenia, vanilla or peonies. 

On the opposite side of the scent spectrum, a bold and energetic hair salon boasting neon colours, loud music and cheeky copy throughout their touchpoints leads us to much stronger and perhaps unisex concepts such as floral contrasted with woody notes. 

Once you’ve identified your olfactory logo, it’s now about finding the perfect balance of customer exposure without total sensory overload. In a salon business setting, the most popular way of engaging in scent branding is to ensure the scent is distinctly recognisable in the business entrance and retail space. This is the first and last place a customer will travel during their time with your business, so this is your opportunity to create a memorable and lasting impression. Candles, diffusers, regular spritz of a room spray or wax melt are seamless ways of incorporating your scent in this space that can be managed by your reception team. 

As your client moves into a waiting space or relaxation zone, you want this scent to travel with them and subtly arise as they take their seat in this secondary location. This is particularly impactful in a day spa setting where these relaxation spaces are their first moment to truly unwind and get ‘in the zone’ of being in your business. 

Retail items of your signature smell are a powerful branding touchpoint that brings your brand experience into the homes of your devoted customers. If we revisit the examples of Peter Alexander and endota spa, both of these brands have maximised their scent branding by actually selling the smell they’re famous for and you can too! 

When your customer purchases your signature smell, in whatever form, it’s an absolute tick of approval that your scent has made them feel something. They’ve connected with the smell so much that they want to take it home with them to well… continue smelling! What a power move for your brand! 

These items can become beautiful touchpoints in your new client welcome packs, as part of your seasonal hampers and even as beautiful gifts to your VIP clients. With every inhale of your beautiful blend, they exhale admiration for your brand.

So, what does your brand smell like? 

We would la-la-Luuurve to see (and smell) your brand’s olfactory logo. Use our tips to craft your own blend and tag us on Insta so we, The Bloom Fam can give you some love!