Companies That Use Scent Marketing - Whole Home Scenting


5 Well-Known Companies That Use Scent Marketing

Scent marketing has a powerful effect on consumers. There are many approaches to using scent as a promotional tool that range from pronounced aroma billboards to signature, thematic and ambient scents. Here are five major companies that use scent marketing, along with an analysis of how each brand’s sensory campaign works and tips for using Whole Home Scenting diffuser systems and fragrances to promote any business.

1. Retail Companies That Use Scent Marketing

Many retailers disperse distinctive scents in commercial spaces to make an impression on consumers. Some stores, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, take an aggressive approach to scent marketing. This clothing retailer deploys its trademark fragrance as an aroma billboard, or a powerful and unique scent, that appeals to a target demographic.

Bath and body brands also use prominent aromas that bridge the gap between aroma billboards and thematic scents that are associated with products. The personal care products brand Lush uses a potent floral scent with aldehydic or soapy characteristics in stores.

Many other retailers also use scent marketing. This method makes sense for brands that make fragrance-forward products such as Yankee Candle. Stores that benefit from scent marketing in less obvious include Lowe’s Home Improvement, which smells like fresh-cut timber, and furniture retailers that use citrus, floral or woodsy fragrances.

2. Cinnabon

Cinnabon uses scent marketing.

Cinnabon is a food service company that uses the aroma of its own fresh-baked products as scent marketing. Franchise locations of this cinnamon bun company tend to be located in airports, malls and other locations with powerful competing aromas, not all of which are pleasant.

The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls has comforting gourmand notes of cinnamon and vanilla frosting. These comforting aromas can attract customers in large spaces. Other companies that use scent marketing, such as Ikea, have also recognized the power of this aroma.

Cinnabon is a good example of a business that uses the genuine smell of its products as a means of scent marketing. This strategy works best for bakeries and other locations where baked goods or other fragrant foods are prepared on-site. It is not always possible to control the way that real odors come across in spaces, so many companies rely on artificial fragrances and essential oils to achieve a more consistent aroma profile.


IKEA uses powerful scent triggers such as cinnamon rolls and Swedish meatballs to create lasting, positive associations in the minds of customers. This chain specializes in selling affordable and easy-to-build furniture, but many store visitors associate the brand with the delicious smells and tastes found at the brand’s cafe and checkout areas.

This furniture retailer is a good example of companies that use scent marketing that is not directly associated with its primary products. The international brand creates a thematically Swedish experience for consumers that is distinct from other retail environments in most countries around the world.

Don’t Fragrance Your Home Until You’ve Eliminated These Five Common Odor Areas.

In 5 easy steps, we show you how to get your home ready for scenting, so you can be confident it smells the way you want.

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The approach to scent marketing taken by IKEA is also tied in with another important sensory appeal: taste. Customers who sit down in an IKEA cafe to enjoy the food sold by the brand spend longer at the location. This extra time and the fulfillment derived from eating during the process of furniture shopping often translates to more purchases and high dollar sales.

4. Samsung

Samsung is a brand that does not have its own stores but has experimented with scent marketing inside of big-box retailers that carry its products. A study performed by the company found that consumers exposed to a proprietary scent spent 26% longer shopping and visited three times as many product categories.

Some companies that use scent marketing have flagship locations with a consistent scent used throughout. For example, a Nike store using a pleasant ambient scent received positive feedback from 400 customers who participated in a survey. It may also be possible to use scent marketing in limited areas of other retailers. It is important to select scents that do not clash with odors in other areas of a retail location.

The scent used by Samsung was perceived by study participants as being pleasant. Like the approach to scent marketing taken at Nike and Ikea, this scent was not directly related to the products sold. More than one scent marketing experiment indicates that pleasing, ambient scents can have positive effects on customers of any business.

5. Coffee Companies That Use Scent Marketing

Coffee shops use scent marketing.

One of the more subtle categories of scent marketing involves using fragrances to enhance and control the aroma of a business. An aroma billboard, ambient or thematic scent can be used that aligns directly with products and keeps the odor profile of a business consistent. For example, Starbucks locations always smell like coffee even though this popular chain also sells food and beverages other than coffee.

Coffee companies can rely on a combination of the scent directly produced by grinding and brewing coffee beans and artificial coffee and coffee-related scents. Aromas such as vanilla and warm spices combine with coffee odor to make coffee shops strike customers as being even more comfortable and enticing. Many companies that use scent marketing must factor in existing odors to plan the most effective approach to using fragrances in commercial environments.

For many businesses, premixed fragrance blends consisting of artificial scents or essential oils are the best option. It is worthwhile to note that artificial scents tend to be more consistent and less likely to cause allergic reactions than natural essential oils derived from plants. Diffuser systems are effective for dispersing fragrances throughout the HVAC systems of commercial structures or releasing scents in strategic locations inside of stores.

Many major companies that use scent marketing spend a lot of money on scent research, development and testing. If your business does not have the budget to develop a completely unique signature scent, you may prefer to take an ambient or thematic approach to scent marketing. Whole Home Scenting diffusers and fragrances can evoke the desired atmosphere in any business location by spreading the scent of your choice at a customizable strength.

Photo credit: Lum3n (cinnamon buns), Chevanon Photography (coffee)
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Don't Fragrance Your Home Until You've Eliminated These Five Common Odor Areas.

In 5 easy steps, we show you how to get your home ready for scenting, so you can be confident it smells the way you want.

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