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Scent in Product Packaging: What The Nose Knows

Scent in Product Packaging - Closeup of Horse Nose

Scents can significantly impact your product marketing.

Have you ever noticed that you can almost smell the coffee brewing as the folks on TV are experiencing the best part of waking up? While wandering the aisle to replace your empty shampoo and conditioner bottles, perhaps you’ll come across a brand looking to re-create that energy boost in your morning shower. Would the smell of fresh coffee brewing while you’re showering help to wake you up in the morning?

Scented Product Marketing

Scent is a vital part of the entire product marketing process, from the brainstorming phase all the through to packaging and advertising. Whether infused to go unnoticed, or an integral part of the buyer’s decision-making processes, there’s no accident in how certain scents have become associated with products.

Consider two hand soaps that are equal in packaging, price, cleaning, and disinfecting components. One is scent-free, and the other smells like vanilla. Which are you more likely to choose? The majority of consumers will choose the vanilla-scented option. While you may not realize it, your brain recognizes that the vanilla scent will be calming and relaxing, especially as it lingers on your hands throughout the day.

The Science of Scents

Studies have shown that the science of scents is an important part of swaying a consumer to make certain buying decisions in the store. The limbic system controls the olfactory bulb. While you may not see any relevance to this statement and the laundry detergent you purchase, the fact is they’re completely related. The olfactory receptors are responsible for explaining the scents you’re smelling to the limbic system, which is the part of our brains that handles emotions, mood, and memory. If you’ve ever gotten a whiff of a smell that triggered a profound memory, you can thank this olfactory and limbic connection.

In choosing the laundry detergent that smells like a warm summer day or an ocean breeze, your decision is likely being governed by the part of your brain that has a happy memory of a family trip on a coast, or playing outside as a child. Each time you wash your clothes part of your brain triggers the euphoria of vacation.

Now apply the same reasoning to lemon-scented dish soap; you likely relate the smell of lemon to fresh, new, and summery fun, and you don’t realize that your perception of this citrus really has little to do with the actual idea of clean.

We seek out great-smelling deodorants, we want our soap to smell fantastic, and we need to have our clean clothes smell clean. Laundry is much less of a chore when it reminds you of a salty, summery, breezy vacation on an island, and dishes certainly seem cleaner when fresh, vibrant, citrus is doing grease duty. From head to toe and dishes to carpet, everything that is scented is made to make your room or yourself smell good, and it is made to smell the way it does for a reason.  You probably don’t even realize what the nose knows, so next time you’re shopping and take note of a product with a scent that draws your attention, stop and think about what that scent really means.

About the Author

Marilyn Smith specializes in covering the latest news and events about the packaging industry, including powder packing machines.

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Author:Globial International Business Team

The Globial International Business Team researches, analyzes, and reports on all things related to global trade and business.


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