Scent branding is not new, but it is inarguably so hot right now. From runway shows to fashion boutiques to the Barclay’s center in Brooklyn, custom scents waft through the air everywhere you turn. The scents are often custom-designed specifically for the brand or event, and used to evoke a particular mood or inspire certain behavior.
Scents are very potent at forming associations in our brains, the stuff of memory.
Have you ever walked within ten feet of an Abercrombie & Fitch store entrance? Ya….exactly. Love it or hate it, their scent is now probably burned into your memory as an everlasting reminder of their brand. Leslie Vosshall, a professor of neurogenetics at the Rockefeller University in New York, says “Scents are very potent at forming associations in our brains, the stuff of memory. If a certain hotel lobby is perfumed with something lovely, and the experience you have there is fantastic, the next time you check into a hotel of the same brand — even if it is across the world — the good memories of your last stay will come flooding back.”
Eau Parfumée Au Thé Vert
One famous story of scent branding involves the perfumer Jean Claude Ellena (now the in-house perfumer to Hermes), a tea scent, and the Italian jeweler, Bulgari. Ellena had created a scent, the concept of tea, and was trying — to no success — to convince a brand to use it as the foundation for their next fragrance. Around that time, Bulgari approached Ellena to create a nice fragrance to scent their stores, and maybe a few bottles would be sold in the corner of their boutiques. They did not envision a bestseller or cash cow, just a scented extension of their brand. Ellena presented his tea scent to Bulgari, et voila, the rest is history. The fragrance, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, sold like hot cakes, and it still does today.
If a fragrance at an event can make you happy, and a scent in a store can make you shop, imagine the power of a custom scent for the most important brand of all…yourself. Now that’s a trend we can get behind. 😉