Imagine you are walking down the high street. There’s people about and cars going past, you are going to a shop further down but walk past a bakery. When you pass this bakery you are met with the most incredible smell of freshly baked cookies, bread and doughnuts. Instead of going straight to your intended destination, you nip in for a quick peek, which leads to you buying a couple of treats for the office or to take home.
This is the essence of scent.
Here’s why you walked in…
The reason you entered the bakery was because of the captivating smell coming from inside – most likely being piped out to entice more customers. If you’re not looking through the window a beautiful display cannot catch your eye, so something else has to turn your head. This use of scent has been around forever and is one of the most common examples of how scent can be used to further a product.
Why Does Scent Have Such a Powerful Effect?
The sense of smell is tied very closely to the creation of memories. This means that most, if not all, of your memories will have scents tied to them. The example of a bakery’s scent of fresh goods is a highly relatable and very common association, one that almost everyone will have experienced. If you think about going for a picnic, you will probably relate that with the smell of grass. Another would be the smell of rain, one that I personally love.
The power behind scent is all in our heads, literally. Scents are a large part of creating long lasting, vivid memories and makes them easier to recall later in life. The stronger the memory at time of creation – the more senses you have tied to the event – the longer and clearer you can remember it. This is why scent technology is so important within events.
Dr. Alan Hirsch once conducted an experiment about scent. The experiment used two identical rooms with a pair of shoes in them. The only difference between the rooms was that one had a pleasant floral scent, setting it apart from the unscented room.
The study showed that 84% of people were more likely to buy the product that was within the scented room. While this is only one example, the study shows that a good scent can help to sell a product and keep people thinking or talking about it after the interaction.
Let’s look into event design: The influence of scent!
Applications For Event Design
One of the more obvious applications for events wanting to use scents is to tie it in with your food. Gastronomy is a rapidly expanding area for events and will no doubt continue to be a great influence on events. Cooking uses lots of different herbs and spices and if you are incorporating something like teppanyaki grills into your event, you are giving guests a food experience that will reinforce great memories with some strong scents.
Other applications of scent can include something as simple as vaporisers or home style air fresheners, just on a large scale. The use of scent that most excites me personally is scent liquids that you can mix in with fluid for hazers. A few drops can change your haze from just being there for the lighting, to transporting your guests into a field of lavender while at your event.