I love the smell of fresh mint and of newly cut pine branches. My daughter, when she was much younger, would stick her head out the car window while I filled the tank because she loved "the smell of gasoline." My wife is a big fan of scented candles and we have many of them around the house.
A recent study of affluent Americans revealed that 4-in-5 adults say they purchase products to make their home smell good. Unity Marketing says the market for fragrance products reached $8.3-billion in 2004, a 14 percent jump over 2003.
It's All in Our Heads
Brain scientists at Harvard have been studying the way we process odors. They have found that our sense of smell goes directly to the area of the brain that triggers emotional responses; by-passing all the cognitive steps required to process the other senses.
In plain English - Smell is the only one of the five senses that can cause an immediate and automatic emotional response. Scientists believe there is something primal about the way we react to odors. Of all the senses, smell is the one most closely linked to memory and instinct. For many animals, smell is the primary source of information about the environment.
We all have certain smells that stir up instantaneous emotional reactions. I live near the ocean and after being away for a few days, an immediate feeling of well-being warms my heart when I step out of the plane upon returning and take in a deep breath of ocean air. "Ahhhhh, home."
So, how does your company smell?
When customers come into contact with your organization, what is their automatic response? What emotional triggers are pulled when they "catch a whiff" of your products or services? Companies with "pleasant aromas" can count on their customers to choose them without having to stop and think about the choice.
As you think about this, ask these questions:
- 1 - How do we "smell" to our customers? Pleasant? Pungent? Stale? Inviting?
2 - What automatic response do we want our customers to have when the think about us?
3 - What can we do to make our company more "fragrant?"