Scent Marketing in the Workplace

If you stop and try to think how your workplace smells, can you identify a specific odor? Or can you at least remember how you feel when you think about it? We find it really easy to recreate in our minds the scents we smell every day, and with them also specific moods and attitudes we associate to those specific environments. For example, the smell of our houses makes us feel relaxed and cozy, the smell of buses makes me feel anxious (because I’m usually in a rush), the smell of our office makes us feel productive and the smell of my university hall makes me feel concentrated.

Now, ‘because scent marketing is so effective at increasing sales in a retail setting, we might lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of other benefits to using scent in a work environment’ (Scent Trends, Scent Marketing Institute). For example, research has shown that employees are actually happier, more productive and are absent less frequently when their office environment has natural elements, like sunlight and plants. Aroma is also a big part of our natural comfort with nature, and in fact, was the original reason that scent diffuser technology was invented in the first place.

Always referring to a newsletter sent out by the Scent Marketing Institute, scent can be used to improve mood, make employees more alert, reduce clerical errors and stimulate cooperation. In a Japanese study, workers exposed to a lemon scent made 54% fewer data entry errors. Fragrances such as lavender, orange or vanilla can help ease tensions in business negotiations, mediation and other high stress or confrontational situations. It can also encourage teams to work better on projects and preparations for presentations.. And we all know how stressful that can be!

When Vanderbilt Hospital decided to use ambient scent in its emergency room, they were shocked at how effective it was. Before the scent was used, 41% of emergency room nurses and doctors felt stressed; after the scent was introduced, this number dropped to only 3%. They also tested how frustrated employees felt and saw a similar precipitous drop. Before scent, 60% felt frustrated and after, only 6%. When asked, 84% of nurses and doctors said they strongly agree that the scent contributed to a positive work environment.

Have you ever thought about this before? I’m personally really keen on scent marketing for the workplace as I like to associate positive smells to my work environment. You may not have thought about it yet, but try to stop and think about it for a second – what would make you feel productive and focused at work? What scent would you like to associate to your workplace? We are looking forward to your answers!