The power of smell has served humanity since the beginning of time, portending the flight or fight response from approaching enemies and natural disasters, like fire.
Being surrounded by good smells has been a source of comfort to every civilization under the sun because it is inextricably linked to the brain’s olfactory center, which is associated with emotion, mood and memory formation.
Located in the cerebrum and known as the limbic system, archaeologists regard it as the oldest and most primitive aspect of the brain because its specific formations (the hippocampus and amygdala) were present in the brains of the world’s first mammals.
The human sense of smell is a form of the chemoreception process, which entails a physiological response to a chemical stimulus within a specific environment. It is our noses that transform these chemical signals into neural impulses.
This action depends upon chemicals to regulate cell function without being absorbed into the cell itself as a source for food or energy.
Bad odors diffuse into the air, and when perfume particles blend with them, they tend to drift to areas of lower concentration until a balance is established.
The olfactory bulb is a structure that is part of the brain’s limbic system. It has receptors, and when they are aroused, they transmit impulses to the brain via a pathway that connects to this cerebral network.
Reactions are potent and last a lifetime, as smells are never ambiguous or forgotten within the range of human memory.
They are instantaneously good or bad, and that reaction is indelibly etched within the human mind.
Pleasant memories are always formed from fragrances that evoke home sweet-homey smells like baking bread and cookies, pine Christmas trees, wood burning in a fireplace and freshly cut grass.
According to psychotherapist, Daryl Appleton, MD:
“Understanding what helps to calm and soothe, or make us feel strong and powerful, is unique and important… Smell is a secret weapon in this arsenal that can be used to help us take on the task or moment at hand…When we are surrounded by things that make us feel good — makeup, clothes, sounds, smells — statistically we tend to perform better because we feel better…Our signature scent is more than just something we like; it can be tied into our confidence and linked to our ability to self-soothe by reminding us of times when we felt protected…”
The perfume industry of today is laser-focused on the fact that the human sense of smell is closely allied to our emotions.
Our master perfumers develop fragrances meant to convey a myriad of moods and feelings ranging from sexual desire to power to serenity and relaxation.
Although scent marketing is a venue commonly applied among modern business industries, there are still many in the world of commerce who underestimate its enormous psychological prowess when it comes to conjuring both positive and negative reactions.
It was within the world of literature that an important revelation of how memories long buried can easily return to the present moment.
French author, Marcel Proust, in his book, The Remembrance of Things Past, simply had his protagonist dip a biscuit into his tea and take a whiff.
In 2015, Haruko Sugiyama and colleagues at the Kao Corporation in Japan and Rachel Herz, a neurologist at Brown University and expert in the psychology of smell, conducted a study entitled: Proustian Products are Preferred: The Relationship Between Odor-Evoked Memory and Product Evaluation. It was published in the journal, Chemosensory Perception.
The focus concerned how scent recalls memories and how it can affect the perception of a product’s appeal and quality.
Lotions were the products used in this project, and results indicated pleasant fragrances evoked more powerful memories than those without scent by the majority of the 272 female participants, who were between the ages of 21 and 31.
This sensory phenomenon is known to tap into the moods, linger time and spending of consumers in any commercial enterprise.
Scent creates positive associations between customers and products of all kinds in a way nothing else can.
There are two primary means by which it works well as a marketing tool. It can be ideal for an entire building or thematic when localizing the specific area of a retail or other type of business.
The potency of familiar scents lies in their ability to spark all our senses and connect them with real experiences, making us feel good inside intrinsically.
A brand new car is daring, leather and musk; a lemony kitchen seems clean and home baked apple pie is comfort, joy and warmth.
Whether for the purposes of ambient scent marketing within a business setting or for personal use, there is no question fragrance has a power of its own to enhance, uplift, soothe or improve our moods.
Mood categories include: memory formation and nostalgia, productivity and energy; serenity and relaxation; fantasy and adventure and erotic desire. Examples of each follows below.
Fantasy And Adventure
A tropical journey to far away sands and shimmering seas awaits with just one whiff of this glorious fragrance.
Head notes stream with facets of playful mango, tropical coconut, succulent strawberry and sugary pineapple.
A floral heart follows marked by rich, intense jasmine and sensual star anise.
This formulation finishes with base notes of lush vanilla and fruity nectar.
Summer’s last whisper and the falling leaves of autumn mark the olfactory landscape of this potent fragrance.
Bringing to mind buried memories of the passing of seasons, head notes of crisp green apple drift into a piquant heart of warm, inviting cinnamon and ultimately fold into a dry down featuring lush, elegant and noble vanilla.
This fragrance refill captures memories associated with the holiday season and all its rich and colorful delights.
Top notes stream with facets of energizing citrus that soon surrender to a heart note featuring spicy, inviting cinnamon.
A dry down of earthy, passionate musk completes this memorable scent.
Productivity and Energy
Head notes burst with citrus facets that stream seamlessly into an energizing heart of refreshing lemongrass and woody, dry sage, which encourages mental clarity and concentration.
A dry down of green floral geranium and earthy, erotic musk completes this compelling fragrance.
Relaxation and Serenity
Nothing soothes hurt, fatigue and disappointment like the psychological comforts of home and hearth.
This scent streams open with head notes of sugary, lush, orange rind, velvety peach and crisp, fresh apple.
A spicy heart soon follows, marked by aspects of warm, cozy cinnamon and hot fruity clove.
A dry down of noble, lush vanilla and roasted nutty nuances complete this smooth soothing fragrance.
Known as an aid to easing the symptoms associated with anxiety and stress and its ability to increase heart rate, this heavily floral fragrance opens with head notes laced with sugary, serene lavender.
These aspects drift seamlessly into a flowing heart featuring floral, rosy and green geranium and ultimately merge into a soft woody dry down.
Psychologists recommend the use of this scent at bedtime as a tool for help in unwinding after a difficult day.
Sensual and Erotic
Wild and primeval, this smoky, potent and distinctive fragrance oil captures the fantastic smells and imagery of the eternal dark, green and foreboding forest.
Opening notes flow with aspects of peppery, potent and leafy green, sweet, fruity banana, slightly spicy and woody nuanced cardamom, powdery violet and raspberry-nuanced iris.
These facets seamlessly drift into a fragrant heart marked by sugary wild berries, tangy black currant, warm, comforting cinnamon and crunchy green apple.
Smooth and sensual feelings of pleasure are secured with a dry down marked by warm woody elements of erotic, dark patchouli, dry cedar wood and creamy sandalwood.
To Wrap This Fragrant Missive
Find new adventures (psychological and otherwise) within the many, unexplored aspects of fragrance.
Discover new avenues to captivate customers and increase business traffic.
Final thought about the power of fragrance: The sense of smell is the hair trigger of memory. ~ Mary Stewart
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