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Scents make a difference to businesses

Smell is the sense most strongly associated with emotion and memory. It has also been shown to have a physical connection, with the smell receptors having direct nerve connections to centres in the brain that control these human functions. As consumers worldwide are becoming more sophisticated and are demanding more from brands and businesses, this creates a need to provide a more intelligent approach to marketing. Scents can provide a new dimension to marketing that directly connects to consumers’ emotions and memories.

The use of scents can create and reinforce a customer‘s connection to a brand, enhance the customer experience and provide a powerful tool for marketing, all without the customer being aware of the effect on their emotions.

Business benefits of scents

Research on the effects of scents on human behaviour has shown that apart from creating a more pleasant and memorable experience, the intelligent use of scents can produce a number of substantial benefits for businesses, leading to increased revenues:

  • customers will stay in scented environments for up to 40% longer. (Business Voice)
  • adding scents to retail stores increased intent to purchase by 80%. (Nike Study)
  • ambient scents increase positive product evaluations by 25%. (Scent Marketing Institute)
  • customers provide a better assessment of service quality in scented environments. (Chebat & Michan)
  • a shampoo that was ranked last in general performance was rated first after its fragrance had been altered. Study participants said it foamed better and left the hair more glossy,even though only the scent had been changed. (Smell Report)

Multisensory marketing

Multisensory marketing is the art and science of engaging multiple senses to produce an enhanced impact for businesses. Humans have a lesser ability to detect scents than other mammals such as dogs, but we have a more sophisticated visual ability with our colour vision. We combine our senses of sight, sound and smell, taste and touch to create a complex experience of our environment.

Research has shown that combining more than one sense in the customer experience improves brand engagement. So adding smell to the customer experience will deliver a more emotional brand experience:

  • “75% of the emotions we experience on a daily basis are affected by smell. Research has shown that we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell than something we see, hear or touch. (Avery Gilbert, Sensory Psychologist at Monell University)
  • If you trigger a response from two of your customer’s senses, brand impact increases by 30%. If three senses are triggered, it increases by 70%. (Avery Gilbert, Sensory Psychologist at Monell University)

Advanced technology

Our innovative and advanced technology provides better results in the commercial environment. The AirQ computer-controlled scent diffusion system can regulate how much scent is dispersed. It can be programmed for the hour, day or week and by volume to give a consistent scent experience. Patented AirQ technology for airborne scenting provides a more effective and efficient distribution of the scent. The microdroplet technology is superior to other forms of dispersion because:

  • droplets are one millionth the weight of typical aerosol drop and one hundredth in diameter;
  • all notes of the scent are perceived at the same time, providing the intended smell;
  • pleasant smells can be delivered and bad smells are removed using an ultra-low concentration of scenting agent, typically less than one part per million of air;
  • the scents are non-allergenic and exceed all international public safety standards;
  • The microdroplets have extended hang time and uniform effect;
  • residue is virtually eliminated.

Safety and the environment

Our fragrance formulations and appliances exceed the requirements set out by global regulatory organisations and are world leading in safety. We are committed to an improvement in sustainability ”” we are ranked in the top ten support service companies on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Our products deliver pleasant smells and neutralise bad odours without negative impact on health:

  • the microdroplet technology of the AirQ delivery system complies with the maximum concentrations that are deemed safe for continuous inhalation;
  • the agents used are deemed safe for inhalation by bodies in the US and Europe;
  • there are no phthalates in any plastic parts or material that come into contact with AirQ fragrances;
  • the fragrances contain no solvents, propellants or harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs);
  • the micro-droplet technology ensures that fragrance concentrations are well below levels that are likely to trigger an allergenic reaction; and
  • there is no messy residue left on surfaces.

Tailored solutions

Our certified scent experts are trained to offer customers a customised scent solution using exclusive diagnostic tools. They are backed by world leading fragrance designers who carefully craft scents to deliver specific results for each brand and environment.

Initial has recently launched a new tool, the Virtual Fragrance Expert (VFE), which is an app for use on tablets that clarifies the scent-selection approach for customers, ensuring they are presented with the best scent selection to represent their brand.

The app allows the customer to go through a structured scent creation process by selecting adjectives describing the desired consumer experience for each of a range of attributes: actions to inspire, atmosphere, mood, personality and surroundings. It then produces a selection of scents that match the chosen adjectives, which can be further refined. This greatly simplifies the process for the customer in understanding exactly what they want their scent to convey. The results are then passed on to our master perfumers to formulate the chosen product.

Who can benefit?

Scenting can benefit every type of business and organisation. Here are just a few examples of the business sectors that could use scents to improve customer experience and sales:


Scent complements packaging and other graphic and text elements. Scenting the air space around an advertisement in high traffic areas such as malls, airports, railway and subway stations draws customers to the display while enhancing the visual experience and improving engagement.


Scenting and bad odour cancellation can ensure a good experience in any space, from lobbies, hallways, elevators, guest rooms and washrooms to garbage collection areas.


A pleasing scent can calm anxieties in a stressful setting, improve perceived waiting times and patient evaluations of services, while removing the medicinal smells that are common in healthcare facilities. This can benefit patients, their relatives and also the staff of the healthcare facility.


For the employees, scents can provide a pleasant smelling, invigorating environment to improve productivity and mood. For visitors, scents can improve impressions of prospective customers.


In airports, train and bus stations, scents can help give the impression of a clean, comfortable environment that helps reduce stress, makes people more friendly and sociable, makes passengers feel they were waiting a shorter time and reinforce pleasant memories associated with a place.

Unconscious yet undeniable: The power of scent and human behaviour

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