Quotes + Thoughts | On memory trigger

Have you ever noticed that a particular scent can bring to mind a rush of vivid memories?

The smell of cookies baking might remind you of spending time at your grandmother’s house when you were a small child. The scent of a particular after shave might remind you of your father, while the scent of jasmine might remind you of your trip to a spa in Bali.

The same applies to brands, as some rely on the scent in brand-building. Cinnabon and any bakery cafe knows that first-hand. While the multi-billion $ global fragrance industry knows that all too well.


It’s been a well-known secret that Singapore Airlines, among the world’s most admired (and profitable) airlines, uses the uniformed scent in all their aircraft cabins. Singapore Airlines was probably among the pioneers of “Scent Branding”, an area that is now gaining popularity in the hotel and retail industries… turns out they’re learning a thing or two from fragrance floors of department stores and hair salons.

Scent branding is becoming just as prevalent in retail. Researchers believe that ambient scenting allows consumers to make a deeper brand connection, and data has led many other non-scent-related companies to join the fray. Recently, Gaurin, 41, helped create a fragrance for Samsung‘s stores, which has been cited throughout the industry as a milestone in scent as design.



Why does smell seem to act as such a powerful memory trigger?

First, the olfactory nerve is located very close to the amygdala, the area of the brain that is connected to the experience of emotion as well as emotional memory. In addition, the olfactory nerve is very close to the hippocampus, with is associated with memory.

No longer confined to lingerie stores, ambient scenting became standard practice in casinos in the early 2000s and invaded the hospitality sector soon thereafter. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts employs Welcoming Warmth, a mix of fig, jasmine, and freesia. Westin Hotel & Resorts disperses White Tea, which attempts to provide the indefinable “Zen-retreat” experience. (Despite its abstraction, the line was successful enough to inspire Westin’s 2009 line of White Tea candles.) Marriott offers different smells for its airport, suburban, and resort properties. The Mandarin Oriental Miami sprays Meeting Sense in conference rooms in an effort, it claims, to enhance productivity. In the mornings, the scent combines orange blossom and “tangy effervescent zest.” In the afternoon, executives work away while sniffing “an infusion of Mediterranean citrus, fruit, and herbs.”

The actual ability to smell is highly linked to memory. Research has shown that when areas of the brain connected to memory are damaged, the ability to identify smells is actually impaired. In order to identify a scent, you must remember when you’ve smelled it before and then connect it to visual information that occurred at the same time. According to some research, studying information in the presence of an odor actually the vividness and intensity of that remembered information when you smell that odor again.

… are leading the latest fragrance business craze, a form of sensory branding known as “ambient scenting.” Jovanovic, 34, helped pioneer the trend by creating the “woody” aroma—a combination of orange, fir resin, and Brazilian rosewood, among others—for Abercrombie & Fitch. Since its roll-out in stores across the country two years ago, Abercrombie’s Fierce, which also pervades sidewalks outside the clothier’s stores, has become an integral part of the shopping experience. Popular demand compelled the company to produce the trademark odeur in bottle form, and, according to Jovanovic, customers have complained when store-bought T-shirts lose the smell after multiple washes

Inspiration: About Pscyhology, No More Dirty Looks, Bloomberg Businessweek


About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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