Scented memories

A great brand engages a customer on several different sensory levels, not just the name and the logo.  That extend to the feel of a Coke bottle in your hand, the sound of a Harley Davidson, the smell of Chanel.

In today’s NYTimes there was a neat piece about the role of scents in creating memories.

A new study being published in the Journal of Consumer Research provides strong evidence that scents improve the way people remember at the formation stage.  In other words, I don’t have to again smell the scent to recall the experience and my connection to the brand.

It’s the Scent That Tickles the Memory – NYTimes.com

That is remarkable.  Typically we assume that the scent has to be present to trigger the memory.

The importance of scents in memory formation and connection to brands is another reason why marketing needs to be reinvented.

There is no place in the traditional brand positioning model to include all the sensory cues of a brand.  There is no space on the brand positioning form for scent profile or taste profile or tactile profile.  All of those are treated as if they are separate from the brand.

In Narrative Branding we believe that those experiences are central to the brand.  That is why they are included in creating the overarching narrative.  If a brand is to be more than words and designs, then it needs to embrace all aspects of the brand experience.  In all senses of the word.

So it is heartening to see that Professor Aradhna Krishna, a co-author of the study, is pushing into new areas of marketing.   She’s a professor at U of Michigan, where she’s organized a conference on Sensory Marketing.

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