If you were asked about the smell of the chalkboard, your mind would time travel to grade school. Mrs. Smith (or whatever her name was) asked you to come to the front of the class to complete the problem of the day.
Chalkboards smell like fear, anxiety, and shame for some.
Others smell youth, happiness, and simplicity.
Smell is an important trigger to memory, according to Discovery.com.
Scents bypass the thalamus and go straight to the brain’s smell center, known as the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is directly connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, which might explain why the smell of something can so immediately trigger a detailed memory or even intense emotion.
That’s the science.
Think of other areas of your life where smells emerge, and it brings you to a different place.
Think of the smell of a new car. The smell of being born again with a hint of pride.
What about the smell of a puppy? The scent of undeterred love and playfulness.
The smell of bacon brings me back to my grandma’s breakfast table. She’d cook two over-easy eggs in a frying pan of bacon fat, served with a thick slice of homemade bread with butter and her own strawberry jam. The smell makes me smile when I think of her.
Today when I walk into a restaurant for breakfast, many places have replaced the old-fashioned methods of cooking bacon with pre-cooked kind.
Restaurants have small profit margins. To protect their margins while remaining competitive, they try to lower the costs of labour. Fresh cooked bacon takes people power. For an extra few cents per slice, restaurants cut labour hours to preserve the bottom line.
By doing this, they rob me of my memories of Gramma Grace. She pretended to hate it when I called her that.
Although it’s easy to understand how smell is important to the culinary experience, you should know it’s important to all businesses. Even the online ones. I can smell a fraud a mile away. He reeks of overexcitement, promises, and bad vibes.
Imagine the plumber who doesn’t wash his boots after working in a septic tank. His next customer won’t have positive memories of his service.
What about the car salesman who smokes too much, has poor personal hygiene, or douses in Old Spice? Again, the smell will linger in our brains long after the encounter is over.
Smell isn’t the only thing to think about.
What about the other senses?
I know a roofing company that lets customers touch the product in the sales pitch. It’s brilliant because their biggest objection is sound insulation. They’re sold on hearing, touch, sight, and smell at the same time.
Taste is the one sense non-food businesses struggle with. With creativity, there is a way to incorporate “Taste” into your brand experience.
I ordered a lawn maintenance product on Amazon. A week later, the package arrived with a bag of M&M’s inside. The simple gesture was a surprise and delight moment. Although it has nothing to do with the product, I think of them every time I see a bag of M&M’s.
Karen Post wrote in Brain Tattoos , “A brand is a story embedded in the mind of the market.”
Your brand is a culmination of the stories customers share about you.
The foundation of those stories starts with what they see, touch, hear, taste and smell.
As the architect of your brand, never lose sight of what is truly important.
How the customer feels.
Feeling can be “chalked up” as the sixth sense.
Feelings are a total of imaginary, uncalculatable scores of the other five.
It is your job to have a strategy to incorporate the five senses for maximum effect on memory and feelings.
Your job to build your story is entrusted to, as a 90’s kid would say, “the vibe.”
I’ll leave the last words to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
Now the time has come for you to get up
The rest had you fed up but yo I won’t let up
On the rhythm and rhyme that’s designed to
Make your behind move to what I’m inclined to
Pure hip hop no sell out
If you ain’t in it to win it
Then get the hell out
I command you to dance
I wanna see motivation
So come on now feel the vibration