On “The Sweet Smell of Morality”

Humphries, C. (2010). “The Sweet Smell of Morality.” Boston Globe Online, Boston.com. Retrieved on 23 June 2010: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/02/14/the_sweet_smell_of_morality/

Scientist and Marketers are paying closer attention to the sense of smell.  It appears that while once believed subpar to other human senses, the power of smell is being reevaluated.  Some studies suggest smell has the power to influence social and moral behavior.  Recent findings have found that clean smells perpetuate favorable behavior in instances where someone is in need of help or assistance. This suggests that smells, known for their influence on emotion and memory, might also have an effect on thought.  Additional studies have shown that consumers shopping habits, such as where to shop and how much to buy, are influenced by smell, having more to do with choice than mood.  Using smell as a lure might sound manipulative, yet some researchers claim we are aware of scents and are not deceived by them. Marketers are currently looking into ways to incorporate smells into brand recognition. It’s possible for humans to undergo training to perfect their sense of smell.  As more knowledge comes about regarding smell, and the complexities of this sense are realized, consumers can expect to be greeted with new opportunities that might add to their consumer experience.

Conceptual Design: When marketers incorporate smells into their strategies it’s important that they understand how that culture perceives certain fragrances and smells.  Once they understand what smells are well perceived, it would be interesting to create new aromas that consumers will have absolutely no recollection of.  This would allow brands to position themselves through the use of a unique scent that can be found no where else (Similar to the idea of Sheraton Hotel and the fig scent in their lobbies )

Interaction Design: It’s hard to judge how consumers would interact with certain smells.  Though one smell might be linked to a favorable memory for some this might not be favorable to another.  I would assume that this would either engage or repel an individual.  The more that is understood on how smells effect thought, as opposed to emotion and memory, the more it will become easier to promote interaction.