Scentsational Brands:
The Best Companies Using Scent

Many brands today are using scent by adopting a scent brand or ambient scent strategy.

Let’s take a look at the three best international companies using scent, and analyse how they incorporate scent into their strategy or identity.

Singapore Airlines

Since the 1990s, number one airline in the world Singapore Airlines has created its own fragrance as its scent brand, Stefan Floridian Waters. The unique aroma blend of rose, lavender and citrus is worn by flight attendants as perfume, is blended into their hot towels, and is pumped throughout the cabin space.

Remember, A human is able to recognise approximately 10,000 different odours and more impressively, recall smells with 65% accuracy after a year, in contrast to only 50% of visuals after three months. (Sense of Smell Institute)

Brand expert and author Martin Lindstrom remarks that Stefan Floridian Waters may not be the most pungent and memorable smell, however, as soon as you step aboard the aircraft, the fragrance has the “potential to kick-start a kaleidoscope of smooth, comfortable memories, all reflecting the more obvious customer service and quality efforts of the Singapore Airlines brand.”

Other airlines are following suit, such as United with their new signature scent Landing and Turkish Airlines TK1933. Just as Singapore Airlines is the leading airline in the world, it is no surprise that they also lead the industry in scent branding.


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Hyatt Place

The hospitality industry is also rapidly adopting and adding scent into their brands and spaces. Hyatt Place hotels are just one example of many in the hotel industry to create a signature scent brand and waft it throughout their spaces. In fact, according to Bloomberg, in 2015, hotels spent an estimated $300 million in the scent-branding industry. Experts claim the hotel scent branding industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2015 to 2020.

Adding scent to your brand can increase brand perceptions, brand memorability and quality of experience. Hyatt Place’s scent brand Seamless is now featured in over 300 hotels across the US. The scent has proven to be an integral aspect of the Hyatt Place brand, personifying the brand’s message and mission through olfactory sense.

Abercrombie & Fitch

One of the most recognisable brands in the retail sector using scent has always been the popular teenage fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch. The clothing brand features a powerful, and many times too strong, scent in their store. The aroma, dubbed Fierce, was so strong it could be smelt outside the store and around the corner. You always knew you were near a store just by following your nose.

A&F showcases a different technique for scent branding and ambient scent against the grain of the previous brands, opting to pump their scent in large quantities for an ‘in-your-face’ approach. While it is generally advisable to only have a small amount of aroma in your space (a little goes a long way), Abercrombie’s young target demographic has responded more positively to this “billboard scent” strategy. The scent is reminiscent of young teenage romance and debauchery; as Seventeen Magazine puts it, “It was there, clouding your brain as you had your first kiss (because basically every boy basically bathed in it from ages 13-17).”

Currently, A&F has taken a step back from this billboard scent strategy and Fierce that dominated the millennial generation in its teenage years. The brand has adopted a more traditional approach with a new scent to complete its rebranding phase. As we can see from Abercrombie’s relationship with scent branding, scents are an incredibly powerful tool to use in branding. Scent portrays another side of sensory branding that is just as important as any visual or sound.


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