Dec 7, 2018
This behavioral economics
podcast continues our series about the five senses. Last week, I
talked about the sense of sight. This week I’m talking about the
sense of smell. No matter what type of business you have, these
episodes will apply to you. The senses are all powerful and create
memories the brain uses to make decisions, and decision making is a
big part of successful business.
Understanding how our brains use
past experience to interpret the world around us is super important
when it comes to understanding how to integrate stimuli from our
senses in business. We have all experienced a certain scent
bringing back a memory. Today, I talk about the sense of smell and
how awareness of it can help make your business better.
- [09:48] The sense of smell is
made up of olfactory bulbs, which are part of the limbic
- [10:06] The sense of smell is
one of our oldest senses, and it connects directly to memories and
- [10:17] It's one of the first
senses we use as infants, and it ties to certain emotions and
memories by the time that we are five years old.
- [10:43] Our sense of smell
developed through evolution to help our species survive. We can
detect danger through our sense of smell, and we can find our
children in the dark.
- [11:35] Molecules of items
separate from the item in question (like bread baking) and those
little pieces travel into our noses and are read by our olfactory
epithelium (which are like the taste buds of our nose), sending a
direct message to the brain.
- [11:55] Sight, sound and touch
do NOT have this connection, so they are not as closely linked to
memories or emotions.
- [12:19] Adult humans can
distinguish between approximately 10,000 unique odors using 40
million different olfactory receptor neurons.
- [12:54] Because it has a direct
route to the limbic system, certain scents can trigger fight or
flight while others bring up vivid memories and others can make
your mouth water.
- [13:27] Scent is also linked to
physical attraction and our noses are trained to like people who
are dissimilar to ourselves.
- [14:46] Smell is linked to
where, when and why – thus the power of memories and really taking
- [16:24] Being able to
understand how these memories are formed and how to create positive
associations can help with your business and customers.
- [16:47] Most of our scent
memories are formed when we are around the age of five.
- [19:59] Scent marketing and
scent logos are a thing.
- [22:02] Melina shares a story
of how smelling Lush products made her hungry for P.F. Chang's
- [22:53] ScentAir made grocery
store sales go up by 7%. 83% of shoe shoppers preferred a floral
scented room when shopping and valued the shoes at a higher
- [23:40] An experiment with
scented slot machines. Casinos have branded scents. A gas station
was able to increase coffee sales by 300% with coffee scented
- [25:08] Rosemary essential oil
made test subjects perform tasks faster.
- [25:23] People can remember a
scent and its related memory with 65% accuracy after 12
- [25:47] An inhaled vanilla
aroma decreased anxiety for 63% of MRI patients.
- [26:42] If you have a physical
location, the scent you infuse makes a huge difference and you want
to make sure it ties in with your goals.
- [27:38] There are companies who
are experts on scent branding. You can actually hire them to help
you choose a scent for your business.
- [28:53] Scents are used to
create an experience, and it will be a different experience for
- [30:10] Bad scents can impact
behavior and make it difficult to focus on anything
- [31:10] Our world and the way
we think about it impacts everything we do. Our memories – and
particular scents – can trigger emotions.
- [32:05] Even showing a picture
of someone smelling something can trigger mirror
- [34:01] If you don’t sell food
and you don’t have a physical location, it is still important to
know the power of scent. You can use the power of sent to prime
memories. Just be smart and intentional about it or things can
- [36:43] Next week on episode 26
we are diving into the sense of taste.
Thanks for listening. Don’t
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