In her TedX talk Dawn Goldworm describes the ability to control emotions and influence behaviour with one underutilised sense. New mothers are aware of this technique and even Hitler used this knowledge in his speeches.
When we are still in our mother’s womb the only thing that passes the amniotic fluid is smell. Until we are about 10 years old our sense of smell is our primary sense. When we are young we link smells with emotions which form our experiences and world. This process is also how powerful memories are formed. A smell can take us back in time and allows us to describe a certain situation with incredible precision.
I remember when we used to go on holidays my dad would always have fresh coffee in the car. Naturally I associate the smell of fresh coffee with being on holiday and the smell, even though I do not drink coffee, always makes me feel good.
Mothers know that if they have a blanket with her own smell on it that this will soothe their babies when they are no longer holding it. Hitler ensured that smell was spread throughout the room well before he gave his speeches to create the mood.
Omo, a washing detergent, hired analysts to find out what was important to customers when they washed their laundry. What they discovered was that hardly anyone would hold their freshly washed laundry into the sun to see how clean it was but people actually smelled their laundry.
In the past this sense has often been underutilised considering that the sense of smell has the power to change the way we see the world. Smell can create memories. Perhaps we should consider making it part to better our customers experience.
The scents that we like are determined mostly by our culture, our living environment and our generation. Our sense of smell comes from the limbic system in the brain which has no capacity for language. However the interesting thing is that the limbic system is responsible for emotions which is part of why scents and emotions can form such powerful links. Have you noticed that often we may not be able to explain a smell but rather we are able to describe on how a certain smell makes us feel. Scent is one of the most powerful ways that can make us feel good.