Perfume or our olfactory memory

Perfume, our memory

The sense of smell is our most memorable sense. Anthropologist Annick Le Guérer, a specialist on the subject, said in Le Figaro Madame: « The sense of smell is closely linked to the areas of the brain associated with emotions, affectivity, but also with memory ». Since Marcel Proust and his famous madeleine, the link between smell and memory is no longer in doubt, so what about today?

The olfactory experience

Public transport, museums, pharmacies, banks, retirement homes: what we call olfactory marketing has gradually taken over the most varied of universes. Pioneers, stores and hotels are no longer the only ones to acquire an identity through a fragrance. Thalys perfumes its trains. Renault's Symbioz concept car incorporates an olfactory experience.

Even the muffled world of culture has gotten caught up in the game. La Guilde, an agency that advises a perfume think tank, collaborated with the Petit Palais for the exhibition « Fernand Khnopff, the master of the enigma » to diffuse an olfactory trail with its dry, non-impregnating diffusion system.

Smell, a sense of memory

But why is there such a craze for the olfactory? « An auditory message is recorded at 5%, a visual message at 15% and an olfactory message at 30% » explains Cyrille Gerhardt of the specialist company Smell Marketing, in an article on the website.

For Fragrance Signature, the sense of smell is the only one of the five senses to be chemical and the first to develop in the foetus before it even opens its eyes to the world. Perfectly autonomous, it functions continuously, even when we sleep. Hence the ability to wake up to the smell of coffee in the morning. Independently of our will, it makes us smell even before we look.
Perfume, at the heart of well-being

The market has taken such proportions that « we are witnessing the 2nd generation of use of olfactory marketing and the sophistication of concepts: custom-made fragrances or distinct olfactory atmospheres depending on the different areas of one place. « The new challenges are linked to well-being, to the use of active fragrances with specific uses that, for example, invigorate in the morning, rest in the evening » adds Pierre Loustric, President of Scentys. Nothing says that one day, thanks to facial recognition, a smell won't contribute to waking up a driver who is falling asleep.

So there are many technological solutions on the market, but it is still necessary to know how to implement them. « A new generation of professionals is now arriving on the market, as well as new training courses such as the curriculum of the Ecole Supérieure du Parfum since 2011. The curriculum goes beyond classic perfumery training and integrates marketing courses and multidisciplinary workshops. The profession of olfactory designer is also new », explains Carole Calvez, a freelance olfactory designer.


Too much perfume kills perfume

But beware, if a pleasant smell puts you in a good mood, increases the time spent in the store and the amount of money spent, an unpleasant smell can be harmful. 33% of consumers have already left a store because of an unpleasant smell!

Another subject of vigilance, combinations: the atmosphere must be consistent with the positioning of the brand. The smell of lavender or patchouli in a gym with wild music? Impossible.

Finally, for Carole Calvez, « drifts are possible and an over-saturation of odours can be inconvenient. Smells in shops, smells in offices, scented candles at home. Too many smells will kill the smell! The very nature of smell is to be ephemeral, at certain times but not everywhere continuously. Be careful not to go from nothing to everything. »As a real communication and marketing tool, the goal of perfume is not to push the consumer to buy almost unconsciously, but to seduce him while increasing his well-being, in order to favorably influence his behavior towards a product, whether it is a baguette, a car or even an exhibition!




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