Fragrance agency scents a good business opportunity

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The Independent Online
WHAT BRITISH companies need, to shake off the foul stench of recession, is the whiff of something heady and confident. That, at least, is the theory behind yesterday's launch of Marketing Aromatics, 'the world's first designer fragrance agency', devoted to persuading companies that along with their corporate image they need a corporate smell.

'Smells can influence attitudes and therefore behaviour,' Nigel Oakes, the agency's managing director, said. 'And we know that behaviour, whether in employees or customers, is the dominant deciding factor in corporate achievement.'

At the launch he demonstrated a range of smells, including autumn, coconut, new-mown meadow, ocean, red wine, and golf - a subtle mixture of pine and sweat. Customers can choose any of these or have an odour made exclusively for them. It can then be incorporated into their company literature and stationery. Fragrant crystals can be scattered on the carpets of their offices, so that visitors, when treading on them, will be met with a cloud of corporate fragrance.

'You could fill a car showroom with the smell of new leather,' Deborah Sims, in charge of the agency's publicity, said. 'And you can have different smells for particular offices. A place of high tension, like the accounts department, could be given a relaxing odour, or you could have a perking-up smell for offices where people come back dopey after lunch.'

'Smell is a powerful behavioural stimulus,' David Fellowes, a consultant with Behavioural Dynamics Ltd, the parent company of Marketing Aromatics, said. 'Human beings are more sensitive to it even than dogs.

'People associate smells with experiences. So if you have a seaside smell it will make people think of their last seaside holiday - and they'll feel good, assuming they enjoyed the holiday.

'We can make restaurants smell of food rather than smell of burnt grease. And you can change the taste of food by changing its smell.'

Nasty smells can also be created - one of those let loose at the launch was farmyard manure.

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