In our rush to win the hearts and minds of different populations, we just might have forgotten something.

As cbyd readers, you know we’re nuts about visuals, and the impact images can have on our work in branding, marketing, change, communications.  The “one picture is worth” is integrated into our mantra; every time the change word appears, so does our ‘eye’ thinking.  Science backs us up.

Recently, the power of a different human sense – smell – is invading the media.  Since the mid-2000s, retailers, from the obvious food chains to apparel stores, have been actively engaged in developing and using specific, often branded aromas to lure customers into their outlets and, once there, lure them into purchases. 

Cinnabon, for one, claims success from its sniffs of cinnamon and brown sugar. 

Hugo Boss, at the high end, deliberately crafted a smell to accompany its brand. 

And Panera (no surprise!) is transforming its bakery shifts to day time, with ovens and bakers upfront to explain and sample wares.

All is truth:  Through some practicums and research, one enterprising environmental psychologist from Washington State University demonstrated the compellingness of vanilla (women) and rose maroc (men) in doubling sales in an apparel store. 

Then, our questions:  How do we use this oldest and most primal human sense to drive other behaviors in our audiences and stakeholders … other than sales, that is?  Is it through that oh-so-80s’ scratch and sniff technology?  And/or via a fragrance that triggers important memories, putting us in more receptive, more conducive to change moods?  Or through emotions driven by oPhone use (watch for it at the end of 2014)?

We’ll sniff out the answers, if you will.