The Dos and Dont’s of Scenting at Trade Shows

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Should Brands Use Scent Marketing at Trade Shows?

Trade shows are a breeding ground of sensory overload for trade show attendees. But, despite all of the product demonstrations, promotional giveaways, trade show games, and gimmicks exhibitors incorporate into their trade show booth one sense is not being exploited as much as the others – smell.

According to, Fifth Sense, a charity for people affected by smell and taste disorders, the sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. This direct link between smell and memory is exactly why exhibitors should consider incorporating scent marketing into their trade show marketing efforts. Not only will it attract attendee attention and help to make a trade show booth stand out, but it will also help to establish positive memories of your brand among trade show attendees. Food and beverage trade shows have known about the power of smell for many years, as they hired product samplers to entice attendees to their trade show booth with the aromas from their product samples.

So, scent marketing sounds like a great idea, but how can exhibitors incorporate it into their trade show marketing strategy? Below we’ve listed two main types of scent marketing used for branding and the dos/don’ts at trade shows!
Effective Scent Marketing Strategies for Trade Shows

1. Attach Your Brand to a Scent
Companies interested in incorporating scent marketing into their trade show marketing efforts can work with scent marketers to assign certain attributes of a scent to their brand. After assigning a scent to your brand, start incorporating the scent into your trade show marketing efforts through air fresheners or fragrances.
Scent Marketing Tip: While using scent marketing to create an association of your brand to a smell is a great way to attract trade show leads and build a stronger connection with attendees, incorporating too much of any scent into your trade show booth can be overwhelming to attendees and quickly steer them away. Instead, find a scent balance that attracts attendees, but does not overwhelm them.

2. Create a Custom Scent

Companies that wish to create a custom fragrance specific to their brand can work with the scent marketers to design an aroma perfect for their company and its characteristics. The scent marketer will help to find smells that are already surrounding a brand and then select key components of that smell to focus on. By exploiting aromas that are already associated with a brand, scent marketers can help to create a custom scent for a brand. Custom scents are unique to each brand and are created to meet the needs of the company. By using an original fragrance your brand is sure to stand out at your next trade show.

The Dos and Don’ts of Scent Marketing at Trade Shows
1. Don’t…
Just spray your booth with a pleasing scent from time to time hoping to create an agreeable atmosphere. This can result in an inconsistent scent overload and will not leave a pleasant memory in the minds of trade show attendees; instead it may cause a negative connotation of your brand.
2. Do…
Use a distinctive scent that will create a meaningful connection between your brand and customer. The right scent can attract customers to your booth by sparking their interest as they wander throughout the trade show.
3. Don’t…
Expect to be the only company using scent marketing at trade shows to stand out. Scent marketing is becoming more and more popular at trade shows, so don’t assume that your marketing strategy will stand alone at a trade show.
4. Do…
Research companies that have used scent marketing at trade shows in the past. Study their results and learn from their mistakes and successes. By studying their results, you will become knowledgeable, prepared, and better understand what works and what doesn’t work for the trade show space.

Using the right scent can create a positive perception of a company and influence the mood of attendees in favorable ways. With the perfect scent, your trade show booth can attract more customers, leave attendees with a positive memory of the brand, and result in valuable and profitable leads!

This article was originally published in Scent Marketing: Using Scent at Trade Shows .