Could Fragrance Make the Built Environment Safer?

Because our sense of smell is linked to the limbic system of the brain, certain fragrances can amplify feelings and memories. Scent therefore exerts an important influence on our mood whether we are at home, in the office, at a hotel, shop, care centre, or school. In addition, the right personalized scent can not only strengthen a brand, but it has also recently been found that employing sense of smell in design could even increase safety in public spaces.

Senta Multisensory Concepting is a marketing consulting firm specializing in multi-sensory customer experience. One of their projects was a study for transport company Connexion. The study included more than five hundred passengers on scheduled bus services Holland. The goal was determine which scents, if any, increased the sense of safety and comfort for bus passengers. It was ultimately found that a feeling of safety amongst female passengers rose by nine percent when bus smells including mandarin, violet, carnation, leather and wood were distributed. For male passengers, the effect was smaller, but a small proportion felt the environment was more ‘welcoming.’

Encouraged by the results, Connexxion is now looking to bring sensory strategies to high risk routes in particular.

Interesting to learn more? Senta Multisensory Concepting will be exhibiting at Material Xperience 2015.