A touch of lavender takes me to a relaxing spa where I got a facial for the first time, while the Chinese Feng You Jing oil takes me back on a winding drive to Genting.
Distinct scents can get me to an exact point in time when I first experienced them. The sense of smell is said to have the greatest influence on the triggering of memories among the five human senses.
Sensory Hub uses this emotional trigger. While most companies use media such as audio or video to get audience attention, the company creates bespoke fragrances for brands.
Don’t let your nose run
Jayden Lee, who founded the company in 2014, believes there is a void in how companies approach branding. Most advertise by targeting an audience’s eyes and ears and asking them what about our noses?
He suggested, “It’s just as important compared to the other senses! Hence, we saw an opportunity in this market as it creates value for many brands, hotels, car dealerships, real estate sales galleries and entertainment venues, among others. “
When I came across this business, it reminded me of a marketing initiative by the UK company Febreeze. A few branded fragrances have been introduced, from KFC candles to Burger King perfumes.
It feels weird when your home smells like fast food, but hey, maybe that’s what hardcore fans want / Image Credit: The Sun UK
Sensory Hub was not based on this idea, however. Jayden said that scent marketing has been around for a long time.
Keep in mind that Cinnabon gives off its sweet smell of cinnamon rolls glazed with sugar syrup. It is SOP for their franchises to place their ovens near the front of their stores where buns are baked every 30 minutes.
Some stores even heat extra leaves with brown sugar and cinnamon to keep the aroma in the air.
Five-star hotels also use scent marketing via diffusers in their lobbies and toilets. The luxurious and inviting scent is usually enough to put guests in a relaxed state.
However, I think Sensory Hub stands out when it comes to creating bespoke fragrances for individual brands.
A branding perfumer
Sensory Hub makes their fragrances based on the table (left) / Photo credit (right): Pexels
Her bespoke creations are made in France by an outsourced perfumer who uses a blend of raw materials and natural essential oils.
This process can take 2-3 months after understanding a brand’s message put together by the local team.
The Sensory Hub team first visits a company to get an idea of the ambience, design, furniture, colors, etc. of the business. The samples are compiled for feedback. Changes are then made until customers are satisfied.
It is not too difficult for customers in the same industry to create unique fragrances. Jayden shared that in general, each brand has its own marketing message to convey.
“For example, Brand A might want soothing scents for their excited customers, while Brand B wants an energetic fragrance that stimulates their customers instead,” he explained.
Aroma oils are distributed from the vents / Image Credit: Sensory Hub
As soon as the curation is complete, the aroma oil is introduced into the ventilation slots of the building and distributed through the air conditioning ducts. Diffuser systems can cover spaces as small as an elevator or as large as a shopping mall.
The fragrances can last up to a month before they need to be topped up and serviced by the team. Overall, the diffusion systems and oils can cost between 100 RM / month and 4,000 RM / month depending on the size of the room.
A house that smells like a hotel
To date, they have served a wide range of clients in a variety of industries including Zouk, Hong Leong Bank, Mah Sing Properties, Jaya Grocer, and Lexus Showrooms.
With most of their customers being B2B customers, the company saw a decline during the MCO. However, they were still able to provide essential services to 30% of their customers.
“We managed to meet sales with our hygiene division as the demand for hygiene products and services such as toilet paper, disinfectants and disinfection services increased,” said Jayden.
The fragrance company is currently working on the introduction of a mini version of its diffusers for the B2C segment. These products come in the form of air fresheners for the home or car.
This idea arose from feedback from customers who liked their fragrances in showrooms so much that they wanted them in their homes too.
Jayden joked, “Who wouldn’t want their home to smell like a five-star hotel?”
- You can find more information about Sensory Hub here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured image source: Jayden Lee, Founder of Sensory Hub