Have you ever been walking through the mall just minding your own business looking down at your hands wondering how the hell you ended up with a Cinnabon? It’s okay, it happens to the best of us. But in that minor moment of “where the hell did this come from” did you ever wonder why exactly you ended up with that warm, gooey, cinnalicious bun of goodness? Besides the obvious fact that those friggin’ little buns are basically the most delicious thing in the mall (sorry Mrs. Fields!) it’s actually the intoxicating aroma of fresh baked Cinnabons that’s luring you to the food court stand.
Scent marketing is a real thing and it’s being used to increase sales and customer experience. Besides Cinnabon other establishments such as Panera Bread and Starbucks employ the use of specific aromas to enhance customer experience and to promote sales. At Starbucks, obviously the first thing you smell when you walk in is the rich smell of coffee beans where as in Panera you’d most likely smell the warm aroma of fresh baked bread. Using this method can be tricky though as it inhibits companies from expanding to certain menu items due to competing scents. For example, if you’re at Starbucks you obviously don’t want to breathe in a garlic and onion breakfast sandwich, it is a significantly pleasant and more pungent aroma than the chain’s usual coffee scent.
In Cinnabon’s case, the franchises are told to purposely purchase weak hoods so the scents waft to back into the store, the ovens are placed at the front of the store for that just baked smell, Cinnabons are baked every 30 minutes to ensure the air is constantly perfumed with the scent of cinnamon buns, and if that wasn’t sneaky enough, some operators even bake sheets of just brown sugar and cinnamon to get that signature Cinnabon scent. I see you Cinnabon. I see you.
While we all appreciate that mouthwatering aroma, it is pretty interesting to see how far this scent marketing thing will play out.