Engage the Senses

Tap into the power of smell in your office

We’d like to think that vision is our most powerful sense, but that distinction actually goes to smell. While other sensory systems take long winding paths back to the brain, full of handoffs and transfers, the olfactory nerve is hard-wired directly to the brain. Smell is the most recognizable in our memory and has the ability to evoke strong emotions. Because of this, forward-thinking retailers increasingly look to enhance the customer experience in their brick-and-mortar spaces by adding memorable scents. Some work with scent designers to create a signature scent — a specific fragrance that will imprint the brand in the minds of customers to become instantly familiar and recognizable. As branding is such a multi-sensory experience, why not consider adding scents to your practice to enhance the patient experience?


Scent systems can be integrated into your office HVAC system, diffusing the fragrance throughout your entire space. Other scenting systems require nothing more than plugging a portable scent machine into a wall and pouring a fragrance into it. In our office, we use clean-burning natural soy candles.


Experiment with various scents until you find one that works. In a week or two you’ll know whether this is the right scent for your office. Realize that scent can be polarizing, as individuals have widely varying associations and preferences with scents. Find neutral scents to get the most universal appeal. Additionally, scenting should be consistent throughout the year, though not too noticeable or overpowering.

Our signature scent is vanilla cinnamon. Each day, patients comment on how great our office smells and actually ask whether they can buy the candles we use. In fact, our candle supplier closed their manufacturing facility; I bought the company and re-opened the business to continue making the product.


The Bellagio in Las Vegas uses scent machines to add their signature scent into every room on the property. Disney has strategically placed scent machines to trigger emotions and desire, such as the smell of vanilla that surrounds its ice cream and bakery shops. Realtors know the smell of cookies baking turns a house into a home, while restaurants have shown the smell of lemon in the air increases seafood sales. A signature scent provides another way for a customer to connect deeply to your brand. Follow the lead of companies mentioned above, and find your scent signature. OM