What's the Newest Tool to Attract Metro Detroit Renters? The Power of Scent

What's the Newest Tool to Attract Metro Detroit Renters? The Power of Scent Detroit Free Press (07/08/17) Kovanis, Georgea

Buildings in which many people live and work -- particularly those in downtown Detroit -- are being scented with fragrances such as Rain Shower and Green Tea. Piped into lobbies and other public areas via building ventilation systems, the scents are the latest in architectural amenities. They are something building owners, managers, and developers have started using to try to make their interiors extra appealing in the booming and increasingly sophisticated office and apartment rental scene. "The marketplace has become so much more competitive out there, a lot of our customers are looking for a way to differentiate themselves from the norm," states Sue Wieland, manager at Ambius, a global company whose Novi office is responsible for scenting many Detroit-area buildings. "The first five seconds are typically where people make a decision whether they like a space or not [and] our emotions are evoked by scent."

While all of our senses play a role in decision-making, studies have shown that our sense of smell is especially influential. According to researchers, it is the sense that is tied directly to the part of the brain that is responsible for memory and emotion. Such retailers as Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria's Secret, and Hugo Boss have been using scent to tug at customers' emotions and attract foot traffic for years. The practice reportedly goes back to the 1920s, when Coco Chanel instructed her Paris sales employees to douse the store with her signature scent, Chanel No. 5. Sofitel is now welcoming guests to its lobbies with a scent that's a combination of lemon leaves, bergamot, sandalwood, and French vanilla, according to the website for the company that provides the scent. The Westin, meanwhile, uses its signature White Tea fragrance. As a result, scenting companies are posting impressive growth numbers.

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