Aromas can play a significant role in our daily lives and the virtual world is highly influencing us more to take the leap of faith and create magic with our senses.
We were taught about the five senses in our childhood and the sense of ‘smell’ is the one of those that triggers our subconscious memory and it’s intuitive to the events around us. This goes back to the classic Annie’s song, “You fill up my senses like a night in the forest…” and so on, John Denver describes the scent of his woman. Smell is a chemical language that is most of the time taken for granted. It is so natural to us and reminds us of memories, that we do not have to put in a lot of thought and effort. However, the pandemic has changed our lifestyles a lot.
Senses that travel
While digitization has taken place and our screen time has increased enormously, all the other senses are very much active and put into conscious use. Smell is critical and how one link to the digital world is challenging. In the past, a lot of experimentation has been done capturing scents from nature and mimicking them in the lab to re-create the same magic as one would experience. From the smell of coffee in coffee bars to the aroma of popcorn in movie theaters. Virtual electronic noses were invented to analytically deep dive into fragrance specifications to be ahead of competition.
“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will.” quoted Patrick Suskind in his 1985 novel, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Tricks of the trade have been creating this fantasy of smells not so familiar, packaging them with colors, concepts, ingredient stories, enhanced mood music playlists have persuaded us to stay at stores for longer, shop more and control our thoughts through neuroscience technology.
Driven to act
Smell can help us make choices and decisions to try and buy products. Many perfume, cosmetic and beverage companies are engaging consumers through social media with their fragrance and flavor wheels to opt for their preferences on how the product would smell or smell and taste like. Visuals play a key role in helping consumers pick their brand. It is all about the perception created of what we are exposed to: What you see, is what you believe!
These days edible fruity flavors are found in lip care, beverages are inspired by lavender flowers, candles come in aromas of bacon and thus, cross category fertilization is a trend that is picking up. And the involvement of Millennial and Gen-Zs has been tremendous returning to nostalgic memories when it comes to aromas.
The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) techniques going viral on Instagram and Tik–Tok during lockdowns have boosted the rise of influencers and bloggers that review products and spread the word. Today it is not the celebrity endorsement that works but ordinary users that leave more credibility especially the usage ideas of innovative formats that are popular on YouTube.
More is yet to come!
This is just the beginning, and the world is yet to witness a huge revolution of metaverse calling. Chatting with virtual bots and artificial intelligence devices, virtual gaming and role-playing avatars are no less than an alien arriving on our planet and creating a ‘world within a world.’
Every conversation and movement are captured to extract data, thereby closely monitoring day-to-day activities, from our actions to what is going on in our minds. There are pros and cons to every sci-fi made real, but eventually using these to the best of our advantage is co-creating a world of instant, faster and agile consumerism. The question is are we ready to trust this new world?
Aromas & Sensory Expert working in an MNC
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