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Tracy Pepe, Scentvertising Perfumer at Nose Knows Consulting (INTERVIEW)

— October 29, 2008 — Business
A few months ago, I wrote an article about an innovative scent marketing company called Nose Knows Consulting. Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Tracy Pepe at a design show in Toronto who informed me that through publicity like the feature in Trend Hunter, her company was named the winner of the 2008 IIDEX Innovative Product Awards by ARIDO!

Excited about their tremendous achievement, I followed up with Tracy.

What is the best way to create an infectious idea, product or service?

Make people believe they need it, and build it from passion.

How do you define a trend?

A trend is when the 2% of the wealth, along with the people from the streets, are doing the same thing at the same time, not knowing that the other is doing it too.

How do you define cool?

Cool is when something happens, or someone does something simply because it is their thing. They do not focus on who’s watching, they think no one is paying attention, but in reality, the whole world could be watching in amazement. That is cool.

What role does innovation play for you at Nose Knows Consulting?

Innovation is the foundation to my creativity. 

How do you reset yourself to be creative?

I start with nature; I use plants, flowers and gardening. I use my hands as a hobby to disappear, but as a ritual, I work with my Rottweilers (almost) every night. They command an energy that allows me not to focus on anything else, and at the end, my creativity is reset.

The IIDEX show was one of your favourite project this year. What made it so special?

Tapping into the creative aspects of their marketing, combining the theme of the event, and then adding the dimension that over 20,000 people passed through it. Our booth was set up so designers could experience it from their customers’ point of view.

Winning the award at the IIDEX show was an incredible honour. People are starting to understand that scent is the backdrop in our life, and focusing on scent can add the missing link to an authentic experience.

Describe your dream project or client.

I naturally love it when people add all the senses to our work. It becomes so much more, it transforms people. On one side I have a calling to do some creative fashion show, where the scents of the room meet the designer’s vision, combined with the rawness of the music and the feel of the clothing, a scent that causes the audience to become entranced. The scents would be strong, in your face, and the passion strong. On the other side, I love marketing and I would love to see the Apple concept store get out of their box and move this to the next level of retail. Oh yes, the scent would so not be apple; their emotion is so much greater and complex. 

How can ordinary people use scent marketing to enhance their business? Or can they?

Yes, everyone can use scent. People smell over 10,000 different aromas each day, so why not really focus on what you want? Start with scents that move you, and begin with the emotional connection; the aromas can be natural, or synthetic, it doesn’t matter, it is the emotional drive that creates scent marketing. I know the smell of Play Dough is strong and for some, it can bring back a childhood memory instantly, even remind them who they were with and what they were building.

In the future, how important do you think scentvertising will be? Is it taking off already?

Scentvertsiing and sensory design has taken off already. We are seeing more and more companies figure out that scent is the only emotion that can make us stop. Vision, sound and touch have their place, but in North America, we are so disconnected, that to actually make an impact, they will need to use aroma. BUT, only a few will do it right, only a few will understand that to connect with the consumer, you must find the emotional charge of the aroma. When those few put all the pieces together, the impact will be so profound, people will be scratching their heads, asking “How do you do that?” More importantly, scentvertising will be similar to the importance to marketing and advertising on the internet. The really creative people will get it, because they will know what their brand smells like.

Thanks, Tracy!

For some examples of scentvertising campaigns featured on trend hunter, check out the features below.