We get to see the best of what’s next every day. From augmented, mixed, and virtual reality to advances in biometrics, voice, and touch technology, there is an influx of new tech-enabled experiences in the market. An interesting emerging trend is the power of scent, and corporations are smelling opportunity to grab market share, differentiate themselves, drive loyalty, and in some cases, just be clever. Scent is the sense that has the strongest ability to evoke memories and trigger emotions and moods. Not to mention, the global fragrance market is worth $48 billion. Here are a few innovations that we think make scents.
The pod economy meets the future of scent. Pium is a Keurig for your nose that is voice-activated, environmentally friendly, and entirely brandable. Pium allows people to experience a variety of mood-enhancing scents through the day with one connected device and a subscription-based scent platform.
IBM’s Scent Algorithm
Philyra is an algorithm created in IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center that studies existing fragrance formulas and then compares the ingredients to other data sets, like geography and customer age, according to Vox. Richard Goodwin, a research scientist at IBM who is part of the team that developed Philyra, describes this artificial fragrance developer as “a system whose learned to create a fragrance like a human apprentice. Just like an apprentice would learn from a master what combinations of ingredients would work well, like what would be a good substitute for orange oil and when, or when to add rose oil instead of lemon, machine learning will create a fragrance based off which formula worked best.”
Imagine that your smartphone could identify, recognize, and analyze scent as easily as it takes a photo. Voice and facial-recognition allow our senses to interact with products and services in previously unimaginable ways. NanoScent is adding scent recognition technology to this new way of interacting with devices. The opportunities are endless from love through pheromones to precisely confirming the quality of your wine.
This D2C fragrance startup wants you to see and hear your new favorite fragrance through online photos and music. Selling fragrances online is incredibly challenging, but Phlur’s innovative method is to encourage shoppers to browse each scent’s accompanying photos and music and then choose the scent that speaks to them most.
The KFC FireLog
Fried Chicken roasting on an open fire. Well, not exactly. The KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog, packs the unmistakable scent of Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe. This completely embodies the brand personality of KFC’s current campaign and the site is cheeky and fun:
  • “Made with 100 percent recycled materials, the KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog from Enviro-Log is dramatically less wasteful and significantly more effective at making your home smell like fried chicken than burning actual fried chicken.”
  • “May result in a craving for fried chicken. We know the fire log smells great, but please do not attempt to eat it.”
  • “May attract bears or neighbors who are hungry.”
As experiences become more important to consumers, playing off of the importance of scent makes business sense. Tapping into the connected home through the nose or creating a new channel of sales through on-line fragrances drives revenue growth. At the very least, you can make your home smell like Fried Chicken without the calories.
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