How to Incorporate Scent into Trade Show Displays

January 2nd, 2019

Scent, rather ironically, is one of the most overlooked senses, while simultaneously being one of the most powerful senses we as humans possess. With more than 350 scent receptors, as opposed to the three and five we have for vision and taste respectively, we are designed to respond to odors. That proclivity to scent is one of the reasons that scent marketing is becoming more popular, in trade show displays and in other areas. And, it yields results. A pleasing aroma can encourage visitors to stay up to 40 percent longer in a store.

Using scent to your advantage in your next trade show display, therefore, might just be a smart way to get booth visitors to stay longer and remember your brand more readily when they leave. Here are a few ideas for choosing and including scent in your trade show displays.

 Essential Oils and Flowers - Adding scent to trade show displays


Choose aromas for your trade show displays that complement your brand.

People need your trade show displays to make sense. That means every element of the design, from the furniture to the graphics to, yes, the scents, need to work together to convey your brand values and messaging.

As a result, your scents need to mesh with your brand. For example, if your brand sells homemade wooden furniture, outdoorsy scents will work well to drive home the natural origins of your products. On the other hand, wafting scents, like the aroma of fresh baked cookies, through your booth, while making your guests hungry, is unlikely to deliver a strong and united brand message.

On the other hand, the scents you choose do not have to be focused solely on your products. Other brand elements or values can be highlighted by aromas. For example, that baked cookie smell might be ideal for a brand wishing to convey warmth and hominess, regardless of whether or not that brand sells baked items. The key is choosing smells that evoke feelings and ideas that match your brand values and goals.


Consider creating a custom scent for your trade show displays.

Have you ever smelled something and immediately remembered an experience, event, person, or product? That is because certain odors can become attached to certain memories or things that we have an emotional connection to. The scent itself serves as a reminder of that thing (for good or bad) and helps us recall it in the future.

For this reason, it can be a smart marketing strategy to create a custom scent for your trade show display. This means mixing different aromas to achieve a scent that is totally unique and can be easily associated with your brand. While customers may not consciously realize that that scent is custom made for your brand, chances are good that later, upon smelling that aroma, they will remember your brand, products, or even just the emotional reaction they had to their booth experience. As a result, it can be an effective way to build brand recognition and memory into your visitors’ trade show display experience.


Incorporate scent strategically into your trade show displays.

Sometimes, businesses try to incorporate scent into their trade show displays by spraying aromas around the booth periodically. Unfortunately, this technique is often ineffective, primarily because it does not deliver a consistent aroma throughout the booth. At first, the scent is very strong (perhaps too strong). After a short while, the scent fades, and with it any positive effects it was having on the trade show exhibit’s visitors.

Instead, you will need to be strategic when incorporating scent into your trade show display. You need to select a mechanism (such as diffusers) that will deliver consistent aromas throughout your trade show booth display.

In addition, you will need to carefully consider the strength of your aroma. Achieving a scent that can be easily detected by booth visitors but that is not overwhelming or annoying to those outside the booth is ideal. Your aromas should be a pleasing background to everything your trade show display has to offer, not the main attraction of your booth.


Consider trade show regulations when using scent in your trade show display.

Finally, before you incorporate scent into your trade show display, consider the rules governing your booth. These are usually found in your exhibitor’s handbook.

One of the biggest rules that may impact your ability to incorporate scent into your trade show display regards food prep. If you hoped, for example, to create mouth-watering scents by cooking food in your booth, you need to make sure that strategy works with the rules at your venue. You may, for example, be prevented from serving that food to your booth visitors.

Regardless of how you plan to disseminate aromas throughout your trade show display, the key is to do so in ways that do not run afoul of your venue’s regulations.

Scent marketing can be a smart choice for a trade show display. The use of scents can create a powerful experience that will make it easier for visitors to enjoy and remember your brand. When doing this type of marketing, focus on choosing aromas that match your brand; consider developing custom aromas; incorporate scent strategically, and follow your venue’s rules.


If you need help effectively using scent marketing, do not hesitate to reach out to Imagecraft. We can create beautiful custom exhibits (and offer other exhibiting solutions) that include avenues for effective scent marketing, if you wish. And the right exhibit, combined with effective scent marketing, can help you to make the impression you need at your next event.