CORPORATE & STRATEGY

Yes – no – actually, yes.

This 3D image from the Science Photo Library, based on a magnetic resonance imaging scan, shows the limbic system (colored in the center), the reward center (small circle), and the insula (large circle), where pain is processed in the human brain. The image also shows the optic nerve and the olfactory tract. When a consumer buys a product, the reward center and the pain center compete. When the product is presented in an attractive way: Reward – buy! When you see the price: Pain – don’t buy! Or: It doesn’t matter, ignore the pain – buy! That’s why experts believe that consumers buy feelings, not products. And feelings play a huge role when it comes to smells. The nose is the only sensory organ that conducts its stimuli directly into the brain. One of these lines of communication leads to the center of emotions – the limbic system. Depending on the smell, the limbic system immediately creates feelings such as joy, fear, disgust or pleasure. It all happens involuntarily. People have no influence on the effect of scents. But they can influence purchasing decisions.

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