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Your Church Smells

September 25, 2008 by

Endorphin branding. Does your church do it? Maybe I should tell you what it is first.

Per Newsweek (reporting a P.R. e-mail), endorphin branding is “the use of scent as a means of imprinting a highly emotional, positive experience in tandem with a targeted signature scent, which can be reintroduced at a later time to trigger and recreate the desired response.”

Every now and then, a completely random smell will draw me in to some inexplicable happiness from my past. So here’s the question to ask yourself, “Does my church have a smell? Or does my church stink so bad that its smell wouldn’t trigger happy memories?”

Maybe putting a church scent in your style guide is the next step in church branding.

Post By:

Joshua Cody


Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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9 Responses to “Your Church Smells”

  • Steve K.
    September 25, 2008

    Scent suggestion for fundamentalist churches: Hell-fire and brimstone.
    Sorry, couldn’t resist.
    I actually think this whole idea stinks.
    OK sorry again ;-)


  • Josh Hatcher
    September 25, 2008

    old churches USUALLY smell like urine… especially in the basement near the boys bathroom…
    what’s worse is its OLD urine… like maybe somebody’s grandpa’s left over from when he was a boy.


  • Chris Askew
    September 25, 2008

    My church smells like NEW urine…JK


  • Steve
    September 26, 2008

    Maybe we could have the Smelly Church Conference?
    Then we could release a book called ‘smelly church’ close the toilet door.
    The Author of Smelly Church said “we’ve become so focused on reaching people that we’ve forgotten the importance of keeping people. To keep people means keeping the toilet door shut.”
    “Churches need to be smellier” and “smellier churches are healthier churches.” (my favourite)
    May the lessons in Smelly Church help your church become more smelly and less stinky.


  • Geoff in CT
    September 26, 2008

    Incense anybody?


  • Wayne
    September 26, 2008

    I agree that scent/aroma is a powerful trigger for pleasant memories. But also be aware that some folks have a problem with strong smells, such as those with COPD and those with other breathing problems, those on oxygen or those with allergies. While the church should not smell like urine or worse, strong, artificial smells, no matter how flowery or perfuny, are just as problematic, IMHO.


  • kyle
    September 26, 2008

    Smell is powerful. I will tell you Pilot (the truckstop gas stations) seem much more homey, oasis-like, cleaner AND more restful.. all because of the Subway franchises… Their gas stations smell like warm bread. It’s so great to wander into one at like 2 am after being on the road for a while. That scent creates a feeling of peace and safety- that’s one application I think is awesome. I’m not sure if churches should start baking their own communion bread or what but it could be awesome.. Mmm honey oat communion bread…..


  • Jeremy Sexton
    September 26, 2008

    There’s a point where church “marketing” goes too far.
    This may not be it, but it’s definitely on the far side of it.


  • scott b
    October 2, 2008

    When churches reach a certain size, they purchase a carpet extractor (shampooer). However, they don’t usually bother training anyone how and how often to use it and therefore the rotten, wet, gray, business park carpet smell with a twinge of mildew that permeates the churches I have attended and worked at.
    Bring in the Subway franchises!



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