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Smells like branding

Once you have an emotional memory tied to smell, they’re married together for the rest of your life. Scents trigger more intense and subconscious memories than other sensory cues, stimulating the brain’s limbic system linked to emotions. This means that as soon as you smell it, you’re going to feel the way you felt when you first encountered that scent.

France’s post office, La Poste, smartly tapped into this concept recently. They created stamps that contain an encapsulated scent in their ink and smells like baguettes when scratched. The stamps celebrate the baguette as “the bread of our daily life, a symbol of our gastronomy, the jewel of French culture,” La Poste said.

Smell is tailored to memory. So the same smell can evoke different reactions in people depending on what the smell is connected to. Smell is culturally influenced. Knowing that many people enjoy the smell of bread and have fond memories attached to it, it is smart to evoke these feelings of pride among the French through the smell of their national pride; the baguette. The use of smell is a (under-utilized, but is) potential goldmine for brands. Take a look at how other brands use it for example to help you grieve: or to enhance your whisky experience: or use smell to bring back those sweet memories that remind you of your clubbing in Amsterdam.

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Kim Pillen

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Kim Pillen


Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips,, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff


Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.


Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist