On the nose

How to get the sweet smell of content marketing success

Meet Olly. He�s only little, but he could soon become one of those next big things people get so excited about.

Olly is a robot who monitors social media conversations and, when a person or brand is mentioned, emits a waft of scent. It�s like a cross between existing social media-monitoring devices that display their findings on screen and the air fresheners you find in public bathrooms.

According to Olly�s inventor, Benjamin Redford, the idea is �to reward people in the physical world for their digital and social interactions�. Smell emerged as the sense to treat because a whiff of perfume can catch the attention without proving too distracting.

As Redford told the BBC: �We are gradually spending more and more time on screen and it�s good to have some other form of sensory stimulus rather than just video and audio.�

Which is where Olly (short for olfactory) comes in � providing a means of monitoring online interaction without having to rely on screens, notifications or other message streams.

A potential content marketing tool

At this stage, Olly is likely to appeal most to individuals, particularly as the design plans for it have been placed online under a creative commons licence, meaning �he� can be built by anyone. (Or, more accurately, anyone who knows enough about electronics, 3D printing and computer programming.)

But as with everything else to do with social media, where a handful of individuals lead, companies and brands inevitably end up following because they need to be where the individuals are.

So while it may be a stretch to imagine a Coca-Cola scent being emitted every nano-second the soft drink is mentioned on social media as a conversation-monitoring device, the fact that Olly is able to produce customised smells is already being utilised by savvy content marketers.

A US chef has reportedly �loaded his Olly with the essence of tortilla to monitor when his restaurants were being mentioned online.� Benjamin Redford also reports corporate interest, citing an unnamed company that has decided to manufacture lots of the robots to help with a marketing campaign due to launch later this year.


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