Online Exclusive Content from the Fragrance Panel

More from the panel on fragrance's place in branding and scent as an element of brand story in this online exclusive content.

Q: What can a fragrance do to help convey branding for a beauty product?

Miller Burns: Think about the famous scents of Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo, Jergen’s original body lotion, Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, Irish Spring soap or Old Spice aftershave—the fragrances in these products established a strong emotional connection between the brand and its users. There is no denying fragrance becomes the key sensory identifier for a beauty product. Not only is fragrance an identifier, but the beauty product fragrance is connecting to the most powerful emotional sense in all of us—our sense of smell. Apart from product performance, which is paramount for beauty products, the “right” fragrance is instrumental in the success of a product. The fragrance plays the roles of performance enhancer and emotional unifier.

Another critical point to consider for beauty products promoting specific skin benefits and performance claims is making certain the fragrance supports the specific benefit/performance claim. For example, if your body wash label copy conveys “invigorating” benefits, your fragrance must connect. Energizing citrus notes and citrus mint combinations are the perfect sensory partners for these claims. If you are offering skin-soothing and comforting claims in a facial care product, the aroma of the product must support the message—think very soft notes of rose, iris, chamomile, powder or gentle musk. If the benefits focus on moisture and hydration, communicate this message with watery notes of cucumber, aloe, melon, dewy florals and aquatic associations.

The key sensory cue of aroma helps signal the user that the product is working, while establishing emotional bonds with the consumer.

Enriquez: Fragrance can help branding by giving each product a signature fragrance, but be careful. The same fragrance cannot go in all bases, but if you identified one or two that are similar in each of your product lines, you could create a signature fragrance throughout, so when a consumer smelled those notes the first thing they think of is your product.

Diamond: Depending on the brand’s positioning, a carefully crafted fragrance helps tell the story and communicate a brand message while making it experiential for the consumer. Fragrance naturally ties in with emotion and memory and is a key element for personal care products, whether it is natural or luxurious, sexy and sensual, familiar or unique.

Silsby: Fragrance is a beautiful calling card. For instance, when a woman wears a signature Philosophy scent like Amazing Grace or Falling in Love and hears, “You smell so good,” she associates that compliment with our brand. In turn, she shares that experience and fragrance recommendation with others, personally expanding her love of our brand to her circle of influence.

Q: How can fragrance help tell a brand’s story?

Miller Burns: Once a fragrance is established as one of the personality traits of a brand or a product, consumers will emotionally connect to this fragrance and the product. As the emotional connections with the product deepens, the fragrance is now associated with the positive experience of using the product. From this point, the brand can establish the product’s fragrance as its signature fragrance. As line extensions are created for a product, elements of this original signature fragrance should be incorporated in order to make more connections with the product users. The fragrance is a critical piece of the brand story.

Enriquez: A fragrance can tell a story through a sense of smell.

Diamond: The origin of certain ingredients from different parts of the world or a perfumer’s inspiration in creating a fragrance are both simple and lovely ways to tell a brand’s story. They can easily engage the consumer, allowing them to feel that they are now part of a fragrance experience and able to connect to the brand.

Silsby: Fragrance has many layers, many moods. The way it reveals itself in a sensory journey is absolutely indicative of inspirational people and memorable moments in a brand’s evolution. For example, Philosophy’s State of Grace fragrance collection includes clean, approachable scents that mark the milestones in the exquisitely colorful and engaging life of our founder, Cristina Carlino.

Braden: Tru Fragrance helps our retail partners tell their brand story through custom-created fragrance. For brands that already have a strong clothing or retail presence, fragrance is an opportunity to expand upon the brand story and product portfolio they are consistently sharing with their customers. To consumers who are already familiar with and loyal to a brand, fragrance is the ultimate finish or add-on. It is also the perfect introduction for those who may not yet know a brand. As the popularity of accessories continues to grow in both specialty and larger retail stores, Tru works with our retail partners to help them offer consumers the ultimate accessory, fragrance, as a continuation of the brand story they know and love.

An example, we are working with Francesca’s Collections to launch their first two branded fragrances, Signature and Indigo Waters. Francesca’s provides a unique shopping experience—each boutique is distinctive, offering shoppers fashionable and desirable items they can’t find anywhere else. Available only in Francesca’s stores, fragrance becomes a part of that experience, allowing consumers to live the Francesca’s lifestyle beyond the boutique.