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Perfume is one luxury item that can change the way people feel. Whether it is more beautiful, confident or sexy, when a woman stands at the counter picking out a new perfume, she is definitely thinking about the scent that appeals to her. However, she is also thinking about its use—is it for every day or just special occasions? And what does it say about her?
Each fragrance option offers a choice about who the consumer wants to be and what she wants to convey about herself during those moments in time. There is a strong bond between a fragrance brand and the consumer, and brand owners must have an understanding of this connection so it is incorporated into all aspects of product development, marketing and packaging. Most importantly, the perfume must deliver on the brand promise when the consumer applies it to her skin. This moment of truth can be the making—or breaking—of perfume brands.
All the elements that go into a luxury fragrance product are meticulously selected, even down to the small details such as the perfume’s spray. But to explain the importance of the spray, it’s best to walk through the full product development and marketing mix: The quest for the perfect fragrance begins with sophisticated research and development to create a scent that has the potential to form an emotional connection with the consumer. Each perfume is developed with a specific demographic in mind, but also the experience it is hoping to emulate, whether that’s a special occasion such as a wedding or a guys’ night on the town.
From a marketing perspective, each fragrance is an opportunity to tell a story, which can be brought to life through print and TV advertisements, as well as social media engagement. Celebrities and models endorse and personify elements of the brand, delivering a visual promise of what consumers can expect from the perfume experience. And these channels and tactics foster touch points with the consumer, building on the emotional ties that exist between the consumer and brand. But another very important touch point in this evolution of a fragrance development is its packaging.
Packaging plays an important role in the fragrance experience, drawing consumers to certain shapes, sizes, colors and logos that appeal to them on the shelf. Above all, they expect packaging to feel luxurious, yet it must also be functional. Brand owners select enchanting designs and materials for bottles, caps and cartons to attract the consumer and evoke a desired emotional response. But often, brand owners miss an opportunity to form a stronger connection with consumers through the fragrance’s spray.
The spray comes into play when consumers actuate the sprayer and feel the fragrance applied to their skin. Through consumer research, MWV determined that when consumers are asked to focus on the perfume spray, they can easily differentiate and appreciate the different spray experiences, and they relate it back to the product, creating a memorable experience. Consumers noted that they use a fragrance based on their mood, whether it was with energizing and fresh fragrances to stimulate or a sweet fragrance to brighten a mood. Correspondingly, the spray is a powerful tool—after all, it is at the center of the consumer’s interaction with the product.
The spray itself provides an opportunity to reinforce the key tenets of the brand. For example, a fragrance that communicates "spring" through its scent, bottle shape and color should have a spray pattern to match. Does the spray envelope a woman in a soft, fine and powerful spray that evokes the springtime? Is the spray the beginning of a morning ritual or is it a finishing touch? By leveraging consumer insights and combining the right variety of technical capabilities, brand owners can drive differentiation through the spray experience.
In the past, brand owners saw the spray as purely functional. However, this new research reveals the spray has the potential to enhance all of the other marketing and branding tactics that go into telling the story of the fragrance, which will help close the deal and heighten the overall appeal of the product.
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