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The Sweet Smell of Your Brand’s Success

By: Abby Penning
Posted: January 19, 2011, from the January 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Of the various scent selections developed for the Beverly Hills line, Spilka says, “The different scents needed to be unique—more sophisticated, more playful, or more adventurous—and we would basically take those important descriptors and interpret them into a fragrance.”

Young also found visual language an important element in translating the colors of his Palette products to scent. “I felt it was vitally necessary for the packaging and fragrance to complement each other,” he says. “Our packaging uses a lot of white space, and then the given color palette is displayed on the front, so when a consumer is looking at the packaging, they are first immediately drawn to that combination of colors on the box, and then when they open the box, they can smell what they see.”

He continues, “Once they experience the fragrance, it clicks in their brain that the colors they saw on the front of the box matches the scent that is presented, and that’s really a unique component of this range.” To drive the point home for consumers, often just scent isn’t enough. The fragrance has to be fully considered and integrated into a brand’s development and marketing, even if scent isn’t the centerpiece of a product.

Marketing the Right Mix

Creating a strong brand/consumer or product/consumer connection is the eternal challenge, and while scent certainly assists in this, it’s also vital to keep the scent in mind as an integral part of the marketing mix. As Young says, “Consumers are always looking for something new and different,” and while scent can provide that, it does need to be touted as such in order for it to be brought to consumers’ attention.

Axe brand managers note that working with the marketing components of a fragranced product plan is the final stage of bringing said product to life, and it’s also an opportunity to tweak and fine-tune the positioning of a fine fragrance or scented product. “The marketing platform needs to support the efforts the scent is trying to achieve,” Spilka says. “There are always cultural and societal variations—take, for example, a clean scent for a household hard surface cleaner. To some, that might be citrusy, but to others, that might need to be antiseptic and disinfectant-smelling.