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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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These are elements you have to observe and respect when launching a new product in different locations.” Overstreet also acknowledges the difficulty in creating a universally hailed scent, bringing in the need for a focused marketing effort. “There are certainly demographic, geographic, environmental and cultural variables,” he says. “Different people have different expectations from beauty products, as well as preferences for what particular products should smell like.”

Keeping the overall product consistent while also incorporating its unique elements as a selling point is something Spilka has experienced with previous fragrance product launches. He mentions a note of sweet rolls used in a Jennifer Lopez fragrance that recalled a bakery Lopez grew up frequenting in the Bronx, as well as a special type of white grape note scent captured for Usher’s original fragrance, chosen because it grew near the pop star’s home base of Atlanta. “It’s something personal to them, and it gives the product real associations,” Spilka says. It also gives the scent a story to tell outside of its olfactory notes.

“Ideas that mimic and successfully convey the correct brand strategy have to continue to be pushed, beyond just an aesthetic appeal or an olfactory appeal,” Spilka emphasizes. “You need to think about everything in the mix.”

Staying Fresh

Once you find that perfect scent for your brand and product, and create a successful marketing campaign with that scent as an element, it can be easy to become complacent and rely on the same scent continually. However, a product doesn’t have to have just one fragrance variation in order for scent to be used as a branding tool. Axe successfully launches new scent variants for its products each year while still being well-known for the fragrance component of its products.

This is because fragrance, and its interpretation and its position in the market, is constantly evolving. Consumers want to try new things, and brand owners have to be ready to move with them or risk losing them. A range of variables convince a consumer to pick up a product, and, if done right, scent can be a vital element to encourage that transaction. “Fragrance can definitely be a key variable in product adoption,” says Overstreet. “With more and more products available all the time, the packaging and perfume of a product are more important than ever in the point-of-sale dynamic.”