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A Sensory Journey: Fragrance in Branding

By: GCI Editors
Posted: May 23, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Enriquez: Adding a fragrance to a color cosmetic or hair care products can become a signature to the brand. Sure, the packaging may change, but if the product stayed the same with the same great fragrance everyone loved, it is perfect (to the consumer). On the flip side, if a product isn’t doing well, maybe that company should look at changing the fragrance in that product. This really makes sense for hair care products. The quantity of hair care products used daily is enormous. If the fragrance in the product is a quality fragrance that impacts its users, you will have customers for life.

Color cosmetics (also) is a very interesting topic because it hits the sense of vision; by adding fragrance to it, you would have a sensorial explosion of see and smell.

Allyn: Actually in the world of prestige personal care products, skin care is not typically a highly fragranced system. This often depends on whether the product is benefit-driven or meant to be a fragrance experience (ala Bath & Body Works). Experiential fragrance products can be 20 times that of the benefit-driven product. Hair care products are unique in that they often deliver both benefit and fragrance simultaneously. In this scenario, the fragrance must complement the action of the hair product. “Moisturizing” with “shea” versus “shine” with “citrus” oils will have very different odor profiles to support their marketing claims.

Silsby: For those companies who choose to add fragrance, the challenge is usually to mask the base odor of the formulation. It requires a balance between delicately covering and not adding too much fragrance in a product that will be applied to the face. For hair care, the challenge is to formulate for a nice fragrance lift in the shower, which requires beautiful top accords while also leaving behind a pleasing yet light scent in the hair.

For opportunities, color cosmetics could incorporate fragrance through a blend of natural essential oils that also provide skin care benefits.