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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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Braden: This is interesting as we’re starting to track some really unique trends in these spaces, and at the forefront is scented nail polish. Where this was typically a category known for an unappealing scent, there’s been a revolution. Industry innovators like Betsey Johnson are exploring nail polish fragrances that mimic eau de toilette, creating a line extension for existing fragrances. Other brands are adding more familiar scents such as fruits and florals.

Another trend we’re starting to see is matching scents to blush and eye shadow colors. For example, if there is a rose-colored blush, it’s scented “rose” to match the name and color. Fragrance adds an element of fun, playfulness and happiness to the product experience. With colors that are so similar to the scents, it’s an obvious match and a natural way to enhance the colors and products.

Q: What elements are important to consider in product fragrances? Packaging colors? Ingredients? A brand’s story?

Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing, Arylessence: Complete sensory connections are central in the success of a product. These cues include visual, aroma and tactile elements. Certainly the packaging message must connect to the position of the product through the packaging materials, the font style and the use of the right colors for the total product message is a top priority. The concept-color-fragrance connection must resonate with the consumer. If my packaging and claims are “blue” (like moisture benefits), does my product smell “blue?” Successful products make these full-circle sensory connections clear to consumers.

Wendy Diamond, vice president, marketing, consumer goods, Mane, USA: Packaging, color tones, callout ingredients and storytelling are all important elements to consider in creating a product. Once target demographics, channel of distribution, price points and a competitive review are established, leveraging a point of difference in product development may be established through a thought-out color story and strong graphic imagery unique to the brand. Additionally, branding may further make a connection through packaging textures, bottle shapes, sizes, labels and closures to help communicate the brand’s message. Key callout ingredients that add beauty benefits should further tie into positioning and support the packaging color and mood.

Silsby: Yes, yes and yes. Packaging colors, shape, size and patterns offer the first visual indication of what may be found within. With only a few seconds to make an impression, the goal is love at first sight. As for ingredients, Philosophy genuinely believes that what is in our jars and bottles must be efficacious, derived from quality ingredients and deliver a beautiful experience. Finally, having a unique story is key to building a lasting relationship in women’s lives.