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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.

page 6 of 9

Diamond: Leveraging a fragrance across multiple SKUs is a decision that changes from brand to brand. It may depend on whether a product is a leave-on or a rinse-off product, (and factors such as) whether it contains certain benefits such as energizing or moisturizing, which can be communicated through the type and level of fragrance.

Silsby: When using a fragrance for different SKUs, sometimes it may remain unchanged and perform within established standards. On other occasions, it must be modified. For instance, shower gel fragrances may need to be adjusted to help with solubility, lift or to rebalance the scent to match the fragrance experience of its corresponding eau de toilette. For lotions, it may be necessary to make a modification if ingredients interfere with the olfactory profile, are needed to offset a base odor or must be enhanced for longevity on the skin.

Braden: A brand fragrance typically starts with a core eau de parfum and can be adjusted by the amount of oil that is added, which is what dictates the strength of the fragrance. Ingredients differ based on the functions you are trying to achieve with each SKU. Over the past 8–10 years, there has been an increase in “flanker” fragrances, where key elements and notes of a fragrance are taken with a slightly different formula to create a seasonal or limited edition version of a fragrance. Typically, these are short-lived, but sometimes can do just as well or better than the original fragrance. One of the biggest examples of success in the space is Coco Mademoiselle, which was a flanker of Coco Chanel. Coco Mademoiselle featured key notes of the original fragrance, but was targeted to younger users. There are also opportunities to expand into additional products, including candles, body lotions and creams, and so on.

Q: Can a “good” fragrance be defined for a specific product type? Does, for example, the fragrance used in a body care product work for a hair care product? Even if they are the same brand, are there different nuances that consumers expect in one over the other?

Harper: A fragrance used in a body care product may be a great fragrance fit for hair care as well. We see examples of this throughout fine fragrance with the ancillary products containing the same scent or a modified version of the scent designed for optimum performance in each specific product. The odor profile of the original fragrance may be tweaked or rebalanced for each product, as well.

For instance, a fragrance modified for shampoo may be rebalanced with increased fresh floral nuances to support the action of shampooing and the perception of cleaning. The fragrance modified for conditioner may need more top notes or possibly more complexity in the base to counteract any unpleasant-smelling ingredients in the product formula. Additionally, a subtle shading of velvety musks could be incorporated to support and enhance the conditioning experience.