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Fragrance Connection Through Online Interaction

By: Isaac Lekach
Posted: June 1, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

Not long ago, at dinner with an advertising executive, I ordered a Hendricks martini. “Why Hendricks as opposed to Tanqueray?” my dinner companion inquired, and I didn’t have an answer for her—at least not a definitive one. I’ve never held a taste test. I can’t recall their respective ad campaigns. James Bond never made the stipulation in Casino Royale. My preferred Hendricks gin does remind me of a waitress I know who shares its name (her surname is Hendricks), and I can’t drink it without thinking of her. (Also possibly a factor—I can’t hear the word Tanqueray without recalling the rant of an opinionated bartender who dismissed it, saying, “I stopped drinking Tanqueray in college.”) Either way, my preference for Hendricks is not up for debate.

Whether justifiable or not, this kind of thinking is, at its core, brand loyalty. And though dubious, this is what drives the vast majority of consumers. Beauty and fragrance brand owners know the importance of this driver, but how is it established in products and brands?

My boutique fragrance outfit develops, markets and distributes perfume products for brands, often including celebrity brands, and it works to take care in doing so. What’s inspiring to us is to make a product that we can be proud of, to do something that’s never been done before and that speaks to the charm of the brand—and the celebrity.

Our aim is to make the product appealing to the brand’s disciples, as well as the passing shopper who might have never heard of the brand before. If this is the case, at best, the product will transcend the celebrity’s own staying power and continue to sell well for years (such is the case of the ever-popular White Diamonds fragrance from Elizabeth Taylor.) At worst, well, to quote Steve Jobs, “The journey is the reward.”

Building the Base

Recently, I had the pleasure to work with the singer and actress Selena Gomez on her first fragrance launch. At one of our early meetings, I asked her what inspires her. “My fans,” she answered. While this might strike some as a stock answer, the truth is it’s anything but. With more than 10 million followers on Twitter, Gomez is in constant communication with her fans. She tweets updates and musings, uploads photos and responds to her followers as often as she can. And they, in turn, continue to admire her and follow her. To them, she is a role model; to her, they are the fuel that keeps her engine running. This was my biggest takeaway from the meeting, and it screamed of opportunity.