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Speaking the Language of Beauty

By: Kevin Marshall
Posted: June 1, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Regardless of whose name is on the bottle, one thing is clear: According to Virginia Lee, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International, companies feel that celebrity fragrances are a great way to reach younger consumers, and the market’s appetite for these types of products doesn’t appear to be abating. That’s excellent news for package designers and brand owners alike.

The Classics

At the opposite end of the “What’s New and Hot” spectrum are “The Classics.” Interestingly, classic fragrances and big, feminine florals are re-emerging as important consumer destinations. According to The Young Group, well-conceived, strong floral fragrances totaled just over 50% of the market in 2011, and a look at some of the top performing brands will underscore what a critical investment creative and engaging packaging and branding can be. Christian Dior’s J’Adore (and its various incarnations) continues to spellbind, and with that beautifully feminine bottle, those elegant Galianoesque metallic neck rings and smooth, jewel-like cap, it’s no surprise.

The legend and allure of Chanel continues to resonate, as both Coco Mademoiselle and the perennially iconic Chanel No. 5 were among top sellers in 2011. Both maintain momentum as they currently rank in the Top 20 on Givaudan iPerfumer’s “Top 20 Feminine Rated Fragrances (USA), January through March 2012” and Chanel’s Coco Mile’s popularity is quickly growing. It is no coincidence that beautifully designed packaging that consistently communicates a brand’s core messages (in this instance elegance, classicism and bold femininity) continues to captivate the market’s attention. Creative consistency and clarity counts. Naturally, it goes without saying that the scents within the bottles have much to do with a brand’s continued success, but without compelling packaging that speaks succinctly to the consumer, any brand’s chances of success (even an iconic brand like Chanel) diminish.

A few other classic fragrances with firm market traction are Estée Lauder’s Beautiful (whose simple and quietly feminine packaging still feels modern) and Thierry Mugler’s Angel.

Many years ago while walking the factory floor at a leading glass house, I happened upon the technicians painstakingly producing the Angel bottle. Sharp, dramatic and immediately recognizable, it’s no wonder the brand is still doing well today. It is proof positive that designing and manufacturing a bold and exciting statement commensurate with a brand’s positioning can pay off for years (and decades) to come. Taking risks has its rewards.