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Product Attraction in Fine Fragrance
By: Sheherazade Chamlou
Posted: November 25, 2013, from the December 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.
- As shelves become ever more crowded, packaging has to create an emotional connection to attract consumers—and this may be even more true with prestige products such as fine fragrance, which carry a higher price point.
- Knowing what packaging trends are hot in the beauty industry is important, but you also must know how to make them work to fit the message and image of your brand.
- A beautiful product that consumers won’t easily forget is the outcome when packaging, branding, message and product story all come seamlessly together.
As fine fragrances compete for position, new ingredients, innovative packaging and applications, attractive celebrity figures, technology and education are key drivers that brands capitalize on to engage consumers and capture attention. Today’s fragrance consumers have to be wowed into trying something new. They want craftsmanship and brand experience, not just a product. So how can brands create innovative designs that break through the clutter, add value and catch consumers’ attention?
The Role of Packaging
In the fine fragrance sector, packaging plays a key role in the brand experience, as often it is the first contact a consumer has with a brand. It can, therefore, significantly influence purchase decisions. With so many fragrances on the shelf, consumers are always looking for something new and different. To create a more meaningful consumer experience, the product and packaging should go beyond expectations and give the consumer a meaningful experience, which is critical in creating a lasting impression.
While its primary function is to store and protect, fine fragrance packaging continues to play an increasingly prominent role in creating a unique and lasting consumer experience, as well as influencing buying behavior. Packaging communicates a product’s personality, and its power in shaping a brand has proven priceless. A product’s package embodies most of the key elements in the marketing mix—brand name, brand image, brand position, concept and, of course, design. The brand image is transferred to the product and subsequently the brand personality. Attractive packaging accentuates brand personality and stimulates consumers’ emotions, which initiates an emotional connection.
In order to help fragrance brands better respond to trends in the marketplace and create innovative fine fragrance bottles that are memorable and recognizable, SGD has been conducting a trends presentation for the past 10 years. The SGD trends presentation is a marketing exercise that is prepared through a collaboration between SGD’s R&D teams and a trends agency. SGD’s marketing team in France translates the trends into new decorative concepts and designs sample bottles highlighting SGD’s know-how and expertise in decoration using innovative inks, different textures and multiple decoration processes.
The objective of this presentation is twofold:
- First, to suggest mood boards for future trends with a global approach to the beauty market;
- Second, to present SGD’s interpretation of these trends by illustrating a plethora of decoration techniques (such as masking, silk screening, spraying, pad-printing and proprietary finishes) to help brands stay on trend and differentiate their products using new techniques.
Attraction in Action
“Fragrances characterize the emotions that a brand wants to express,” says Robin Mason, senior vice president of global marketing at Elizabeth Arden. “All the elements must work together, starting with an olfactive point of view that gets housed in a package conveying the concept. The packaging—and most specifically, the bottle—provides a visual and tactile experience that is germane to a consumer’s entire experience with the product. Our bottles tell the story of the celebrity or fashion house from which they are created, and they disclose small secrets understood by the consumer who is a fan of that celebrity or fashion brand. When all of the pieces of the experience provide the consumer with an emotional ‘wow,’ we all win.”
There are many value-added features that can make fragrance packaging stand out, but one of the most effective is telling a story. The latest signature fragrance launch from Elizabeth Arden, Untold, was inspired by the mystery behind the modern woman, created to celebrate her individuality and, most importantly, her untold story. This new fragrance emerges after a decade-plus without a house brand named fragrance from Elizabeth Arden. Because so much time had passed without the launch of a pillar scent, the package design for Untold was critical.
Lately in the prestige fragrance segment, the popular glass packaging trends in the market are clean looks with symmetrical glass distribution, which give a luxurious feel to the product in a classy and straightforward style. Untold meets the prerequisites of this latest trend and celebrates femininity in a classic approach similar to Elizabeth Arden’s previous brand name fragrances.
The banded, faceted Untold glass bottle produced by SGD North America for Elizabeth Arden is unique in its simplicity. The design is striking due to its subtle curvature, allowing it to take on a different appearance at every angle. There are facets on the front and back of the bottle that play off each other to give the bottle a diamond-cut effect. Finally, the bottle is encompassed with a metal band, adding another eye-catching element to the package design. The marriage between the glass and the metallic shine embellishes the elegance that the Untold fragrance is glorifying.
Cheryl Mendelson, senior design director at Elizabeth Arden, explains, “It was important that the bottle design for Untold encompassed the personality of the Untold brand—modern, sophisticated, luxurious, sensual and feminine.”
Describing the package design process, Mendelson says, “I started with a pure, modern, round shape from the front view, and as you turn the bottle, more of the details are revealed. A subtle twist and feminine curves represent the grace and sensuality of a woman [and] contrast the shiny metal band, which represents her strength. The facets on the front and back of the bottle, reminiscent of a crystal, tell the story of the multifaceted woman. And the heavy-weighted, crystal clear glass emphasizes the luxe feel to the bottle.”
And although the goal of creating a beautiful, simple package for this scent was successfully achieved, the development process was exceptionally complex. The perfect glass distribution proved to be a challenge due to the twisting effect the bottle boasts. In order to create the crosshatched diamond look, the front and the back of the bottle were both utilized.
In the end, the Untold fragrance bottle is one that is both visually pleasing and where the design entirely represents the contemporary multifaceted woman and punctuates her story. And according to Amy Fisher, vice president, North America regional marketing, Elizabeth Arden, “Untold has been getting a great response in the marketplace. It’s being talked about in the media, retailers are really supportive and early sales numbers have been positive, showing good consumer interest.”
Fragrance is not a basic human need, and consequently it must trigger an emotional reaction and incite desire. Fragrances dress for success in many ways, and exciting, innovative packaging can help create a brand memory by telling a story and engaging the senses.
For the past 20 years, Sheherazade Chamlou has been part of the international sales team at SGD, a world leader in specialty glass packaging. She is currently vice president of sales and marketing at SGD North America in New York. In her current position, in addition to marketing, she has sales responsibility for all accounts in North America.