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Rethinking Fragrance in Product Development

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor, Perfumer & Flavorist magazine
Posted: January 25, 2010

Originally published on Perfumer & Flavorist magazine's Web site.

A Holistic System

Unfortunately, some consumer goods companies think of fragrance only toward the end of the product development process—despite the fact that fragrance is an indispensable factor in both initial product purchase and eventual repurchase. Facing this common hurdle, Arylessence began creating its own in-depth fragrance development planning program several years ago. The company’s director of marketing, Lori Miller Burns, explains that it is crucial to orient clients to look at fragrance as part of the overall product development process—particularly as everyone is facing time constraints. The result, she says, is that the fragrance house is able to help in creating successful products for the marketplace, effectively becoming a consultative partner.

Arylessence’s program follows 12 steps:

  1. Define brand positioning
  2. Review the competitive landscape
  3. Analyze your fragrances and those of your competitors
  4. Describe target consumer
  5. Establish color direction
  6. Develop packaging concepts
  7. Rethink resources
  8. Develop fragrance plan
  9. Review creativity and fragrance fit
  10. Test your winners
  11. Move forward fast
  12. Complete the loop (post-launch)

“Historically, in this industry, we were focused on communicating trends,” says Cynthia Reichard, executive vice president of client services. “We saw many customers produce products that wouldn’t necessarily connect with the target audience or establish a creative point of difference in the marketplace.” In launching a fragrance planning program, she says, the company seeks to “ensure a complete thought process regarding fragrance.”

Arylessence’s internal program looks at clients’ positioning, brand, competitive landscape, point of difference in the marketplace and how fragrance will elevate these aspects to better connect with consumers at the point of purchase.