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Scent Sleuth: From Profile to Perfume

By: Nancy C. Hayden
Posted: August 7, 2007, from the August 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

The launches will soon begin for the Christmas buying season, with the fragrance counters already on overload. So what can a creative marketer conjure up to catch the consumer’s eye, or shall we say nose?

Marketers dream of a fragrance launch that involves a name with cachet, such as a celebrity tie-in, a unique, eye-catching bottle and knockout packaging. But what thoughts does the perfumer have when he reads the profile, when his imagination goes wild with new captive notes he wishes to incorporate, when the profile itself inspires the spectral adjectives of illusion?

In the beginning stages of the concept, once a personality has been signed up, an appropriately mysterious name selected, and something catchy or trendy conjured to register in the consumer’s mind—what new bases or aromatics can snag a memory vein in a target consumer?

Transporting the Consumer

Our sense of smell transports us to another place. It triggers our memory bank to recall something pleasant or unpleasant we have experienced. The olfactory nerves enjoy close proximity to the brain as neighbors to memory nerves and the limbic system, creating a symbiotic relationship.

Many scents have a common pleasurable experience, but there are also those that send mixed signals, causing differentiation in the reaction from one person to another. For instance, a beautiful natural rose scent can give one person a sensual, pleasurable experience and yet, for another, conjure up an unhappy memory.