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When It’s Ready, It’s Perfect: a New Fine Fragrance Market Reality

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor, Perfumer & Flavorist
Posted: August 3, 2011
Christine Dagousset (Chanel, Inc.) and Veronique Gabai-Pinsky (The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.)

Speakers Christine Dagousset (Chanel, Inc.) and Veronique Gabai-Pinsky (The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.).

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For Coco Mademoiselle, now in its 10th year on the market, Chanel has highlighted the scent’s quality and brand reliability, said Dagousset.

“In the case of Cashmere Mist [launched in 1994], it’s the juice that drives the brand,” said Gabai-Pinsky. The company has invested in regular sampling promotions to inspire new customers for this and other classics, in addition to introducing new deliveries around the juice.

Yet, even as classics continue to drive sales, the power of BRIC countries continues to expand the range of consumer fragrance tastes. Some brands have global appeal, while others will engage localized tastes, said Gabai-Pinsky. But no matter what, brand equity is crucial. The time when brands launched everything everywhere at the same time is done, Gabai-Pinsky continued. Things are no longer homogenized. Tastes in the East vary from the traditions in the West. And while some superpower brands can translate globally, some are bound to be less globally relevant. That’s where a strong portfolio of brands can bolster companies’ international and regional success.

Dagousset and Gabai-Pinsky went on to underscore the crucial role of the experience delivered around products. Declaring the typical US fragrance retail experience as “depressing,” Gabai-Pinsky noted that fragrance’s biggest battle is at retail. Citing Chanel Confidential, which offers glimpses of what happens “behind the brand,” Dagousset said that brands must embrace and accept the consequences of the social media conversation. The consumer relationship, she joked, is a dictatorship. Yet, the danger of losing the ability to seduce consumers makes such risk indispensible.

“We’ve got to go back to what makes us different,” Dagousset concluded. “Fragrances that are special—everybody loves that.”