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GCI Reports From HBA

GCI continued to expand its presence at HBA, hosting the second Fragrance Business Conference and marking the launch of its redesigned website.

By: Jeff Falk and Leslie Benson
Posted: September 8, 2008

Update Sept. 12, 10:30am EST

After a welcoming speech by Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation, regarding “What is Right About the Fragrance Industry” on Wednesday, September 10, at HBA in New York City, GCI magazine’s group editor in chief, Karen Newman, announced the 2008 Fragrance Business award winners.

Update Sept. 11, 1pm EST

This morning, Rick Ruffolo, senior vice president, marketing and innovation, Yankee Candle Company, kicked off the final day of GCI magazine and HBA Global Expo’s second annual Fragrance Business Conference. His presentation, “Scentmosphere: Transforming Your Environment through Fragrance” touched upon similar themes that would be further discussed later in the day, regarding the importance of scent branding.

Having worked in the flavors and fragrance industry for the last 20 years, Ruffolo has led teams at Bath & Body Works, Procter & Gamble and SC Johnson (where he marketed the popular Glade candle brand). In 2005, he joined Yankee Candle and has since worked toward exploring and fulfilling four key areas of olfactive sensory perception. According to Ruffolo, the sense of smell helps with the preservation of the species, the sense of taste, memory and lastly, with emotion, mood and well-being. “Every person has a unique olfactive scent,” Ruffolo said. “No two people smell the same way.”

With that said, Ruffolo discussed each key topic specifically, addressing pheromones and the insight noses give us about the environment. “Another factoid I’ve learned,” he said, “is that on average, a woman’s nose has a keener sense of smell than a man’s.” So, he continued, “authenticity is key to pleasing discriminating consumers.” Brands must combine color, texture, product names and marketing to an appropriate smell.

Next, Ruffolo discussed the scientific research behind using fragrance to possibly treat amnesia, coma and Alzheimer’s patients. “Research shows memory and the sense of smell are linked in the brain,” he said. He suggested brands link specific fragrances with special events in people’s lives as well, such as a summer holiday with Sun and Sand (one of Yankee Candle’s new fragranced product lines), or Midnight Jasmine with a wedding.

Scentmosphere, Yankee Candle’s trademarked term for the phenomenon of using scent to create a mood, “is the sweet spot for the industry,” according to Ruffolo. This theme was later uncovered more in depth in a speech by Sue Phillips, president of Scenterprises Ltd. With so many beauty brands relying on emotion for a lasting brand image, Ruffolo also suggested the use of fragrance to evoke such connection, whether in a product’s brand marketing, packaging strategy or retail environment. Yankee Candle, for instance, is creating new candle designs, delivery systems and decorative home fragrances (such as reed diffusers) to establish such future connections with younger customers.