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Selling and Marketing Scents

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: May 4, 2007
On April 12, The Fragrance Foundation presented a panel discussion at New York’s Museum of Television and Radio. Selling Scents II: Non-traditional Ways to Sell and Market Fragrancewas the second in a series addressing the innovative ways fragrance is tied to consumer emotions via an assortment of mediums—from TV and magazines to viral communication, the blogs and all manner of interactive media. Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation, introduced panelists Chandler Burr, perfume critic, The New York Times; Marc Gobe, cofounder, chairman and CEO of Desgrippes Gobe and author of BrandJam; Liz Heller, founder and CEO, Buzztone; Joseph Jaffe, president and founder of jaffe LLC and author of Life After The 30-Second Spot; and Joesph Plummer, chief research officer, Advertising Research Foundation. Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys Inc., moderated the panel.

Heller noted the value of Web-enabled experience as an evocative means to connect with lifestyle, while Gobe discussed the emotional elements that engage a consumer with a product or idea. As an example of emotional engagement with scent, he cited a recent trip to Zagreb where he encountered the idea of selling fresh eggs with the scents of a farm integrated into the packaging. Plummer discussed how marketers must understand how people spend their time. This is critical when targeting products, and Plummer cited contextual marketing, where meanings differ depending upon the context in which they are delivered.

While celebrity scents and the growing popularity of naturals were discussed, it appeared that the language and vocabulary of fragrance, as well as the stories surrounding the perfumers themselves, emerged as areas of interest in fragrance marketing—from Gobe’s “sensorial mixes of languages” as a way to expand one’s vision, to Plummer’s broader definition of language beyond words to encompass visuals, sounds, smells and tastes. In addition, Heller emphasized authenticity and passionate connectivity to customers, and Jaffe offered insight into how a brand fits into a consumer’s life. The idea of co-creativity, posited by Plummer, emerged as an encompassing way to deliver and trigger emotion, so integral to the fragrance experience.