Perfume making is an art. But the skillset has two sides to it; the magic of the nose and the strength of science. But ‘scent’ implies so much more. It is hot! Our sense of smell tells us if you like someone, something, someplace, it even tells you that you have found your mating partner with a solid gene pool.
Today synthetic biology companies are trying to extract perfumes from extinct flowers and trees. As smell is a transporter of our memories, we wonder… would we have any memories popping up wearing ‘Eau de Prehistoire’? And if we can deduct smells from the past, could we try to synthesize ‘tomorrows smell’ ?
We can imagine the smell of tomorrow being light, non-tangible and neutral, but also one based on past experiences and what-ifs. The smell of the future might scare us, causing a ‘flight’ reaction as it reminds us of change, and change is uncomfortable- but something of optimism and progression.
Smell as an Icon
Smell and perfume has been around for several millennia and remains iconic and an influencer today. In this century, the likes of Coco Chanel commissioned Ernest Beaux to create a perfume for the House of Chanel. Originally, as a gift to clients of Chanel, but the popularity of the perfume prompted the House of Chanel to offer it for retail sale in 1922. 95 years later, a bottle sells every 55seconds around the world.
The Mirage Casino started to use casino floor aromas in 1992, movie theatres smell like popcorn, some stores seduce their customers with pumped fragrances, and the cleaning lady knows the jazz of a clean smell.
Smell is a wonderful Venetian masquerade; we never know what is hiding underneath it.
Roja Dove once famously said, “I can’t go on the Tube, because its horrible for me, like listening to 10,000 pieces of music at one time”. Dove, and his extrasensory ‘nose’ have helped catapult fragrance to a new heightened awareness and meaning.
As an example, a client recently described the fragrance he wore for his wedding day and why, we were fascinated that this was selected with as much care and attention as all the other details of the big day- and viewed as a lasting memory and something that would retain association with the monumental occasion.
If we agree that the senses, particularly smell, is so evocative in creating ‘context’, why is it not used more? We believe it should be. All the senses actually, should be considered when designing a retail environment- to humanize it- we live in a digital world and we become closer to subconsciously ‘being digital’, so the retail experience needs to be ‘extraordinary’, and the senses including smell, plays a vital role in providing context- in the form of mood, memory and association.
And this doesn’t need to be limited to the physical store. Hush (online womenswear brand) sprays a scent on the packaging of every product before sending it out to their customers- although an online purchase, this brand considers the moment of receiving and opening the purchase- and sees the importance of smell, and have developed an emotive ‘scent association’ with their brand.
The divergent nature of modern retailing demands holistic and omnichannel thinking to create true brand equity.
The process of buying shouldn’t be navigated like a surgical operation. Efficiency and speed do have merit, and limited or recommendations of choice prevails online, but the divergent nature of modern retailing demands holistic and omnichannel thinking to create true brand equity.
Smelling like roses
Worth approximately £32.8 billion, the global fragrance market is predicted to grow to £35.1 billion by 2020.
What scent is your brand?
And today, on National Fragrance Day, its worth pausing and thinking not just about the fragrance on your skin or that’s enveloping your room, but what scent is your brand?
Get in touch with us…about your brand.