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Guest Column: The New Scent of Clean

By: Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing, Arylessence
Posted: July 22, 2011

Fragrance drives consumer purchasing decisions. This fact becomes stunningly clear when shopping the aisles of a favorite grocer, superstore, drugstore or home improvement retail chain. Consumer packaged goods companies are not only tapping into the powerful connection fragrance has with consumers, but they are doing it in more exciting, more diverse, and more imaginative ways. And no wonder—fragrance is a key consumer connection that drives market share.

Almost every category in consumer packed goods today is touched by fragrance, in addition to product performance. In line with product strategies, fragrances are designed to support and enhance performance messages. Body lotions and creams must meet standards for authenticity, naturalness, innovative technology, and increasingly, sustainability—and, of course, fragrances are expected to add new dimensions for sensory pleasure. Soaps, shampoos and shower gels—literally, the start of each new day or exciting evening—must also cross sensory thresholds that never have been higher.

Of course, consumer brands such as Dove, Nivea and Olay have always struck a distinctly harmonious note, combining science, performance and fragrance in a synergistic way. But brand owners like Unilever, Beiersdorf and Procter & Gamble aren’t just focused on the alignment of product performance, consumer satisfaction and the coalescing power of fragrance in personal care.

These innovators know consumer expectations for the fragrances of household cleaners and other specialty products are equally high, if not astronomical. Fragrance today helps define the choices in consumer specialty product categories as varied as automotive, air care, laundry and household cleansers.

Fragrance Training

The truth is, consumers have been trained to seek out the fragrances they love. As a result, people's passion for how products smell—and how they feel about particular scents and accords—has reshaped the consumer landscape. As marketers respond to desires for fragrance in virtually every product that has a sensory aspect, they have trained consumers to expect new fragrances virtually every time someone shops.