Firmenich Utilizes ScentMove Tech for Fragrance Creation

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ScentMove utilizes fMRI scans of an individual’s brain activity while smelling different perfumes.

After discovering that consumer context is the key to establishing emotional benefits with fragrance, Firmenich developed ScentMove—an emotional model combining odor-emotion scales, consumer verbalization and implicit testing to track response to scent. 

ScentMove reveals patterns that correspond to different emotional profiles, based on not only fMRI scans, but also cultural background, life experiences and encountered smells. This allows Firmenich researchers to establish the link between emotion and context.

The company’s proprietary emotion evaluation model showcases nine emotional dimensions across 25 commonly used terms, far beyond simply pleasant feelings. ScentMove reveals patterns that correspond to different emotional profiles. However, to develop relevant solutions, Firmenich also takes into account the effects of learning and memory. Cultural background, life experiences and encountered smells shape emotions, as our brain adapts to changing environments.

Firmenich invests on average 10% of its annual turnover in R&D. After years of research validated by peer-reviewed publications, Firmenich has proven that its three-tiered approach, based on odor-emotion scales, consumer verbalization and implicit testing, delivers unique scents with stronger emotional benefits for consumers.

“To drive emotion through scent, one solution does not fit all. For example, the smell of durian fruit recalls energy and wellbeing in China, but triggers dislike in the US,” said Ilaria Resta, president, global perfumery. “By applying our proprietary scientific and consumer research, we can help customers create stronger emotional impact, with contextualized solutions that reflect country and category preferences.”

“Seventy percent of consumers’ daily decisions are based on emotions(*),” explained Dr. Christelle Porcherot, corporate research and development principal scientist. “Scents trigger strong emotions; however, the link between a scent and an emotion depends on the individual’s experiences in life and the context in which a person smells the scent.”

“The emotional response can partly be tracked by physiological measurements and brain recordings such as fMRI scans; but ultimately, only verbalization about the experienced feelings provide a true understanding of the quality of the emotions elicited by fragrance,” said Dr. Christian Margot, distinguished scientist and director, corporate research & development. “This enables us to establish the link between emotion and context."

(*) Gallup, June 2020.

Updated 2/19/21 to reflect nuances of ScentMove technology usage.

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