Scent is complex. It’s invisible, dynamic and multi-faceted–and there are far fewer words in our vernacular to describe it in comparison to the other senses. In essence, this complicated sense is elusive, making its appeal ever more intriguing to consumers in our highly saturated fragrance market. Scent has always been this way; however, the difference between our mothers’ and grandmothers’ fragrance collections (and quite frankly, even the products from five to ten years ago) and our current market, is that the new options grabbing our attention on shelves and online are telling the most multi-dimensional stories.
Today’s up-and-coming fragrance brands, most notably within the direct-to-consumer space, elevate the sense of smell, injecting their concepts with multi-sensorial cues that provoke emotional and meaningful resonance within the consumer. These stories can conjure vivid imagery or evoke powerful and specific memories associated with familiar aromas. Now, this type of storytelling tool has become the necessary approach to fragrance marketing.
Synesthesia, a neuropsychological trait in which the stimulation of one sense causes the automatic experience of another, or in other words, the blending of senses, only affects about two to five percent of the population, but the phenomenon is being leveraged as a storytelling device for fragrance products to help make the ambiguous tangible. Someone with synesthesia might interpret certain sounds or voices as distinctive colors and shapes, or associate them with specific flavors and textures. So one can only imagine the number of ways this can be utilized as inspiration for fragrance development.
For the entire article, visit Perfumer & Flavorist+’s June 2023 issue.