31 gennaio 2014

So to speak...

The other day I was contributing to a discussion on the Adjiumi forum on what consumers seem to want, perfumes-wise. We'd already talked about it on other occasions and I'm aware that neither I nor my Adjiumi friends may be considered "average consumers": first, we wear more than one fragrance per day and have strong opinions and likes/dislikes, then we're willing to spend, if the fragrance is worth. 
So, we were trying to guess what the average consumer would like to buy today.

Judging by offerings now available in general stores, average consumers seem to buy perfumes with little attention, mostly following trends (for industries, it may be quite difficult to please people with no olfactory tastes... in Italy, we'd call it a "self-biting snake": this situation is also their fault)
But ... the others? That is, what do people between the two opposites (perfume enthusiasts and average consumers) want? 

I think many of them would like a simple thing: to be able to keep faithful to the fragrance they chose. Instead, they get extremely frustrated when "their" scent undergoes a reformulation. In the past two years Caterina and I have welcomed many clients in our lab, asking us to recreate that "X" (name of your choice) scent that they loved so much... until it has mysteriously morphed into something different.
 "This scent made me feel more true to myself" or "This scent used to spotlight the most beautiful part of me" or "This perfume has helped my married life in the evening hours... my husband loves it!"
 These are the diehards, those who were so enamored of the fragrance that can't be without it.
 Others stop buying perfumes at all because they no longer trust the industry:"If I succeed in finding another scent that I can feel mine, and after a couple of years they change it, I would be too sad." So they quit, thus wearing only scents their friends/relatives give them on occasions.
Perfume brands consider their scents like any other products: they come to life to make good revenue, and don't  care of the meaning these "products" have in people's lives. A perfume not a dishwashing soap, that you use it and buy another.

If you retouch formulas with cheaper raw materials you won't gain new money, you'll only cut investments. Good revenue is another matter.

I've been working in brand communication for 20 years, yet I struggle to understand what profit there may be in infuriating the hard-core loyalist who will buy a perfume forever, in favor of someone who will buy the newest version once and never again...
Someone would please explain?


In case you were wondering, remaking a perfume as it was, is almost impossible. Companies hold patent on some of the molecules and bases included in the scents: even if we were the most formidable noses on earth, without those we can make something that only comes close.

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