I had the privelege of sitting down to chat with Trudi Loren, Vice President of Corporate Fragrance from Estée Lauder. Originally, I went in there to hear a professional perspective on the power of scent in the marketplace, specifically how it can relate to the the bar and nightclub world.
Unexpectedly, I found some interesting links from how the beauty marketplace works, with how the music marketplace works.
First of all, what scents are popular are directly related with the state of the economy. During economic busts, people like to purchase a scent that is noticeable. In other words, they want to know what they’re paying for and see that it has a more tangible value attached to it. They’re less likely to purchase the more subtle scents because they don’t have the same perceived value attached to them.
Conversely, during times where the economy is stronger, the consumer is more likely to purchase some of the trendier scents. This is interesting to think about how we evaluate value in a smell. This could potentially provide another dimension for a nightclub to portray brand value to a consumer. If the smell of the ambience was something they perceived as more valueable than another venue – it could reinforce customer satisfaction. Additionally, that $14 drink could now be worth $15.
The second issue we discussed related to in-store direct sales to the consumer. Perfume is based on three notes; the top, the middle (or the heart) and the base. The top typically consist of lighter chemicals that evaporate quickly due to a combination of volatility, compound and mixture characteristics and reaction with skin chemistry, to name a few.
Picture a consumer walking down a department store and being approached by several different branded fragrances. They spray the smell on a card, but only smell the top notes. It is then quickly discarded, without waiting for the heart-tone to evolve. They walk around and examine the most obvious and superficial part of the fragrance without giving enough time to adequately sample them and pick which one they enjoy the most. Specifically, if you want to grab the 18-25 market – you approach them through the top notes. This reminds me of my work on Musical Attention Deficit Disorder, which without surprise enough applies to the same demographic.
This provides evidence of a deeper level of our decision-making process as made evident through expression in our sensory systems.