Frédéric Walter : Mirror Strategies

05 : 05 : 2015 Givaudan : Fragrance : China
Frédéric Walter Frédéric Walter

Customers don’t want to shop with big suppliers

Frédéric Walter, creative marketing director, Givaudan

At Givaudan, we're seeing a rising interest in alternative fragrances. Customers don’t want to shop with big suppliers any more, they are looking for something with a point of difference, something with a story. Niche brands match the originality they’re looking for – it’s about their desire to express their personality.

Bespoke fragrances will be the ultimate evolution of this trend. Brands will increasingly start to include the consumer in the development process, online or at the point of sale with a final personal touch. This is already happening. In Paris, Ex Nihilo is allowing consumers to finalise their fragrance by adding one or two ingredients, and to personalise the bottle by choosing a cap.

Growing numbers of global beauty brands will adopt a two-way mirror strategy in emerging markets as they seek to gain traction and market share, and to spread regional innovation to a wider international audience. A two-way mirror strategy means reflecting local values back to beauty buyers in emerging economies, then using that on-the-ground experience to reflect regional ingredients and approaches to consumers in the developed markets.

Understanding and adopting the symbolism and ingredients of traditional medical and beauty systems will be key to cracking markets such as China and India for global brands. The symbolism of flowers in China or the tradition of Brazilian purification baths will need to be incorporated into brand offers and reflected back to customers for a brand to gain a foothold.

The opposite is true in Western markets, where customers don’t really care about the types of symbolism that were popular in the 19th century. The symbolism of flowers has totally disappeared and we are only interested in the scent of the flower.

The other big disruption to the perfume sector will come from digital technology. New fragrance delivery systems relying on smart technology are about to hit the market, aimed squarely at Millennials and the teenagers of Generation D. Sprays are centuries old and people around the world are working on intelligent delivery systems, such as olfactory jewellery that you can wear and which contains smart systems for delivering fragrance close to your body.

Someone will crack this soon and it will be huge, because it will appeal to young people who are the big users of such technology.