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(Part 4) Things I wish I would have know when I got into perfumery. It was fun!

Updated: Nov 12, 2018


This is the last article of this series. We’ve talked about the things we need to make our perfume compound, the different parts of a perfume, we mixed it with alcohol and we finish the perfume. Basically, we took care of the interior or the “internal” aspect of the perfume, now it’s time for the exterior, which is almost as important as the perfume itself. This external part implies several steps, not necessary in the order I will present them. Everything that I will lay down today comes from a mix of creativity, some knowledge of marketing, graphic design and psychology, and common sense. As usual, there is not just one way of doing things. I encourage you to let your imagination go wild and dare to think the impossible. Who knows? Maybe that crazy idea bouncing in the back of your head is the best yet to come.

Let’s continue with the perfume we created as an example in the previous articles.


Naming / Logo:

These are not necessary processes that are done at the same time. You can work on a name first and then on a logo, or like I am going to do now, both of them at the same time. To start brainstorming and toying around with a name, I thought it would be nice to use as a starting point the context in which the perfume was created: a series of articles written in a BLOG, so we’ll start with that word:

The first thing I would do is trying to give it a little bit of dynamism. We’ll make the B curvier by using a different font. As a reference, from the graphic design point of view, curves imply dynamism, movement, action and since we have had established our perfume target for a “non-conventional successful working women, to use during the day. Fresh, soft and dynamic, that leaves an intriguing but personal trail”, we will add some dynamism.

As a name, the word BLOG does not really transmit much. We will split it up by adding a dash between the B and the L in order to give somehow a more modern look to the word and maybe it will turn into something more adequate for a non-conventional and working woman (think of e-mail, I-pad, e-commerce, e-learning, etc. all of them somehow modern concepts). I know, it sounds crazy, but something as trivial as a dash has an amazing amount of substance when it comes to this type of analysis.

By adding the dash we are also changing another layer of the name: its pronunciation. It would no longer be “blog” but “be-log”. I like the idea but at the same time, I would like the “e” not to be tacit, but visible. So, I will add the “e” with the same curvy design as the “b” but without the vertical stem and in a way that its center “enters” the dash:

At this point we should check significance: “Belog” means absolutely nothing in English (Great!). Phonetically it is close to the word “belong” which has a nice and positive connotation, especially for a perfume. These are the subtleties that psychologically speaking we don’t “see” but enter our subconscious to leave a meta-message without us even knowing it. And these are the things that are usually evaluated in focus groups, led by a Psychologist. If you have a friend, family or anyone that is somehow related to these kind of studies, ask them if you could observe one. (Not to be a part of one but to see how they are conducted –usually from inside a room called Gesell Dome with a big glass window that looks into the room where the participants are. From their side, they don’t see a glass but a huge mirror. It is really an interesting experience where you can literally see how something that for you was, without a doubt an A might be, without a doubt as well, a Z for another bunch of people.


Now, let’s keep going with our logo. I would like to add some color. Just a touch, so I will play with the just added “E”. The first color that comes to mind is rose, since it’s a rosy perfume…

…but I don’t like it. Somehow looks flat, dull or incomplete. I thought about adding an actual rose, a peach or somehow the ocean (since it has a marine base), but, even though it sounds like an amazing idea for an advertising piece, they would probably overdo the logo itself. So… we WILL create and add piece and we are going to use the color of the peach and the rose that we will use in that piece to color the “e” of the logo. We will fade it from the red of the rose to the yellowy/orangey of the peach:

NOW we are talking!

Our logo is ready!


Slogan:

Sometimes, while in the process of creating a name, you might want to reaffirm the identity of the brand with a short sentence: the slogan. The purpose of the slogan is to make somehow the brand more memorable. We can achieve that by reinforcing its main idea with a sentence that expands that concept or message, at the same time that we are giving the customers an extra focal point to associate directly with our name or brand. Usually, the slogan is what goes the extra mile, it gives us that extra piece of information that even though not indispensable, is always nice to have, or at least anecdotic.


For our example, what about if we also associate the slogan with the origin of the name, the blog? That would be swift! Yeah, a little play on words that is also a statement of the origins of the perfume. I think the slogan HAS to be:

"It was written"


Bottling / Labeling:

For 30ml and 60ml bottles, I usually make 2 labels:

  1. One for the front of the bottle: The front label size is 125" x 1.6875" and I put the logo in there and.

  2. another one for the back: a tiny one (1.5" x 1"), with the following info:

In this case, since the bottle is transparent and my inventiveness is out of control, I will make both same size with the logo and the slogan place vertically (to the right) on the front while in the back I will put the same info as usual plus a rose (the same one I will use for the add) that you will be able to see through from the front.


So front label will be this:

If I did my measures correctly, from the front you should see something like this:


Add piece:

We said we were going to create an add, so, let's just dive into it. We will start with a rose:

Since at the end I will be using a background of an ocean and because roses look better when they are wet, I’ll add some drops of water:

I had in mind a mix of a rose and a peach. Maybe a peach blooming out of a rose, so, the best way I found to do this is by first superimposing the peach in the rose center…

We add a marine background...

Then the slogan...

And finally a picture of our brand new perfume:

You can find this new creation for sale already in the perfumes section of the website.


So, in a professional setting, as mentioned before, at this point you would want to make a Focus group to evaluate logo, names and associated images. We don’t have the money for that but we ALL have the best next thing: Friends and family!


You will select from them as many as you can that are close to your target audience. No, in our example, your 5-year-old niece does not count. But your 40 years old sister does, and her friends, and your cousin and her friends…etc., etc.


Have your newly design logo and name idea printed, and every time you run into someone that fits your target audience, ask them if they have 5 minutes to spare to answer some questions about a new product. Have a piece of paper ready with questions like:


(First, you will be vague and unspecific):

  • What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say Belog?

  • Does Belog sound conservative, modern, creative, structural, spiritual or any other adjective that comes to mind? Note: When you ask "lists" of things (in this case adjectives), the right way of doing it is by randomizing the order in which you mention each word. If you ask everybody always in the same order you would be somehow establishing a trend, being subjective and "helping" somehow the result. So, to every person you ask, you should mix the order in which the words are mentioned. This goes for most of the open questions of the questionnaire since most of them have lists.

  • Once you get an answer, Why?

  • If you would name someone Belog, it would be a he, a she, or indistinct? Why?

  • What Nationality is belog? Why?

  • What about age? Is it a kid, teen, young, or adult?

  • If it is an animal, which one is it?

  • What about a color?

  • And a smell?

Don’t let them think too much. For this, shoot one question right after the other one. We do not want a well though answer but a spontaneous one. Before starting, tell them exactly that, whatever comes to mind first. Rush them with your speed

In a second batch of questions, we let them know what Belog is about:


  • “Belog is a perfume for women in their 30 or 40’s. A perfume fresh, soft and dynamic, for active women … Do you remember the name now? (You know that the perfume is not on the market yet, but they don't!, so of course, there is no way they can remember it, yet a lot of people will tell you: “Ah! Yeah, I remember, the perfume...This is speaking about the unconscious acceptance (or not) of the name for a perfume. It can be used as an added hint to find out whether the name is “acceptable” or not. (Of course, some of the people will respond the same just because they feel that they have to know it and that you will be happy if they remember it…) This is why you cannot make a conclusion out of just one question. We are in the realm of subjectivity so the more you can pseudo-confirm something the closer you get to a more objective concept (or the further away you get from that subjectivity). Remember, common sense before anything: If most of the people say they still don’t remember it then you might have an unmemorable name with you!

  • To whoever do “remember” ask right away: In which situation was the model spraying the perfume on? If they don't remember: Was before going to a party, going to work, going to the gym, or you remember it was in another situation? Again: you are leading them to believe that there’s some kind of advertisement out there whether, in TV or magazine, you don’t specify, and you act assuming that they saw it. Their responses would tell somehow the collective mind: if most of the people think of that name as a perfume to be worn during the day, you are good, otherwise, again, you might have a problem: maybe you need to think another name, something more daily.

  • For the ones that still don’t “remember” finally ask: when do you think would be the best moment to wear Belog? Day, night, summer, winter or any other moment that you can think of? (do not forget to randomize options)

Ask as many questions of this type as you want, but be sure not to tire your interviewee. Keep in mind you don’t want to “force” them between 2 things: If you would ask: Do you think Belog is a perfume for day or night? Then you are “forcing” them to choose one and they will respond what they think you want to hear. The other way, making them think about the advertising, you are “forcing”, not them but their subconscious, which usually is unbiased since we are not usually aware of its content.


The point of the initial open questions is not to hear the positives but to detect the negative connotations. Use common sense, if for some reason the animals mentioned are mainly aggressive, then you have in your hand an aggressive name and, unless you are trying to market an aggressive perfume, you should change whatever is aggressive. If colors are all dark and cold, that’s what your name represent. All the open questions are good for detecting red flags. Associations we did not think about but are obviously out there. If most of the people think of the name as a citrus smell and you have a floral perfume in your hands, you probably need to re-think the name. Remember that sometimes, what is NOT said is as important as what it is said!


If your name seems to be acceptable and you don’t find any alerting flags, do me a favor: Google it. You don’t want a name that already exists (even if it exists for another kind of product) and use Google translation as well. You do NOT want a negative double meaning in another language. For example, Belog means “stupid” in Balinese and is the 1st and 3rd person of the past tense of belügen in German, which means “to lie to”. Since this is an example plus I don’t think too many Balinese people will be in line to buy it on the website, I will go ahead with it. As for the German translation, if it would come to market it there, it would probably require a different marketing campaign, that’s all, maybe something focusing on the feeling of being lied to and how to empower yourself through that feeling…who knows.


So, that’s a really succinct explanation of the basics of marketing of your perfume. Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands of studies and things that can be done in order to optimize the image of our brand new creation. I would definitely always lead with creativity and common sense. If you are interested in the subject, look for books and read. And then read some more. This link is for an interesting marketing study for a Coty product, the "Scent of time" where you can find some interesting facts about the fragrance market.


I know that out there there's a whole other world, which I don't have access yet, which is the one where you can "present" your creations to society and they are evaluated by the big heavyweights of the industry. I think that one of the ways of accessing this world is through different competitions, where, after paying a fee, you have a chance to send your creation to be evaluated.


I've been trying to get information about this and if you thought that perfumery itself was a somehow difficult thing to get into...just wait till you try to find out how to participate in these competitions or at least find out what the competitions are!... If you have ANY information whatsoever, Please share it.

So far I have found:

Artisan fragrances of the year awards

The art and olfaction awards

The fragrance foundation awards


And to finish:


Do you NEED to do all this?

Of course not! It is just something else that could improve your chances to have a positive outcome with your creation.


Is it the best or the only way of doing it?

Again, of course not! I am sure you can google “ways to improve a marketing campaign” and you will get hundreds of helpful hits. This is just one way more.


Do you need an actual LOGO?

Nope. This is personal. Some people like the idea of a logo for each of his/her creations and some people like just a name, always with the same font…both are ok. Just do whatever you feel is better for you, your product and the people you are trying to reach.


But I am not a graphic designer!

Me neither. So start reading and keep trying.


I am not creative enough to think about all these things…

Do it a thousand times and after that, if you still can’t do it, ask me again. Probably I will tell you “you still need to try thousand one..."


Lately, I have realized that the more you know about chemistry, the more chances you have to better understand certain aspects of perfumery. I've been doing some chemistry reading and, beyond the fact that I think it's fascinating, I found a couple of links I think are quite interesting as starters. In case you want to expand your knowledge a little bit:


Here you can find excerpts from the book "PERFUMERY - PRACTICE AND PRINCIPLES" by Robert R. Calkin and J. Stephan Jellinek, 1994 ISBN 0-471-58934-9 and here excerpts from the book "PERFUMERY AND FLAVORING SYNTHETICS" by Paul Z. Bedoukian, Ch.E., Ph.D., Third Edition 1986 ISBN 0-931710-12-X


That’s all for now then. Next time I don’t have a clue what I will be writing about. You are more than welcome to leave ideas and comments in here.


For all of you that asked me for the Excel file I used in the last posting, I will be sending it later on today. If you are interested in it, just send me an email requesting it and please leave a comment on the blog. (whatever you think about it, even if you don't like it).


As for the free mini spray samples of the perfume Belog, send me your request to maximob@mxscents.com with an address to send it to. Even though I have send already the 20 samples, since this is a reposting, I will reset the clock to zero and will send 20 samples more. Just leave a comment on the blog and send me an email requesting it with your mailing address. So 20 more samples are going out again for free.


Have a wonderful week!


Max


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