Personalisation and Perfumery : Telling Your Story

The luxury space has evolved and is no longer selling products to consumers based on their exceptional quality and brand prestige alone, the luxury industry is now selling ‘experiences’ to its customers.

A holistic brand experience, that permeates every aspect of the customer journey is what the luxury customer now expects, and from their perspective this is indistinguishable from the luxury product or service, itself. Customer centricity is now at the core of formulating strategy in perfumery. The industry consumer behaviour data shows us that the customer wants or expects a high touch service to be provided in the 360 brand experience and it is not just the sole acquisition of the product that is desirable. Indeed, it is the selling of an experience which has to have many intangible qualities that elevate the inimitability of fragrance brands to the perception of the customer.

How to give the customer this experience, especially when considering that fragrance ‘selling’ is following global luxury trends and moving away from the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers to online … how do you even transfer the experience of smell into the digital space, as well as being able to offer your customer an emotionally connective immersive experience. The success of experiences relies on developing a connection with customers, the deeper this connection, the more intense the experience and the deeper the affinity for the brand grows.

“Buying luxury is an indulgence, you get to use all your senses, you need to feel like it is indulgent in itself. The experience of purchasing luxury, it shouldn’t just be clicking a button.” Participant in a recent study on the digitalisation of luxury brands.

Personalisation is one way in which to do this, to connect emotionally with customers through a celebration of their identity, to give them something that is a reflection of themselves, externalising the internal. Fragrance is already an incredibly personal product, it is an invisible, yet profound form of personal expression and the next step is to offer bespoke fragrances to individuals that is completely customised for them. Many brands — especially those born on the internet — seem to be engaging in many different approaches to the area of personalisation, but solutions have been clumsy or boring, involving the drawn out process of sending samples, smelling them and sending them back, a complicated procedure for a fragrance novice or the standard fragrance quiz to decipher the top, middle and bottom notes of the fragrance.

No Ordinary Scent, a beauty tech start-up based in Stockholm, Sweden, is elegantly bridging personalisation with perfumery, using A.I. technology to enable their customers to tell their stories. These stories are derived from three images that are provided by the customer, whether it be a significant day, or an unforgettable memory or just a random set of snaps from the person’s life. NOS, as they are abbreviated too, then use a vast database of advanced analytics to encapsulate ‘scent’ elements from these images into an individual and unique aromatic story of customer.

The research confirms that they are definitely on to something special, many researchers seem to view these storytelling experiences as opportunities for moments of personalisation. In Kearins (2018) it is observed that each customer needs to feel as if the brand is aware of his or her individual needs, she states that the survival of companies is dependent on whether they have the ability to create these personalised connections through the use of big data and other technologies, for example A.I. This is where managers can use a CRM or CDM system to keep up-to-date notes about customers, their preferences and buying behaviour to personalise these experiences and optimise the brand customer interactions. So, for fragrance companies, the future seems to be quite personal.

Reference: Kearins, E. (2018), “How close are you to a fully personalised customer experience?”, available at: www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2018/oct/02/how-close-are-you-fully-personalised-customer-experience

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Lavanya Govender

Lavanya Govender

Luxury Brand Strategist and Manager — specialising in the fragrance & beauty industry.