I Smell a Scent Trend

What is a trend? For me, it is when the street meets the runway. In the world of scents, this is when a fragrance is found on the shelves of every day consumers at the same time that it is being used as the main ingredient of some new fine fragrance launches. For example, when carnation—a perennial ingredient in many haute couture fragrances—is turning up in fabric softener, we have a scent trend.

I am often skeptical of trends for various reasons however my skepticism is mainly due to the industries that create trends. A true trend occurs when consumers bring it to the fore. Without the driving demand of consumers, I do not give credit to a trend.

That said, if all indications serve me correctly, there is a trend that about hit the big time: SCENTED SPACES. Increasingly, corporate brands are introducing scent in their marketing and branding objectives. Just this month I have had twenty-seven requests from very large global corporations for advice on how to introduce this concept.

When companies are interested in my work, it is wonderful but does not indicate a trend by any means. I begin to pay attention when the branding firms and designers actually start shifting their design processes to include scent.

This evolution of holistic brand thinking has been changing for the past 16 months or so. I am speaking soon at Chicago’s FUSE to a market that will incorporate ideas about what colours smell like www.iirusa.com/fuse. The following month, I will be speaking to a group of designers and architects about how scent impacts the overall design of a space www.visitsofa.com/news. More and more scent education is coming to the fore because the demand is strong right now.

The final indication of this burgeoning trend for me was when Procter & Gamble Co announced that their air freshener Febreze hit the $1 billion line. In this time of economic uncertainty full of cash-strapped consumers, Febreze sold well in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, helping it become the 24th P&G brand to reach $1 billion in annual sales.

It is here we can see the runways of the design world meeting the streets, as consumers are starting to feel the need and desire to scent their spaces.

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