The role of fragrance in the brand personality of consumer products

Maryana Kaplan and Kendra Zarrilli
Q Research Solutions, Inc., United States

INTRODUCTION

Louis Cheskin's groundbreaking package research supports the paradigm that the package is the product. Packaging communicates a product's personality and its power in shaping a brand has proven priceless time and again. “The basic concept – that a product's package has an impact on the consumer's perceptions of the product's performance – is as true today as it was 50 years ago when it was first identified” (Deasy, 2000).

A product's package embodies most of the key elements in the marketing mix – brand name, brand image, brand position, concept (“reason to believe” and product performance claims), and, of course, design. However, it is commonly known that fragrance is a key element in the mix – fragrance too influences the consumers' assessment of product performance. Consequently, consumer goods companies spend almost $12 billion per year on fragrance for the manufacturing of their products (http://www.leffingwell.com/, 2005). This amount alone is an indicator of the importance of fragrance in consumer perception, and subsequently, a product's success. Nonetheless, Cheskin's theory minimizes the role of other players in the sensory bundle – notably fragrance.