Positively thinking I would say “just give it another couple of years…” Already a few manufacturers emerge as the early birds ready to catch the little worm sticking his head out of the ground. The others are just waiting for the worms to get really fat and to make a much nicer meal. I guess there’s a benefit to both approaches.

International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) deserves a mention as one of the more forward thinking manufacturers that early on engaged with the emerging category of “non-traditional” users of fragrance for marketing and branding. With Steve Semoff until recently they had one of the most knowledgeable individuals on staff in that category. IFF is behind the signature scents for Samsung, Hyatt Place Hotels and a few more and has aggregated what probably is one of the most comprehensive bodies of Scent Marketing knowledge.

Firmenich is known and acknowledged to have supported the olfactory portion of Martin Lindstrom’s multisensory research and experiments when he wrote BRANDsense and, subsequently, his commercial spin-off BRANDsense agency. If the same can be said about Buyology and it’s subsequent commercial spin-off BUYOLOGY, Inc. (do we sense a future in licensing here, Mr. Lindstrom?) is not clear.

Little is known about Givaudan’s Business-to-Business Scent Marketing activities (if any at all). However, they just won a FiFi Award for their Miriad 2.0, “an interactive portal that seeks to bridge the gap between consumers and perfumers.” Symrise also seems to prefer Business-to-Consumer with it’s support of Sniffapalooza, a substantially large community of fine fragrance aficionados.

It’s all in the juice. 360 kilo (or 800 pounds) is the minimum quantity you need to buy from IFF. If you were, say, a hotel brand putting scent into 200 lobbies, that would last you a whole year. The cost of carrying inventory over such a long period of time becomes a problem. If you are an even smaller Scent Marketer (in number of units) you are not in any of the large manufacturer’s league.

That leaves the B-to-B field wide open for mid-size companies like Belmay that is involved in a number of various Scent Marketing endeavors such as supplying scent delivery system companies with consumables that they then white-label and sell to their customers. Belmay also has licensed its ScentPress® technology to TanaSeybert, a company that puts scent on printed material.

Creative fees for the development of a signature scent can run anywhere between $5,000 and $50,000. A scent from a “fragrance library” may do the same job — with no creative fee at all. You would just pay for the bulk oil. Again, the larger manufacturers have the larger libraries.

Fine fragrance manufacturers are feeling the pinch of the economy and the question is how long that will last. Trade organizations such as the Fragrance Foundation will certainly have noticed their members’ financial stress, so does RIFM, the industry’s main self-regulatory body. So it may be smart for any fragrance manufacturer to look into the “non-traditional” areas of which Scent Marketing appears to be the most promising.

The call goes out to all of the fragrance manufacturers, large and small. If you remain on the fence now then you won’t be able to reap the benefits later.

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