May 21, 2010

Scent, brand, sense, place: Coca Cola as brand fragrance

Scent, brand, sense, place: Coca Cola as brand fragrance

Synaesthetic brand experience design.

A friend of mine, Tracy Pepe, a scent strategist and consultant, founder of Nose Knows Consulting, posited this YouTube video. And she was exploring impressions — “what’s your take?”

The sequence goes like this — girl dresses up, “makes” up, and finishes by scenting herself with shaken-up cans of coke. Running to the street, she discovers “Coke” as perfume works, and she runs out in the show to pick up her own Coca Cola perfume. The gesture, conceptually, might be that people could fall in love with the scent of their beloved brands to the degree that dousing oneself with Starbucks espresso scent spritzers or the fumed notes of McDonald’s Essence de Frites is the product relationship path.

To the nature of the synaesethetic expression and branding — one scent in sense, crossing the barrier of sensation to, say, taste — it’s a complex psychological idea, one being transposed in another — one sensate impression being experienced in one construct, yet manifested in another. You taste color. See scent. Impressions coalesce.

Scent, brand, sense, place: Coca Cola as brand fragrance

Or, in this manner: in tasting, the crossing benefit might be that the content of your drink becomes the essence of your scent. Amusing, in the context of Coca Cola, but less mysterious in other manners of transposition in experience. While being a lover of maraschino cherries as a preferred, tasted sampling is one thing, it’s another to think of that sweetness swinging to a body wash.

Still, there are many that would savor the notion of fruitier scent characters that would be — as well — something they might consider actually wearing. In fact, the notion of younger generations experimenting with scenting and building fragrance relationships that are in fact more fundamental: they’re not complex or sophisticated, in fact, they’re simple and strikingly “noted” — it’s clear what the provenance of the scent conception actually is derived from: like the garden, the orchard, the tropical plantation. Strawberry. Vanilla. Syrup. Pineapple. These are things that can be eaten, then crossed over to the sensuality of scent. Smell like what you eat.

Scent, brand, sense, place: Coca Cola as brand fragrance

What Tracy might be really asking about is the concept of scent and brand — brand in scent-making — but particularly to the synaesthetic crossing over from something that is quaffed, then sprayed on as a fragrance. The idea of spice (and tasting) as a component of perfumed experience design is common, so the bridge of something eaten, then infusing fragrance isn’t unusual. And more common, less sophisticated brand experiences being linked to more accessibly comprehensible and recognizable scent plays out in the market, particularly for emerging users. But the idea of a power brand — like Coca Cola — becoming a scent staple is something different. It’s a level of embrace that might be unique. One might examine, as a potential, the idea of the scent of Nike’s stores being beach, sun, suntan oil, rubber, maple wood or oak, being a scent that could cross to being something that is truly a Nike amalgam — recognizable — and is wearable. That means that Nike’s scent space, and retail fragrance application, would be the essential character of the brand experience — and would be, too — something that could be worn.

Scent, brand, sense, place: Coca Cola as brand fragrance

Perfume is always about the idea of transposition — applying scent that embodies a personal psychic space of imagination and translation of persona — the wafting literally “carries you away” to something more illusory and evocative. This evocation is for the wearer of the scent and the experiencer.

Sugary, sweet caramel, effervescence (Coca Cola) — something that’s good enough to be eaten, or drank — that concept of consumption might cross over to holistic brand “consumption” — it can be eaten, and tasted, drank through the mouth or the nostrils.

Scent, brand, sense, place: Coca Cola as brand fragrance

Building brands that cross capacity in holism in user relationships — that can work.
“I love the brand”: I love how it smells, how it tastes, how it feels, how I can hear it and sense it absolutely — a marketer’s dream scenario. It’s what everyone wants, integrated embracement. Surely others are playing in this space already –the founder of Aveda moves to such a positioning, in Horst Rechelbacher’s new proposition which explores this dimensionality: Intelligent Nutrients | “Because Everything We Put in and on Our Bodies Must Be Nutritious and Safe”

“Whole foods” is an apt reference in consideration, I’d surmise.

tsg
….
GIRVIN | s c e n t explorations:
http://www.girvin.com/blog/?cat=10

the reels: http://www.youtube.com/user/GIRVIN888

girvin blogs:
http://blog.girvin.com/
http://tim.girvin.com/Entries/index.php

girvin profiles and communities:
TED: http://www.ted.com/index.php/profiles/view/id/825
Behance: http://www.behance.net/GIRVIN-Branding
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tgirvin/
Google: http://www.google.com/profiles/timgirvin
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/timgirvin
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Girvin/644114347
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seattle-WA/GIRVIN/91069489624
Twitter: http://twitter.com/tgirvin

3 Responses to Scent, brand, sense, place: Coca Cola as brand fragrance

  1. Interesting post. There are two things I picked up from this article: Brand experience and Brand loyalty.

  2. Tracy Pepe says:

    You ask the question with so much more grace – I was exploring a concept for a sensory campaign – a consumer enters a portable booth – blindfold at first or eyes simply shut – earphones to the sounds – cap pops off – fizzle of the beverage – the famous pour over ice – glob, glob, glob (if such a word) – and than slowly the notes of caramel, chocolate, vanilla, dry notes and effervescence – aromas that transforms the sensory to actually tasting the beverage in ones mind.

    Always a pleasure and thank you.

  3. Simon Harrop says:

    This is an interesting case study. Well done Tracey and Tim for highlighting it. WE have recently commissioned research into the evidence of cross modality for sensory branding with surprising outcomes. I cover some of this in a recent TEDx Talk which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvma79Q0AP4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>