Augmented perfumery ‘a must’ in winning over conscious consumers, says Firmenich

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Firmenich has designed a five-step fragrance design process that considers brand purpose and the conscious consumer first and foremost (Image: Firmenich)
Firmenich has designed a five-step fragrance design process that considers brand purpose and the conscious consumer first and foremost (Image: Firmenich)

Related tags: Fragrance, Perfume, conscious consumerism, conscious beauty, clean beauty, Sustainability, transparency

Fragrance design must be reimagined to focus on brand purpose and conscious consumerism from the start, and leveraging big data to do this will be increasingly important, says Firmenich.

The Swiss fragrance major recently outlined its five-step design process ‘CreateForGood’ – a different approach to traditional fragrance design that placed importance first and foremost on end brand purpose and conscious consumer engagement.

“The key important element which is changing in this entire equation is that the consumer of today has become conscious; has expectations; has a lifestyle that is really making us willing to completely rethink the way we create fragrances,”​ said Juliette Sicot-Crevet, VP of business development for sustainability and naturals at Firmenich’s perfumery division.

Sicot-Crevet told CosmeticsDesign-Europe that rethinking fragrance design was “not only a good idea, but a must”​ in winning over today’s conscious consumer.

Big data and augmented perfumery

However, she said beauty and personal care would continue to be influenced by the major digital transformation in the wider consumer market. The future of fragrance design, therefore, had to utilise the vast array of data available on a range of metrics, including olfactory needs, consumer preferences, and sustainability, she said.

“We are in a position of being able to have much more data and also leverage the data we’ve gathered over the years. And now we have all the algorithms and AI, this is giving us a lot of power in order to augment the power of our perfumers.”

Traditional perfumers would not be replaced by robots, she said, but instead were being empowered by wider data available to them.

Creation of personalised and sustainable fragrances, for example – both highly in demand – was now possible thanks to this reconsidered and “augmented”​ way of working, she said. Firmenich perfumers, for example, had access to the company’s ‘EcoScent Compass’ which measured the natural and sustainable properties of an ingredient and considered lifecycle analysis and social data. 

Juliette Sicot-Crevet, VP of business development for sustainability and naturals at Firmenich’s perfumery division
Juliette Sicot-Crevet, VP of business development for sustainability and naturals at Firmenich’s perfumery division

“This sustainability trend is here to stay. I can only see it accelerating,” ​Sicot-Crevet said. “Maybe five years ago, there was a lot about natural but now I think you’ve probably noticed we’re talking about clean and sustainable, not only natural.” ​Biodegradable fragrance ingredients were also increasingly in demand, she said.

Smart transparency around fragrances – ‘consumers have the right to know’

Sicot-Crevet said there was also an increasing need to ensure every aspect of fragrance design was transparent and ultimately communicated to the end consumer.

“Our job and responsibility, together with our clients and customers, is to find the keys and clues to the right transparency; the smart transparency, so people will really have access to accessible and objective communication and information about what is inside their fragrance and how good it is for them and for the planet,”​ she said.

“…For me, that’s the biggest opportunity that we all have to play into and a big responsibility that we have to crack. Finding this right balance in being transparent but in a way that is accessible to a consumer, without confusion, without asking them to become chemists. And today, I think there’s a lot of progress that is happening.”

Consumers were already working with apps to better understand fragrances and other ingredients in their beauty products, she said, and this would only increase in the future.

“It’s the entire narrative around fragrance that is changing. We were talking about narrative that was very, very magical. I think we need to keep the magic but also provide some proof of what we deliver. This is this new idea of story proofing; it’s not storytelling. I think it’s a new narrative and new contract with the consumer,”​ Sicot-Crevet said.

Clean & Ethical Beauty Summit 2020

CosmeticsDesign-Europe is holding a two-day Clean & Ethical Beauty Summit in Amsterdam on June 3-4. The advanced programme can be downloaded from our event website​ and registration for the event is open​.

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