Perfume and Storytelling


What makes you want to purchase a perfume? Of course, the scent has a huge effect on if you'll hand over your money. But what gets you in the store to smell that perfume in the first place?

It is all about the story behind it, and whether that speaks to you.

We were lucky enough to have guest lecturer Nick Gilbert attend an industry day here at Nottingham Trent on Thursday, he owns a brand named Olfiction that works with the perfume industry in a number of ways, however the main one is to help promote and sell perfume through the crafting of stories. As our new project is to create, brand and promote a perfume his advice was tremendously helpful to get us thinking on the importance of storytelling.

If you really consider it, scents only have meanings because someone constructed them. Raw materials mean nothing until that meaning is attached which makes fragrance communication very difficult as just listing ingredients means nothing to the consumer, it is when a whole story around that said fragrance is created when people believe they can understand the brand.

Nick also spoke us through the process of how he works to create a new perfume idea. For example, he was working with Penhaligon’s and looking to create a very new idea for the brand. He was inspired on a short walk around the London office to create a brand named after historic ships, this would work great with the brands long history. The scents created allowed for exotic spices and unique smells that may have been in the ships load from foreign lands. I found this so amazing that one small idea turned into a fairly sized range for Penhaligon’s featuring ship names from many international voyages.

This story, to be about historic ships, worked amazingly as it was not just a 1 off idea with no room for expansion. It works for the brand in perfumes, soaps, rooms scents and many other ways, it has room for newness and growth even after it was created.

I found Nick’s lecture to be hugely grateful in my understanding of how inventive and creative the perfume industry is.

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Thank you so much