A Lecture with Virginia Bonofiglio

Since my current university module is based around fragrance brands, on Friday 3rd May we were fortunate enough to have a lecture (via Skype – how cool?!) with Virgina Bonofiglio, a professor of the Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing Department at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), in Manhattan.  Virginia has a BA degree in history with a minor in chemistry from hunter College in NY and an MA degree in history from the University of Houston; she initially took a job in the fragrance industry because of her interest in chemistry, and consequently fell in love with the field.  

Virginia spoke to us about the importance of the 3 Cs in fragrance marketing: Creative approach, Community and Caring.  Firstly, it is essential that you offer a unique selling point, and therefore the more creative and eye-grabbing the better.  Virginia said she was particularly impressed with the marketing of Marc Jacobs and Chanel fragrances, praising the Chanel No. 5 campaign starring Brad Pitt, which caused mixed reactions on its release. 

Secondly, the building of communities is now a major marketing promotional tool as people are now far more influenced by word-of-mouth rather than the advertising of a product itself.  Sniffapalooza, an American event-based group, unites fragrance enthusiasts from all around the world.  Initially a small group of women from New York that shared their passion for fragrance, the brand has now generated into a huge phenomenon after gaining global recognition through mass-market magazines including ELLE, Glamour, Women’s Wear Daily, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Forbes and CBS. 

Lastly, for a brand to be successful it must ensure it is caring to the consumer.  These 3 Cs are now creating innovation within marketing, particularly through the rise of social media, which enables the public to reccomend brands to their peers through a variety of media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, more recently, Snapchat.  

Interesting Facts about Fragrance:

    • Brasil is currently the second largest fragrance market in the world, after the USA. 
    • Brasil prefer the ‘nose of Europe’ to the ‘nose of the USA’.  
    • Countries in Asia, such as Korea, China and Japan prefer more frutier and lighter scents, rather than the ‘oriental’ flavour that is currently extremely popular in Western culture.  
    • In Asia, consumers tend to purchase fragrance for the bottle and the brand rather than the juice itself, whereas in the USA and Europe consumers are more likely to purchase a fragrance for its scent.  
    • Woody and Orange scents are currently very popular amongst western consumers.
    • Sustainability is currently rampant in the beauty industry – with a fear that we will not be able to reproduce natural juice that is needed for fragrance in the near future.  
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