Yesterday, I found myself sitting across the lunch table with my friend - a successful product designer who's been hired as a design specialist by a celebrated perfume brand, headquartered in Spain.
The problem the brand was besieged with, my friend explained, was how to create a new Perfume bottle (and a Deodorant canister) that would appeal to young 30something people who are career oriented and work for high-energy new economy startups, people who work from home and on the move using an assortments of tech gadgets almost as frequently as they work from traditional offices. Thus far, he added, the perfume industry has taken this notion of ambition and personal mobility quite literally and the aim was to create new aspirational scents housed in trendy tech-tinged bottles and cans that boosted their confidence and conveyed a unique differentiation.
My friend said that he was cynical of this approach but, he admitted, he didn't really know where to start. It's one thing to evaluate critically the current thinking, he confessed, but another thing altogether to know how to actually improve upon it.
In an effort to be helpful as I come from the same league, I suggested that the consumer ‘wants’ aren’t always really about the brands you own or in this case, how the perfume bottle looks at the shelf. Rather, it's about ideas and the sublimal connection, something much more than just who the consumer is and what he/she does for a living. It's more about being true to the individual and having that truth reflected in the products we design and the advertising we create.
We both agreed it was a tricky goal and I'm not sure how this might eventually influence my friend’s thinking, but I believe that it can only lead in the right direction and hopefully, the right fragrance in the right bottle!