Category archive - english

The fragrance industry: Sensing brands, branding scents

The date is getting closer: The edited volume on “Brands and Branding Geographies” (Edward Elgar, 2011) by the British economic geographer Andy Pike (University of Newcastle) will be published in August. The edition deals with the issues of brands, branding and brand development. So far, economic geographers have hardly covered this theme that is of utmost relevance in several industries and for current economic affairs. Read more

Olfaction, activism, and art

My readings on the social construction of smells, scent, and olfaction brought me, again, to the astonishing work of the Norwegian artist, activist, and perfumer Sissel Tolaas. In a recent interview with the journal mono.kultur she talks about her motivations to analyze, recreate, and work with smell and scent. According to her, smell as a relational medium allows recognition as another source of knowledge that co-creates identity: scents can manipulate human beings in order to “establish or to maintain their class identity“ (Tolaas in mono.kultur #23, p. 11). In a footnote: also her interpretation of communism resembling the “stale air of imposed uniformity” (page 36 in “If there ever was (a book of extinct and impossible smells)” by Robert Blackson, Art Editions North/Cornerhouse, 2008) convinces that smell can be understood as a “socio-spatial construct and also a narrative” (Tolaas in mono.kultur #23, p. 27). Read more

Qualities of the term “niche”

The renewed success of niche perfume brands in recent years suggests an understanding and differentiation of what the terms ‘niche’ and ‘mass’ imply. Those differentiations and the adequacy to think in these terms are often discussed in the fragrance industry. Some players and institutions conceptualize working definitions in order to separate categories as ‘niche’ or ‘mass’ or even ‘more mass’ and ‘more niche.’ Hereafter, I speak about some facets and characteristics that distinguish mass from niche brands. However, this description is not analytical in the sense that a clear differentiation (according to number and quality of retailers, financial restraints and opportunities, geographical reach, profit, and employees, for instance) is possible – I am rather presenting tendencies of how niche players work and what they do differently. In addition, the list is not comprehensive. Read more

Thoughts about prices and values

New products are presented to the public on the shelves of perfumeries on a regular basis – cosmetics but, in particular, perfumes are reaching the stores on a weekly basis. The question of Why this is happening is as relevant as the question How consumer prices develop. How does a commodity receive its price? Read more