5 Steps to Create your Brand Odotype

Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

Legendary Brands such as Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Dove, BMW, Chanel, Mac Donald’s, Twitter, Windows, Dolce & Gabbana and many more have extensively proven the importance of having an emblematic graphic icon that people can quickly identify and it suggests Brand values with which clients feel identified. All Companies are currently aware of the importance of having a good Brand Logotype. In a near future the same will be said about Brand Odotype.

Indeed, the same way that a Logotype transmits explicit and implicit messages related to the brand, a Brand Odotype can communicate sensations, emotions, values and memories. And it can do it even more effectively than a Brand Logotype. Because the sense of smell is much more emotional than the sense of sight. And the neuronal centers of smell are much more integrated in the memory. Thus, the Brand Odotype helps to fix Brand memories with largely more intensity than the Logotype.

The world of perfumery is full of cases of legendary Odotypes that have generated an extraordinary loyalty to consumers. For example, the following scents evoke...

·         ‘Chanel 5’: Feminine, classical, sophistication.

·         ‘Paco Rabanne Pour Homme’: Classical Mediterranean masculinity.

·         ‘Dove’: Creaminess, gentleness, voluptuousness.

·         ‘Delial’: Summer, sunlight, vacations in the beach and freedom.

·         ‘Marseille soap’: Authenticity, basic cleanness and tradition.

·         ‘Toilet Duck Cleaner Pine’: Freshness, hygiene, disinfection.

Choosing a Brand Odotype should not be taken carelessly because it can be an important success factor on the short and long term. Like a Logotype, a Brand Odotype has to be considered from the perspective of the strategic Brand positioning.

The powerful effect of the scents in memory should be taken very much into account: consciously or unconsciously, clients will remember the Brand Odotype for a very long time. Thys, a bad election can be detrimental to Brand image for it will communicate unsuitable olfactory messages. For example, a sophisticated brand should never choose a simple odotype (‘lemon scent’); a bold, modern brand is not compatible with a classical odotype (‘Paco Rabanne’); an ‘artificial’ scent is not suitable to an ‘ecological’ brand, etc. In general it is advisable to get assessment from expert fragrance evaluators. And it is very unwise to base decisions only in ‘The Boss preference’.

Creating a Brand Odotype requires a process similar to creating a Logotype.Instead of a Graphic Designer, a Scent Designer is required. This professional deals with scents and scent-concepts instead of draws, colours and graphic symbols. Essentially the process includes at least the following five steps:

1.    Definition of Brand Values to be communicated. The strategic brand positioning should be revised together with a Scent Designer. A qualitative consumer research can also be conducted in order to find these values, and it will be important to involve the Scent Designer as well.

2.    Elaboration of Proposals. The job of the Scent Designer is about ‘translating’ the Brand values in possible conceptual Odotypes. Afterwards, several (10-30) different proposals will be created and selected, until few different best proposals are ready to be presented to the Client.

3.    Presentation of Prototypes. The Scent Designer presents the different proposed odotypes to the client, including their olfactory, conceptual and emotional descriptions. The client should consider not only the suitability of the scent but also of the concept of each proposal. For example, ‘it is a green, juicy floral-rose-apple-peach that evokes nature, simplicity, youth and feminity’. Or ‘it is a leader-amber-iris note that evokes timeless elegance, warmth and confidence’. Client should carefully analyse the different options and choose the most suitable. In some cases choosing the odotype can be based on a quantitative research with final consumers.

4.    Odotype fine-tuning. After choosing the prototype with the suitable scent direction, the client can request improvements to be made. For example, ‘more intensity’, ‘a less sweet note’, ‘more fresh’, ‘more natural’, ‘less masculine’, etc. The Scent Designer will take care of the execution of these changes. And it will make the technical adaptation of the fragrance to the choosed scent diffusion system in order to guarantee the correct sensorial perception of the fragrance in the air. Finally an new presentation to the client of the improved and technically adapted prototypes will be done.

5.    Implementation. Once the odotype is ready, it can be implemented in different ways. The real scent in the air can change depending on the scent diffusion system. Implementation can be performed by means of scent diffusers in shops, receptions, rooms, soaps, locions, events, merchandising, etc. In all cases the Scent Designer has to ensure that the perceived smell is like the original odotype. The same way that Graphic Design specialists take care that the ‘red’ colour of a logotype has the suitable tone and it is not too orange or pink.    

The Brand Odotype can be explained, together with its olfactory and emotional description, and the brand values that it represents. The same way that introducing of a new Brand Logotype colours, draws and styles can be explained.  This will contribute to a better understanding by potential clients, that will likely be curious and maybe they will go to the shop and end up purchasing...


Cristina Sala, 2012


At Open-Senses we are passionate about sensory innovation. If you share this passion, you can contact us at www.open-senses.com.