Sound and scent are synonymous—after all, the language of “notes,” “compositions," and “accords” is applied to both. But with the rise of audio branding, everything from ASMR to podcasts and curated soundtracks are being interwoven with the medium. Following their signed partnership earlier this year, IFF and IRCAM (short for Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music) Amplify conducted a study which showed that the likelihood of purchasing a fragrance in an online setting jumped by 58% when paired with music.
Now the duo have taken the fragrance manufacturer’s sonic branding to a new level with the “World of Scents” sound logo. The sonic creation was made using IRCAM Amplify’s Speak methodology, which identifies how sounds are auditorily received through psychoacoustic research. In this instance the inspiration point was IFF’s Scent division, with the end result incorporating an upbeat dance beat with sounds courtesy of instruments like the marimba, nyatiti, and rain sticks, and human sounds, to “represent the extraordinary human, the core of everything IFF does.”
“In a world saturated by visual signals, audio branding speaks to the senses in ways comparable to scent: invisible, sound is complex, multi-dimensional,” Sergio Gelernter, Chief Marketing Officer of Scent at IFF, tells BeautyMatter. “The ‘World of Scents’ IFF sound logo combines a multitude of different aspects: human voices and electronics, ethnic instruments and hand clapping, reggaeton inspiration, and groovy sounds… the result is both energizing and emotionally compelling and a fantastic way to represent our Scent vision: awaken the extraordinary senses for a better world.”
IFF’s interest in the expansive potential of scent dates back to 1967, when then-CEO Henry Walter supported the founding of the Monell Center for Taste and Smell Research. In the 1980s, IFF researched “mood-mapping,” or the effect of scent on mood, which can be seen as laying the foundations for functional fragrance and wellness-focused scent. In 2021, the company launched its Science of Wellness program, which delves into the psychological, emotional, and physical benefits of scent and is now being expanded with the introduction of sound to “support customers and their brands in developing enhanced consumer experiences for wellness with heightened sensory relevance.”
“As years passed, we expanded from the original research and aimed to understand how scent awakens emotions. As it has been shown that odor memory is highly associative, we incorporated color, texture, and shape into our understanding of how consumers relate to scent. Sound was a natural next and very close to scent in that they’re both invisible,” Gelernter remarks.
From Aesop to Øthers and Inara, the crossover of scent and sound is proving fruitful terrain for indies and established brands alike. Given the fierce chase for customer attention in the fragrance realm, could sound integration provide a step up to the competition?
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