Friday, March 6, 2015

Designing a new perfume: The first step is the most important

    What is your "first step" when you get started on a new perfume? Have you ever given it serious thought? Do you start with a direction in mind? Does that direction involve a scent, a theme, or perhaps a market you want to create for?

    How do you express that direction? Is it just a vague notion in your head or do you make notes on paper, to guide you? If somebody else is developing the juice for you it's almost certain that you'll put some thoughts down on paper.

    Oh, and by the way ... do you have a name in mind for this new fragrance of yours?

How much thought do you give to a name?

    You might not have given it much thought but you do need a name -- any name -- to identify your project. While you are working, the name you've given your perfume might be just a temporary name, a code name. But have you ever given thought to the idea that a name -- a real name -- can help define and guide your whole project? Have you ever tried to develop a new perfume by first giving it a name?

    It might not be your style but there's a good reason to try it. A good name tells or suggests a story, and having a story (1) helps guide you in developing a scent that pays off that story and (2) helps you promote your new fragrance -- "This fragrance is all about this story."

    By starting with a name, you give yourself a goal to work toward. As you develop your fragrance you keep asking yourself "Does this addition take it closer to the name or does it pull it away?" The name gives you focus.

    But best of all, if you use a name -- a real name -- as your point of focus, you tend to create a harmony between the name, the fragrance, and the story. The fragrance "is" the story. The name says it all.

Naming ... art beyond intuition

    Naming seems like such a simple thing to do and, at times, it can be. But have you ever followed pharmaceutical advertising and noticed what peculiar names are given to new drugs? Drug companies have to follow a host of guidelines in naming new drugs. The process can take several years and cost several hundred thousand dollars.

    Most of the names they come up with are pretty forgettable. Yet sometimes pharmaceutical names get in your head with the help of TV advertising. Think Ambien, Nexium, Lipitor, Lyrica, Celebrex, Viagra, Flomax, Chantix. Even if you're not exactly sure of that they do, the names are pleasant, not hard to remember, and so sweet you tend to ignore the side effects.

    So how much effort do you put into naming your perfumes? If you're like  me, the answer can be embarrassing. Frankly -- in the past -- I've mostly winged it. After working up a new fragrance (not by following what is suggested here!) I am generally too brain dead to give much though to the name. This is a huge mistake.

A check for $5,000 changed my attitude toward names

    Over the summer of 2014, out of the blue I received an offer from a party that wanted to BUY one of my names -- just the name. I could keep the fragrance (after renaming it) and they had no interest in the formula. This wasn't a deal that would make me rich but the offer was generous enough to seal the deal.

    And, with the money in the bank, I began to pay more attention to the other names I was using for my fragrances -- and discovered out of the eight currently offered on my PGLightyears website, only ONE had the potential of being valuable to another marketer (and if you look at that website, it's not the one you might think!)

    This experience got me interested in the naming process and what goes into a good name, and how to make a pretty good name even better and give it more potential value. My thoughts, and research, went into a book. I expected to write it in six weeks but it took me twice that long as some points I thought would be simple turned out to be anything but. The book is called How To Create A More Valuable Name For Your Perfume and the theme is simply that, for very little extra effort, you can build a lot more value into every name you give a new fragrance, and there is a sound, logical reason for this.

    The book itself may or may not interest you but you'll get some idea of the thinking behind it just by looking at this web page.

    Paying to read a book on naming your perfume may seem a little like naming your new baby out of a baby book. But from a business point of view, a good name can have some real value, measured not only in art but in cash rewards.


  1. Just out of curiosity what was the name of the perfume that someone wanted to buy?

  2. Hi, Naomi -- The original name was TOXIC and, after selling the rights to that name, we now call it XOTIC.
    Thanks for your interest. -- Phil