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BEYOND LUXURY – ARE WE READY YET?

Since the last two decades or so, international Luxury Brands have been positioning and communicating the core element of their brand as an EXPERIENCE as compared to the brand value. Positioning statements have been transpired by the feel and inspiration you get by associating with the brand.

Marketing gurus across various global markets have done exceptional efforts to transform brands into experiential assets. Be it a launch campaign or retail ambiance, or even an online platform that endeavors to facilitate you with experiential aspect of the brand. This has been the most lucrative direction that primarily hiked the price of brand units by many folds as compared to none or less experiential claiming brand. Our favorite discussion point as a brand is “we don’t sell products; we give you Experience”. To me, that already sounds like a cliché.

Just to elaborate about the ‘Experiential’ aspect and its thought process, what exactly a brand means when they say it’s about an experience. Experience of what? Your brand, your corporate direction, your positioning as compared to your competitor or accomplishing your top line financial objective.

So, what’s really happening, as a consumer I need a bridge/messenger to express who I am, and that bridge is the BRAND. A simple example could be when I wear a t-shirt, it has a logo somewhere if not all over, that will align me with this brand and ultimately people around me and even myself should feel that I am that brand. In conclusion, I give money to the brand to adopt me as it’s brand ambassador and the brand accepts me happily. Only criteria to become a brand ambassador is my financial capability to buy an item of the brand. How mediocre is that?

The good news is, a small section of consumers understood this marketing gimmick and decide to go unbranded. We are aware that whom all have gone without any mark of a brand and yet have a capacity to own these brands. To me the future of branding is, to be unbranded.

The next is, I don’t need a brand that introduces me or defines me. I am THE BRAND.

These commercial tangible or intangible brands have to follow me, marketing heads of these brands need to work around me and align their positioning towards me. I don’t need a bridge or a translator to express myself, maybe a brand needs me to express them. I possess far more power and authority to reflect and resonate. In the end, I am alive, communicating, moving, breathing, not a commodity, idol item or a just a glorified brand.

PERSONALISATION is the future of luxury, not the brand architecture that imitates to define YOU.

TOP NOTES OF ARABIAN FRAGRANCE INDUSTRY

The Fragrance industry particularly in the Middle East is passing through an interesting time with potential opportunities for the future.

With recent global recession, the luxury and personal care industry took a different challenging position where most of the top multinational brands were pushed to tap virgin or emerging markets globally. Middle East being one of the most opportune markets with highest per capita spends on personal care is the obvious choice of international fragrance brands. At the same time, regional and local fragrance brands have to keep up with the influx of international brands. Ultimately consumers will benefit from this interesting scenario. Top multinational brands have the clear edge on market understanding, marketing strategy and prompt product development capabilities with best of technology available at this time.

On the other hand, regional brands are strengthened by their glorious history, cultural connect and religious factor. Fragrance industry as a whole will prosper and touch new heights of perfection, quality and professionalism brought by the combination of both of the worlds.

Fragrance production in the region has a long history. Initiating imports from neighbouring South Asian countries and serving the needs of regional and East Asian countries. Top manufacturers of UAE include Swiss Arabian Perfumes, Rassasi Perfumes, Ajmal Perfumes and Al Haramain. There is a trend of new emerging niche local fragrance manufacturers who are creating a ripple in the market by adopting international standards. Hiring top international fame bottle designers, creating fragrances from acclaimed fragrance houses globally and marketing them at par with multinational fragrance brands is a must to be competitive.

Another area of production is mass production of low and mid range of fragrances made for under developed countries including East Africa and the Far East.

THE PHENOMENA OF INTERNATIONALISATION OF MIDDLE EASTERN FRAGRANCES

As the global fragrance industry is evolving from mass-market segmentation to prestige and then to niche, same pattern can be read in the past years in the Middle East.

Fragrance connoisseurs are always looking for exclusivity and individuality of personality that can be revealed from the fragrance they wear.

Western fragrance trends have been floral, fresh and fruity due to the obvious reasons of the tradition, weather condition and close to the nature behavior of buyers. But with Middle Eastern taste, oriental, woody, oud and bakhour are the basic notes of olfactive family.

With internationalization of fragrances, these boundaries seem to be eliminated. In the past, there was a dominance of western taste internationally even in the Middle East but with the natural cycle of economies, this has definitely changed now.

Western consumers are intrigued about oriental notes and eastern trends more than ever. Most of the global and multinational brands are adopting oud, bakhour and oriental directions. This adaptation not only gave leverage to western brand to tap the virgin oriental international brands market but also open horizon of opportunity to get best of the both worlds, western and eastern. Western brands are thrilled to capture the attention of Middle Eastern consumers and in response, Middle East market is well matching their expectations.

LAYERING EFFECT – 7 TIMES SALES SPREE

Fragrance is an extremely interesting and evolving industry when seen in perspective of Middle East enthralling economic pattern. Arab consumers take fragrances not as a cosmetic accessory but an everyday ritual. A traditional practice in the Middle East fragrance lovers is called “Layering Effect” where they wear around 3-7 different fragrances at a time. Main reason for this layering technique is to create his or her own recipe of fragrance that cannot be revealed or discovered by anyone. This not only entices fragrance buyers to experiment but also impacts big way to the innovation and versatility of the Arabian fragrance industry. Not to mention its effects on the ambitious sales numbers of the Middle Eastern market.

Middle Eastern industry has taken a sharp turn towards niche and luxury fragrances in the last decade. Consumer have gone selective so as the brands. I am not aware of any mainstream or niche fragrance brand globally who have not appreciated the oriental side of the scent family. Comparison, evaluation, mix and match of these western and eastern brands will surely create an extraordinary learning experience not only for the curators but also fir the fragrance consumers.

As fragrances are one of the most personal indulgence items as a category, it does have a few distinctive perimeters in terms of culture, usage, environment, social values and traditions. European fragrances are more lighter, floral and fresher where Middle Eastern fragrances tend to be more stronger, oriental and long lasting. For instance, if a person is wearing a Middle Eastern fragrance, the whiff can be felt in the radius of 3-10 mtrs depending on how strong the fragrance is.