Fragrances have long been inspired by real places, people, and ideas. Taking creative inspiration from the world around us can be a powerful storytelling tool, and bring a clear theme to a scent which others can also relate to.

With more fragrance purchases being made remotely, the same power of storytelling has been reversed.

Now, young consumers on platforms like TikTok aren’t just sticking with interpreting a fragrance as it’s marketed and positioned by the brand. Instead, they’re  making their own evaluations, and making purchases based upon fragrances they feel fit their personality, or how they wish to be perceived - without ever smelling them first.

If you want to smell like…

Placing a higher focus on what they want to smell like, rather than specific fragrances, means users are turning to visuals and aesthetics to recommend products to others.

The trend can be explored through scents that capture broad, conceptual themes or places, which are then interpreted through related scents. This includes themes like dark academia, an internet subculture focused on an idealised image of higher education and the arts; Midwestern Gothic, a regional gothic aesthetic which captures macabre elements of Midwestern America; or even popular TV and films.

Through these non-fragrance concepts, users can explore fragrances that fit existing themes they know they like, or capture how they wish to be perceived by others. Without smelling the fragrance themselves, importance is placed on how it will make you feel – captured by an unbiased source and based solely on the scent profile. 

The more literal, scent-based interpretation of the trend, such as wanting to smell like strawberries or gourmand foods, helps users to more directly associate fragrances with scents they’re already familiar with and like. This helps build a clearer picture of the scent even amongst those who have never smelled it,  encouraging purchases through existing and very literal associations. 

Displaying your personality through scent

Less literal is the trend of users recommending scents as part of a wider tonal aesthetic, showcasing relevant and aspirational personality traits, pop-culture favourites, fashion, and makeup.

The trendy latte girl, the clean and cool vanilla girl, the warm and welcoming tomato girl: These aesthetic styles show fragrances as part of displaying how users can capture the lifestyle they aspire to.

When communicating scent through digital mediums where your customers can’t immediately smell your product, building these broader pictures of who would wear the fragrance is a powerful storytelling tool – which brands can use to spark curiosity.

Interested in how you could use your fragrances scent to create an aesthetic others will recognise? Speak to our team here.

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