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Firmenich uses the link between fragrance and context to deliver emotional benefits

Firmenich's scientific research has established that taking into account the consumer's context is the key to providing more emotional benefits to fragrances. After years of peer-reviewed research and publications, Firmenich demonstrates that its verbalized emotion approach through a unique Firmenich scent-emotion scale and implicit testing results in unique, emotionally powerful fragrances for consumers.

"The same scent will not evoke the same emotion in all consumers. For example, the smell of durian is synonymous with energy and well-being in China, but it is not appreciated in the US, explains Ilaria Resta, President, Global Perfumery. Through our scientific research, we can help our clients enhance the emotional impact of their products, with solutions tailored to each country's cultural context as well as product category preferences."

"Seventy percent of consumers' daily decisions are based on their emotions(*)explains Dr Christelle Porcherot, Corporate R&D Principal Scientist. While smells trigger strong emotions, these emotions also depend on personal life experiences and the context in which the smells are smelled." 

Using neuroscience, Firmenich researchers are able to understand the transformation of molecular signals into smells and memories. The Firmenich ScentMove emotion assessment model highlights nine emotional dimensions that encompass 25 commonly used qualifiers, far beyond the simple feeling of "pleasant". The fMRI observation of brain responses of individuals subjected to different fragrances has validated specific brain patterns corresponding to distinct emotional profiles. However, to develop relevant solutions, Firmenich also takes into account learning and memory. Cultural background, life experiences and commonly encountered scents shape the emotions felt, as our brain adapts to environmental changes.

"Emotional response can partly be observed by physiological measurements and brain recordings such as fMRI. However, only the verbalization of the feelings experienced provides a good understanding of the quality of the emotions provided by a fragrance, says Dr Christian Margot, Distinguished Scientist and Director, Corporate Research & Development. This allows us to connect a felt emotion to its context."

Firmenich was founded 125 years ago by a brilliant entrepreneur and chemist, with scientific research at the heart of its business from the start. The company invests an average of 10 % of its annual turnover in R&D. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, chemists, biologists, physicists and researchers make groundbreaking discoveries that continue to shape the fragrance and flavor industry: from the development of complex olfactive ingredients inspired by nature, to innovative delivery systems and formulations driven by artificial intelligence. At Firmenich, data and consumer insights are at the heart of fragrance creation, design and innovation, resulting in more fragrance benefits for both its customers and consumers worldwide.

Learn more about the work of Firmenich scientists on the sense of smell:

(*) Gallup, June 2020

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