Saturday, January 27, 2007

Taking Sides

Have you been following the action in the feud between Cropwatch and IFRA, the International Fragrance Organization? On 16 January, Tony Burfield on behalf of Cropwatch, sent an e-mail announcing the organization’s campaign to boycott the 40th Amendment to IFRA’s Code of Practice “on the grounds that it discriminates against small industries, which cannot afford the time and effort to put it into practice.” IFRA’s reply came on 19 January and included the reminder that IFRA’s main purpose is “to promote the safe enjoyment of fragrances worldwide.” Today, Tony Burfield announced a petition to gather names of those who oppose the amendment, fragrance bloggers are weighing in, and Perfumer & Flavorist magazine offers an online poll at its Web site. Whichever side you find yourself on, the quarrel certainly has focused attention on the aroma trade.So, what do you think? What does the future hold for the aroma trade? Is the regulatory burden becoming too heavy for small industries? Does the amendment favor synthetic fragrance materials over natural ones? What does it all mean for the fragrance industry?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Trophy Ideas

In a recent post called Beyond Citizen Journalism, I wrote about customer-made innovation. Now there’s news of a contest from Henkel called the Henkel Innovation Trophy. To add further impetus to the manufacturer’s internal innovation efforts, the competition invites independent inventors from around the world to submit concepts for any of the company’s four businesses including laundry/home care and cosmetics/toiletries. The idea is that through effective collaboration, new products can be introduced into the market faster, more effectively and more efficiently. To expedite product introduction, inventors are encouraged to submit ideas for which patents or patent applications already exist. A submission form is available at the Henkel Web site. Susan Krambo, who is with Henkel corporate brand management, says the initiative has resonated positively so far. The award includes the Henkel Innovation Trophy, a cash prize and the opportunity to enter into an agreement with the company covering commercialization of the associated proprietary rights.

What has your company done to spur innovation? Special teams? Outside collaboration? Contests? What’s working?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blogger Meets Blogger

It's a big, beautiful blogging world out there, and when blogger's paths cross, fun things can happen. Shannon Nelson, who blogs for Pierce Mattie PR and also has her own beauty blog, Makeup Minute, wrote to me awhile back and asked me to answer a few questions about the beauty industry. You can check out my comments here. Did I get things right? I'd love to have your comments.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Call Me a Rebel

A girl can’t talk about innovation and the Internet all the time, so today I’m going to share a few thoughts about perfume. I know that the big trend in fragrance has been scents by celebrities and designers – I read the same magazines you do. But I know what kind of fragrance I like and I enjoy shopping for it. I like nothing more than to find a really knowledgeable fragrance sales person and spend some time chatting about what I like and who has it. On a recent trip to New York and with very little time on my hands, I went in search of a perfume I first read about on a blog on the Internet (Well, there you go. We talk about it a lot for a reason!). At the Caron boutique, I met just such a sales person who let me smell Tabac Blond, described as an oriental leather type. Plus, it has a great story about its development. This scent is not for everyone and not for every day wear, but I am so glad that I found it. While at Caron, I was treated to a sample of Caron’s Poivre described thusly: an initial cayenne-pepper start makes for one of the spiciest perfumes on the market; rounds out on a wooded base. It is meant for an ‘explosive, captivating, fascinating man or woman’. You gotta love it.

I mentioned I was also looking for a bottle of Velvet Rope by Apothia and the sales person at Caron made a phone call and sent me over to Henri Bendel. I can still remember when the little sample arrived at the office many months ago. Here was something different, something that seemed a little dangerous. “Inspired by an icy, dry, vanilla martini spiked with absolute jasmine and a twist of grapefruit,” I had to have it and I love to wear it.

To round out my theme, a friend told me today that she recently bought a bottle of Chanel’s Cuir de Russie – Russian Leather. I can’t wait to smell it, and I love the way it is described at A very improper perfume for nicely brought up young ladies. At minimum, when you read that, you have to at least smell it!

I guess if there is a point here it is that fragrance preference is very personal and I for one am really glad that I can shop the trends at the department store and I can go up the street and find something really different that suits me just as well. A well-trained and experienced sales person can make all the difference. I love to hear the story behind the development of the fragrance. Do the new fragrances have great stories? And, of course, if the snow ever gets deep this winter, I can go online and buy more!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Customer-Crafted Cosmetics?

While you’re all still basking in the glow of your Time Magazine Person of the Year honor, it might be a good time to talk about what this new-found Web-cred could mean to the future of business. The Internet has opened up a new world of low-cost idea sharing and problem solving, and the enthusiastic response by users and customers of all kinds has led to a business model that let’s customers work with marketers to build the next great product advancement.

The trend builds on the familiar model of open source development that has resulted in numerous advances in software and hardware, and lets customers get involved in your product innovation and development. A recent issue of Trendwatching offers a great introduction to the concept, and shares a lot of great examples of how it is working in many industries – think consumer electronics for starters.

Are you ready to let your customers design your next product? What are you prepared to trade for this kind of input from your customers? Are you already involved in some form of customer-made innovation? How do you think it will work in the beauty industry?