Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Rose by Any Other Name

Recently I spent several days in beautiful New Orleans for both business and pleasure, during which time, I shopped. I actually went to a store and looked at different things. I went to several stores that aren't my usual haunts. This is rare. I'm a very structured shopper - I go in, get what I need, and I leave. I do not browse. I do not dawdle. I do not gawk. I do not windowshop.

In New Orleans, I indulged. In shopping, and then in perfume. Several fragrances at L'Occitane. (And wondered if I should be insulted that the L'Occitane sales lady gave me a sample of eye wrinkle cream!) One of them, Arlesienne, had a unique description which caught my attention as both a gardener and as a marketer.

This perfume's sample  description read: "An unexpected fusion of three graceful flowers: blending an elegant, romantic rose with powdery violet and the elusive saffron flower in full bloom..."

The description is evocative, alluring. It draws the reader in. Graceful. That's an aspirational word, as is elegant. Elusive can be defined as "difficult to achieve", which implies a prestige factor. But the description seemed partially inaccurate.

I wasn't quite sure what to think upon reading "elusive saffron flower". I've never known a crocus (the source of saffron) to have a scent. Among the early spring flowers, hyacinth, absolutely - and it's one of my favorites. Crocus? Not so known in the scent department. Known for its yellow color, certainly. As a marketer, to me the logical question was how many people would translate "saffron" to "crocus"? And would it matter?

"Saffron" sounds more exotic than "crocus" and certainly less intimidating than "crocus sativus". A bit misleading as saffron is not an actual  flower - but it is part of a flower. By a stretch, the perfume description could be taken from the common name, "Rose of Saffron".

As a marketer, I don't believe the Arlesienne perfume description would be called out by the folks at Truth in Advertising. As a consumer, I appreciate the mystique and beauty of the description.

Marketing is communication. Capturing the imagination is not always a priority for communication but perhaps it should be. Imagination ignites. It engages the senses. It creates memories. And doesn't every brand want to be memorable?

To think about...

Are your descriptions - of product or service -  technically accurate but uninteresting? Do they capture the imagination?