Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How To Succeed By Working Backward

You may not want to follow the suggestions in this article. I don't always follow them myself. But whether you follow them or not, they are important and worth keeping in mind when you sit down to work on a new fragrance.

If you follow these suggestions your chances of commercial success will be greatly improved.

As creative types we like to think of our great creations as just popping out of our heads. Thus the straight forward way for us to create a new fragrance is first to have a brilliant idea – a mental vision of our new scent – then to develop the physical product that matches our mental vision, then to develop packaging for it, and finally to present it to the end user – a customer, relative, or friend.

This is what I call “working forward” and it is probably the most common creative path followed by perfumers who do not have to earn a living by selling what they create.

But it helps before you get started on a new fragrance to take a backward look at your project. One great advantage of doing this is that ultimately you will be less likely to experience the frustration of finding that nobody shows any genuine appreciation for what you have created. Even independent creative types are encouraged by the receipt of honest appreciation from others.

Working Backward – Step # 1 – The End User (Buyer, Relative, or Friend)

Unless you are making a fragrance strictly for yourself, at some point you will have to introduce it to another person. It may be a spouse, or lover, or friend, or relative, or shop owner, or purchasing agent. That's up to you. But, working backward, your first step is to identify the person to whom you might first present your finished perfume.

This person should be very real to you – ideally someone you know personally. If you cannot think of a person you know who can fulfil this role, stop and find one, even if it takes you weeks or searching. Without being able to identify this person – this real person to whom you really want to present your perfume – you are not yet ready to start creating.

Work at finding this person and then, when you have found him or her, work at knowing this person inside out. Find out about their income and spending habits, their lifestyle, their culture, their tastes. Be able to form an emotional bond with this person so that, when you begin developing your fragrance, you will be able to keep in mind exactly what will delight them the most. This now becomes your creative goal.

Working Backward – Step # 2 – The Presentation

There is a belief in the graphic arts and fashion world that presentation is everything. Those of us who are not great visual artists or fashion trendsetters sometimes cringe at this truth – but it is a truth. Presentation – the way your fragrance is bottled and packaged and presented to the customer – is very important.

So now you have to think about how to present your fragrance to this individual with whom you have bonded. What kind of presentation of your fragrance will be pleasing to him or her?

Your financial resources and graphic arts ability can appear to be a great obstacle. You have to work to overcome this, even if it takes weeks of research into bottles and packaging possibilities. Your selection of the “best” solution will, of course, be based on what you believe will be most appealing, among all affordable, possible solutions, to the target customer with whom you have formed that emotional bond.

Working Backward – Step # 3 – Developing Your Fragrance

Now you are ready to develop your fragrance itself. And, because you know the person to whom it will be presented, you have a lot of ideas on what this fragrance can be and what it cannot be. So your range of ideas is now limited, but limited in a positive way. And within these limitations (of what your soul partner would enjoy!) your possibilities are limitless.

Following this “backward” procedure when developing your next fragrance can be very, very satisfying!