WestRock (the company resulting from the merger between MWV and RockTenn) released a number of dispensers , a carefully selected set of dispensers as "The Emotions of Spray Collection" based on market research that suggested product interaction can enhance a consumer’s emotional connection and drive brand loyalty. Anne Echard, WestRock's Global Product Line Manager for the Fragrance market, tells us a bit about the Melodie Touch™ dispenser and its role in the fragrance application ritual.
Anne, what is your position at WestRock?
I'm the Global Product Line Manager for the Fragrance market. That means that I'm the bridge between our sales team and our customers, I help guide the sales team's efforts. I'm also in charge of the manufacturing footprint of our fragrance items all over the world, in Mexico, Brazil, Milan, Barcelona, and other places. I get to study our customer requests and run through them with our technical team to develop the project and ensure the client gets our best offering, something tailored to their needs. I collaborate with the sales team to make sure they have the right tools when they're selling, so when the time comes to developing the project, we have everything we need to dive right in.
Do you also have an effect on product R&D?
To a degree. I'm currently working out of Barcelona and that's where we have one of our primary R&D centres, so it makes it easy to pass on learnings to our designers and engineers. That way, I can also pass on important information to our sales team to help with customer visits. I'm usually present as a marketing voice, supporting launches, developing communication strategies, going to shows, that sort of thing.
Do you manage a team?
I interface with many different teams and simply ensure that as a marketing voice, those teams are all moving in convert, heading in the same direction. Each team has a specific role to play, but we are part of the same company.
Switching to products, where does WestRock develop products now?
We have concurrent efforts running in different places, but we have our fragrance centre of expertise in Barcelona. We have a lot of European customers in the fragrance space. The fragrance market is mostly European, actually. It's convenient for us to develop fragrance dispensers and manufacture them in Europe, due to logistics, but we have many centres all over.
How does development normally occur?
We believe in creating dispensing solutions that actually solve something. To that end, we conduct market research projects where we actually speak to people and we find out what they really prefer: what problems they encounter, what affects their experience with a product. Consumers know what a good or bad spray is to them, and repurchase is often based on how they use it. Whether it makes noise, if it sprays too much - WestRock studies how consumers actually interact with the dispenser.
That led to the Emotions of Spray Collection, correct?
Yes, we took a lot of the data we compiled and we were able to translate that into a collection that genuinely reflected dispensing solutions based on the emotions involved when used. Believe it or not, we learned that connecting with the consumer happened on an emotional level. People feel different things when they use different dispensers. By informing brands of our revelations, we were able to do something nobody had previously, which was to deliver a far more personal experience to the consumer that reflected the personality of the brand and its product. All through a dispenser!
Was the Melodie line part of the Emotions of Spray Collection?
Yes, it was specifically developed for prestige brands. Dispensing with Melodie was very targeted and focused, especially designed for brands that want excellent quality from a small and innocuous dispenser. The dispenser was paired with our patented and highly popular invisible dip tube, called NoC®. Something we learned when we did our market research was that consumers didn't like to see the appearance of their prestige fragrance marred by the appearance of a dip tube in the middle of the bottle, so we invented and marketed one that is invisible.
What sort of emotions does the Melodie Touch convey?
Like I said, the spray reflects the personality of the brand. The Melodie line has a number of options. If the company wants to resonate with consumers who prefer discrete sprays or the brand needs to communicate its exuberance, you can create a spray to reflect the personality of the brand. A lot of emotions are brought out in the ritual of putting on a fragrance. Melodie Touch is an extension of this, a new possibility for matching a spray with an occasion, a feature rather than a personality. We created Melodie Touch as a part of the Melodie line to serve the growing need for discretion in a small dosage format. It makes the experience more personal. There's a growing trend to apply fragrance on the go, and people prefer to use small sprayers to do it. The size is perfect for use in public and for touch ups. We learned that consumers don't want to be noticed when they use a fragrance outside of the house, so they didn't want a large cloud of perfume around them. Also, they needed something that wouldn't over-apply. Melodie Touch offers very discrete reapplication, it's quite small and controlled, the spray is very directed.
We're also seeing a market trend in fragrances where many firms are offering concentrated scents and very strong formulations. Melodie Touch is perfect for dispensing elixirs, it's a quick and miniature dose that allows the consumer to apply the stronger formula but still keeping control, not over-applying. It's a unique and consistent 30 microlitre dose. A larger sprayer could saturate. Applying a fragrance, as I said, is a ritual, it leads to a transformation. It's an emotional bridge the consumer crosses, changing once the fragrance is applied. Don't you feel different when you apply a favourite scent?
Of course. It's the same sort of thing as putting on a really nice suit.
Exactly. The transformation occurs when the product is used. Since Melodie Touch is designed for small format items, the engagement with the dispenser is very close. It's held close to the body and used discretely, it's a private and luxurious moment. As such, the consumer develops an intimate relationship with the fragrance application ritual and by extension the items that are used, in this case the dispenser and product.
That's the emotional experience. What about the rational?
Well, it's attractive to the head as well as the heart. Functionality is key. The dispenser, for example, evacuates the product completely. That appeals to consumers, they've paid a fair amount of money for a luxury product and they want to feel they've spent their money wisely. They want to extract all of the product, it's frustrating to people to use something and not be able to get to all of it. Part of our design process involves eliminating as many pain points as possible. Less than complete dispensing is a negative experience. Over-application is negative. Large, profuse doses are negative, well, for this size sprayer, in other cases it might be desirable.
What sort of companies will benefit from Melodie Touch?
Prestige brands. Prestige brands in the fragrance space that want to provide the sort of experience Melodie Touch offers. WestRock does a lot of work to delve into the needs of the brand to figure out what is required. Ultimately, the brand owners know their customers better than anyone, so its a process. We help brands, but they make the decisions based on the learnings. We offer our own data and all of our experience, and they really appreciate the level of detail we get into. We show the options available, and we can back up our recommendations with vast amounts of data. We provide the ability to offer consumers an excellent experience. Melodie Touch is glamorous and highly customizable with regard to decoration options, and brands are often eager to infuse their personality into the dispensing solution they choose. Melodie Touch is all about the experience which drives repurchase and brand loyalty.
When will Melodie Touch be available?
We'll be unveiling it at Luxe Pack Monaco, and it will be available in Q4 of 2016. We've seen the luxury market evolve favourably over the last few years, and Melodie has been a part of that success story. Melodie Touch is another option that brands may select, I'm sure it will lead to new partnerships and contribute to strengthening existing ones!