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How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Sex-centric marketing of bygone days is making way for a storytelling landscape in which perfume notes take center stage.

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

“Slow” fragrance brand Ffern’s Spring 24 fragrance, which retails for $129 and features rhubarb and citrus notes.

Let the (fragrance) notes be heard — and seen.

In stark contrast to fragrance marketing’s long-standing, sex-centric M.O., many of the category’s buzziest brands today are leaning into perfume notes as the champions of their storytelling efforts.

Case in point: Kayali’s smoky Instagram rollout of its recent Oudgasm collection; the bright-orange feed takeover inaugurating Parfums de Marly’s new bergamot-infused Perseus fragrance, and a fusion of AI-generated, plus real in-store pumpkin installations indicating the launch of a new pumpkin candle by South Korea’s Tamburins, the top-trending fragrance brand on Instagram in March (and February), per Mintoiro.

“You don’t see a lot of [social media’s] top-performing brands engaging in that, ‘oh — if you wear this fragrance you’ll attract the opposite sex’ kind of messaging anymore,’ said founder Jennifer Carlsson, noting that storytelling remains core to fragrance marketing, but in the case of niche fragrance brands it more often takes the form of “playing up the fragrance notes, and framing the fragrance as for yourself and making you feel good.”

Ffern, the 2017-founded “slow” fragrance brand which sells via seasonal drops, exemplifies this approach. More than they depict people or even perfume flacons, the brand’s most recent Instagram posts feature rhubarb stalk and white hyacinth flower portraiture — main notes in the brand’s new Spring 24 Organic Eau de Parfum drop.

Though much is said about TikTok‘s burgeoning fragrance community — otherwise known as PerfumeTok — Instagram still takes the cake in terms of where fragrance companies are focusing their brand-building and creative efforts. Mintoiro data indicates far fewer fragrance brands have actually established an owned presence on TikTok in comparison to their makeup and skin care counterparts.

This is in part due to time — “It’s just been a standard that brands should be on Instagram for longer” — as well as the cadence of fragrance launches versus that of other beauty categories: “fragrance moves more slowly; it’s also more expensive, and there are more Millennials than Gen Z on Instagram, while TikTok has a younger demographic on average,” Carlsson said.

The top-trending fragrance brands on Instagram in March, based on engagement, follower growth and reach, per Mintoiro.

1. Tamburins

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Tamburins Pumkini Egg Perfume

2. Nuancielo

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Nuancielo Majesty Deo Parfum

3. Parfums de Marly

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Parfums de Marly Perseus

4. Xerjoff

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Xerjoff Alexandria III

5. Kilian

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Kilian Forbidden Games Eau de Parfum

6. Laverne

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Blue Laverne Tiger Eau de Parfum

7. Ffern

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Ffern Spring 24

8. House of Silage

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

House of Silage Hauts Bijoux Parfum

9. Adopt

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Adopt Wonderful Eau de Parfum

10. Kayali

How Niche Fragrance Brands Are Evolving the Category’s Marketing — and Taking Over Instagram in the Process

Kayali Eden Sparkling Lychee

Tags

  • fragrance
  • tiktok

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