A&E Interviews CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo Parfums

Lindsay Judge   |   05 - 06 - 2018

 

In a market saturated with so many new fragrances, being a unique and memorable scent is not easy.

 

While others invest in advertising and communication, Salvatore Ferragamo Parfums are staying true to their brand and investing in a quality product. Luckily for them it seems to work. They’re taking raw ingredients from the home country of Italy, as well as keeping all production, manufacturing and product testing in Italy as well.

 

The new fragrance Amo Ferragamo is targeted at a younger more technology savvy audience than their other products, which means applying a very different marketing strategy to what they are used to. Luciano Bertinelli, CEO of Ferragamo Parfums is at the forefront of developing new products. Having worked in the fragrance world for over twenty years, (plus another twenty before that working in luxury fashion) he knows the market better than anyone. What is fascinating is his excitement and eagerness to embrace change. He recognizes that we are in an evolving world, and sees his task as embracing those changes while keeping the heritage and values of an iconic brand.

 

How does Amo Ferragamo differ from other fragrances the brand has created?

Not so much the fragrance is different but the concept. When we developed the concept we were looking for first of all a new target market. With our previous fragrances we were able to appeal to an age group of 35 and above, but with this project we tried to reach a younger target – let’s say millennials. So what we tried to develop, especially from a communication point of view, is a lot of material to be used on social, online, to target this audience. In terms of the fragrance it is part of the oriental floral family, it gives you a kind of addiction due to the bitter accord. We always use an Italian accord. We love to use products and material from Italy. It’s not always easy but when it’s possible we do it. The different market is responding very well everywhere. The response has been very enthusiastic and we are about to launch the product around the rest of the region. Then we have to wait to see what the results are!

 

You mentioned that you’re going to be marketing this fragrance in different ways to previous launches, is this a reflection of the target audience?

Yes. Of course we have a traditional campaign that you can see with Suki Waterhouse. But this is maybe a single page, a very simple piece. What we have this time is a lot of digital material. To be honest this is the first time that we have done that. We have a lot of some 10-second peels as we call them, we have imagery for Instagram. We are ready to invest on Spotify, in key people, socialites etc. This is absolutely fundamental to the campaign.

 

There are a lot of key ingredients in this scent can you tell us your reasoning behind them?

To create a fragrance you cannot put just one accord this doesn’t work. You cannot put only rose for example because it’s not really a fragrance. So you need to put different accords. In our case we decided to play with raw material from Italy. We used jasmine. A classic flower that is very sensual. Then we have vanilla, that gives you the sweetness in order to give all the addiction that we want to transmit.

 

Why did you choose Suki Waterhouse in particular to be the face of the fragrance?

First of all, she is nice looking! That’s a good start! She’s also an actress, she can sing, and she is very active on social media. She has 1.3 million followers. Also she’s quite young which matches the audience that we are targeting. So all of these reasons made us come to decide that she is the right person. Suki goes in the direction of what we are trying to promote for the campaign.

 

 

When should a woman wear this fragrance?

When we develop and start to think about a fragrance we never say ‘use in the morning or in the summer or only at night when you go to the theatre’. This is a daily fragrance that can be worn any time. Of course when it’s very, very hot maybe it’s not the best as it’s not a fresh scent, but this is normal. Daily you can use it quite easily.

 

What’s the story behind the bottle design?

The bottle is an interesting story. Every time we develop a fragrance bottle we try to link our products with the core basis of the brand which is fashion. We have a long history, and we have a lot of symbols that we use in our fashion products which we try to bring through to our fragrances. On the top of the bottle is the zig zag that we use in the fashion side of the brand in shoes and bags. So we try to take this and apply it to the bottle. We try to tell a story. The zig zag is actually engraved in the glass so it is really incredible work and something that is not easy to do. This is the reason why it is made in Italy because in Italy we can do it well. It requires a high level of technology.

 

Amo means ‘I love’ in Italian why did you choose this?

It is a joke that we like it because Amo is the end of Ferragamo. But this fragrance is not a love story. In fact it is the story of a lady who is a real lady that lives the life. So Amo is just to start as it represents more the idea of loving life than being in love.

 

Did you always want to be involved in the luxury fragrance industry?

I am of course the CEO of the company and 100 per cent involved in every step of the products. I started many years ago in the luxury industry and the I decided to move to the fragrance business. So it is something I have always done. I want to tell you, the industry now is full of change. More and more now it is really difficult to develop something that is unique in its characteristics. That is my challenge and why I do what I do.

 

For you what makes the perfect scent?

There is no perfect fragrance but you need to be able to live with a scent. For me something can be perfect, but for someone else completely different. It depends on the skin, your PH value, the weather outside even your mood. There is no one fragrance for life it changes all the time.

 

 

With so many fashion brands creating fragrance how do you stay unique?

Every year there are around 600 new products, that’s two a day, can you imagine?! So you need to invest money in communication or in products. We more and more strategically invest our money in the best quality products.

 

What do you think Salvatore Ferragamo offers that other brands don’t?

We work on quality. We work on the fact that everything is made in Italy. We put attention on details. We really invest money in the raw material. Everything we use is the highest level. This really makes the difference between us and the other brands as they are ready to invest in communication but we invest in the product.

 

What do you think makes a fragrance ‘iconic’?

As I mentioned there are 600 fragrance launches per year. So if you survive after three or four years you start to become a ‘classic’. Maybe the first time you buy the product it’s because of the brand, but the second time because of the scent. So if you buy it a second time it means you are starting to become loyal. We have some classics already in our portfolio and I guess that Amo can be a great success in the future.

 

What’s the process you go through to find the perfect scent?

I am involved in the concept of the fragrance but we work with technicians to create the scent. What I can tell you is that it’s a long process. To develop this fragrance it took nine months. There is a constant back and forth between us (the brand) and the fragrance house during those months. Every time we smell it there is something different that we try to adjust. We sometimes test the initial fragrance in some markets before we take it elsewhere.

 

Which markets are currently particularly important to your growth?

I have to tell you the truth: China. China is an amazing market. There are in China 150 million millennials and there are 650 million people using a telephone. So do I need to say any more? Of course there are many markets that are important but China, you must be there!

 

How do you feel about the fragrance market in the Middle East?

The Middle East is unique. It’s not a huge market, it represents about 6 or 7 per cent, which is a good number. It’s not a huge market but it’s an important market. It’s fundamental. The Middle East likes two things. Very spicy and strong fragrances, and secondly very precious fragrances. We actually have a new collection that we are going to launch this summer called Tuscan Creation. I don’t want to say it is specially made for you but it is very Middle East orientated.

 

 

Would you ever consider creating a fragrance that is exclusive to the Middle East?

To be honest I don’t like to develop something that is specific for each country or region. We are the brand and we have our strategy and approach. Ok sometimes we try to follow the market, but we need to be true to what we do. We are present in 120 countries with our fragrance so can you imagine to diversify it would be impossible. Sometimes we do give a small touch but all in all we like to perform globally.

 

You’ve worked in this industry for a long time – what would you say is your highlight?

I started many years ago in the luxury business. The thing for me is that now that world is really changing so fast. Five years ago, not even twenty years ago just five, the world was really different. After 20 years in the fragrance business, for the first time with Amo we are developing a lot of digital material. So every year there is a lot of newness and change and this is what I find most interesting. Trying to follow the changing market and also anticipating what is going to happen next.

 

What do you anticipate happening in the next few years in the industry?

It is really not too easy to plan honestly. But more and more in terms of fragrance, people are looking for quality. Quality materials. We are also going into an environmentally friendly world so we need to care about that. This is I guess one trend that I think will affect the fragrance industry. As well as digital, it will become more and more.

 

 

And for Amo, what is the future?

We need to wait a few weeks to see what happens as the fragrance launches in all markets. So far it has been very interesting and more than my expectations so I am optimistic.

 

What for you is luxury?

For me luxury is free time! I would love to have more free time. And I think that is the case for a lot of people now.

 

What do you do with your time off?

I really like to relax. I go to the countryside or seaside in Italy. It is a magical place. I switch off my telephone and I try to enjoy it as much as possible and relax.

 

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