Linda G. Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation, moderated a panel discussion titled, “Italian Fragrances & the U.S.: The Opportunity for Growth,” focusing on strategies for marketing, distributing and promoting Italian fragrance brands in the U.S.
On the panel were Alessandra Giansanti-Zorlas, vice president of marketing & public relations, EuroItaly; Ambra Martone, board member of ICR Industrie Cosmetiche Riunite, and president of Accademia del Profumo; and Jordan Saxemard, marketing director, Gucci Beauty (Coty Inc.).
Maurizio Forte, Italian Trade Commissioner in New York, opened the session by welcoming guests. Levy began the discussion by asking the panelists, “What makes Italian brands so special?”
“The aesthetic sensibility that permeates most of our daily life, from the beauty of our land, to the historical architecture of our cities, to our passion for clothing, and food…This culture of beauty that we ‘breathe’ from an early age naturally translates into our design, fashion, food— and fragrances,” Martone replied. She continued, “Italians are passionate people…we like unique fragrances, those that stand out with their personality.”
Giansanti-Zorlas added, “Americans love everything Italian. There are many ways we can share our passion for Italian fragrances and form close partnerships with U.S. consumers.”
The American Market Is Extremely Competitive, Italians Say
When Levy asked how the U.S. market differs, Giansanti-Zorlas explained that the retail culture is different here. “The U.S. is much more promotional…and retailer specific. You cannot just create a fragrance, put it on the counter and think it will sell itself,” she said.
Levy followed up by asking what a brand would need to do to support the launch of a new fragrance in the U.S., and Giansanti-Zorlas said this is the greatest challenge for Italian brands.
“You can, of course, have the best product—but in the U.S., this is not enough,” she said. “You need to be creative…strategize your launch with your retail partners…layer additional advertising in the form of print, scented print, digital and social,” she explained.
Giansanti-Zorlas also remarked that the U.S. is “extremely competitive,” and when Levy asked what “top tips” she would give Italian brands looking to compete here, she joked, “Don’t do it.”
All kidding aside, her advice was to combine a great product with passion, perseverance, and patience—along with planning a 12 month to 3-year strategy. Last, she said, “Know the industry, and educate the market on your brand story.”
The Italian Beauty Council (IBC) is an advisory group created to support the “Beauty Made in Italy” program. IBC was launched by the Italian Trade Commission and Cosmetica Italia with a mission to promote “the awareness, availability and excellence of Italian beauty brands and products to the U.S. market and consumer.”