Mr. Preston, 46, left Wisconsin in 1987 to join a family business in Arizona. But in 1993, he took another post in consumer products, this time with Dial Corp., where he has made his career working first as a product manager for Renuzit, Glade's rival.
Glade still holds about 56.4% share of the home air freshener category, but sales of Renuzit were up 17.4% to $141.6 million in the 52 weeks ended March 26, according to Information Resources Inc. The increase added 2 share points to give Renuzit a 22.3% share of the home air freshener category.
Renuzit Aromasense aerosol spray, launched in 1999, followed Aromasense candles, launched in 1998, all backed by print ads from DDB Worldwide, New York.
"We really picked up on the aromatherapy positioning several years ago, and while we're not pinning all our hopes on it, we were ahead of the curve," says Mr. Preston, now a marketing director for the brand.
Other package-goods marketers have since moved the aromatherapy concept into everything from fabric softener to hand soap. And fragrance trends, which have always moved from fine fragrance to home care, are developing faster all the time, Mr. Preston says.
"We're watching the same trends everyone else is," he says, "and part of our success is to . . . respond to consumer preferences faster."