You may have noticed that brands refresh their packaging much more frequently than before. The most noticeable, in the last 4-5 years, the market speed of refitting the packaging seems to play an important role in brand activity, overall.
Advancement in technology and social networking expose consumers to new things at an alert pace – people expect a certain level of change all the time. Rather than keeping the same packaging for years or even decades, many brands act more promptly, balancing between the need to keep familiarity and the need to stay relevant through change.
The high refresh rate of the packaging brings return investment (ROI) in discussion. While ROI is difficult to measure, being related to branding in terms of packaging, the cost of non-sparing over time can easily be greater than that of refilling the packaging. Below are some ideas that can help you get the most out of your packaging design:
Packaging should not be a one-time project. Packaging plays an essential role in defining the brand and making it relevant on the market, where everything is happening at an alert pace. Revitalizing a brand packaging presents opportunities for new or existing brands to get out of anonymity and shine. Many companies evaluate the packaging only when their brand is about to fall or when a new variant is about to be launched. Do not think of refilling the packaging as a project that will end at a certain time; Instead, “packaging evolution” should be a regular conversation and a strategic choice as your brand strategy evolves.
Defend your brand on its essence. Redesigning a package requires brands to be very clear about the values they possess and the ones they want to have, so that they can remain consistent in substance and offer consumer relevance at the same time. The packaging structure and graphics are intertwined and sometimes offer the only things that differentiate the brand. Support from branding or packaging can help identify and strengthen brand values. Whether this includes the brand’s evolution or just those values that bring the benefits of the product to life, partners can help you stay true to your brand’s essence, while injecting novelty elements to it.
Go minimalist. Consumers are over-saturated and do not have time to stick to your brand. If your packaging is too complicated, the consumer will move on in just seconds. Simple ideas are best understood by consumers, when you do not have millions invested in marketing, to explain the big idea or the meaning behind. Starting with effective creation and effective communication priorities (ECP). Branding teams often create briefs where seven to ten (or many) effective communication priorities for a small label are listed. Consumers are lost after three, so make sure to prioritize the most important aspects of your brand. You can add the other details on the packaging or on the back labels – or, better still, on other media sources.
Take time to inspire yourself. Market trends play an essential role in assisting designers to extract what’s relevant today. It’s important to follow what’s happening outside of your category for inspiration. For example, if you are a consumer of packaged goods, look at the car industry or architecture, for ideas on how the structure can bring a pack to life; and fashion can inspire motifs, textures and color palettes. Overlapping trends with brand core values is a way to keep your brand relevant.
Applications in real life
To bring to life how these concepts can be put into practice, consider how Landor has recently designed and refreshed the following packaging for customers:
MiO: Creating a new brand. Rarely, the chance to create a new brand in a new category is like winning the lottery in the brand and packaging worlds. Creative teams love to imagine what it would be like to explore different scenarios that challenge consumers. It’s much easier to measure ROI packaging if you create a new brand or category. If you start from scratch, very few external activities can eclipse those numbers. In the case of new brands, they do not have a lifetime of years to form consumer perceptions.
With MiO, a liquid water enhancer, used to give the flavor of drinks, Landor set out to create a brand that will quickly gain iconic status. With very little space for branding on small packaging, the great idea was to activate the MiO promise and transmit the brand storyline through a powerful “M” graph.
The newly created brand identity has been brought to life through a suggestive design through structure and graphics delivery that worked to define the brand. In the first year of its launch, MiO exceeded all expectations and Kraft Foods had another brand of $100 million. ROI as a result of the packaging seems to be quite clear.
Gervalia: Expanding a Brand for a New Distribution. For a brand that has been around for more than 100 years, refreshing the packaging can be a daunting task. Gervalia had to understand its values, and Landor saw an opportunity in which they probe in the depth of the brand’s legacy to find visual territories that would bring the brand’s story to life.
Landor’s design team explored various brand stories and packaging design options. For Gervalia, the high quality of coffee was not the case, and the Swedish legacy was a launching ramp for the great idea. And for that value of history, the whole identity and appearance, the tone and the sense of brand have been changed.
Even the colors of the brand (yellow and blue) were inspired by the Swedish flag. Designers have used illustrations to evoke the modern and traditional elements of Sweden and the source countries for coffee beans. For example, French folk traditions are honored with French french graphics; Colombian coffee comes in a bag representing a clay house, representative of Colombian dwellings. Never before, on the packaging, a brand has taken advantage of its inheritance and coffee-rich culture.
Sour Patch: Refresh an iconic brand to stay relevant. Some brands do this to fight imitations, others refresh only when they introduce a new variant. Sour Patch has refreshed its packaging to avoid showing it as other products and to inspire a new life for the brand. Before the project started, the team searched for brand values by identifying what is important to partners. They allocated a time to understand how the brand differs from competitors and how it does not differ.
Landor helped reinforce brand values and created a new casting for choosing Sour Patch characters. In early marketing phases, the Sour Patch graphical system appears to be convincing on the shelf and will attract consumers during the first moment of truth.
Adopting either the decision to refresh the packaging to a small extent or to make a major change depends on the health of the brand. We often see brands that have fallen over the years, but are still reluctant to implement a new packaging design. Today, brands need to move forward to remain relevant. If you think of your branding as a lifestyle and breathing through which the product is brought to life, the continued evolution of the packaging makes ROI sense.