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  • Posted by: Christine Sech on Monday, September 8 2014 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

    Package Sustainability

    “From packaging to store concepts, there is a clear shift in all consumer mindsets towards a common standard of less processing or wastefulness. Brands that don’t adhere will be left behind," noted Fleur Gadd, Senior Research Executive at The Big Picture. (Stylus: Eco-Ethical-Sustainable, 8 Nov 2013)

    For eco-conscious consumers, environmental altruism has been the key motivator driving their behaviors. While leaving the world in a better place remains the core desire, consumers recognize that less wastefulness also yields financial savings. This dual advantage has helped accelerate and broaden interest in sustainability among new consumer groups.

    Couple this insight with the efforts of municipal governments and green bloggers encouraging people to think twice about their waste footprint and this has resulted in a stronger foundation for Precycling. 

    Making up thirty percent of the US's solid waste stream, packaging is the most visible environmental offender. Sustainability trailblazers are rethinking, and even eliminating, traditional package formats to tackle the triple bottom line head on.

    A World Without Packaging?

    The idea of eliminating packaging from the customer journey is pretty scary, but, oftentimes, change can create opportunity. An obvious question arises: “If products are sold outside of a primary packaging, how can brands make up for the loss of a touchpoint that for many is the primary driver of brand awareness and brand loyalty?”

    Rethinking a brand’s business model is one answer. Can the brand switch to a durable, refillable model to reduce waste? Can its primary packaging be utilized as a reusable container for bulk and quantity control formats? And if so, how can this durable container become an even better vehicle for branding than the one that’s discarded?

    Another strategy is ensuring that key visual brand assets live on in the usage experience. If primary packaging disappears, how can ownable elements like the logo, colors and shapes, be applied to the product itself to reinforce brand association? Additionally, can aspects of the usage experience itself become more proprietary to create a link back to brand?

    Heightening the role of point-of-sale is an additional consideration. Is there a sponsorship opportunity for the bulk food area to pursue in order to maintain a presence? Can the labeling of products in this area be more emotive and branded?

    Mixed Recycling

    Governments unpacking the Zero Waste Challenge

    While recycling has been effective to a certain degree, it requires time, energy, resources, and commitment. Thus, from Scotland to New Zealand, governments are instituting Zero Waste concepts and partnering with environmental organizations to influence communities and businesses. Read more on SF Environment and Upstream.

    On the Leading Edge

    Retailers, Brands, and Innovations – check out how these precycling trailblazers are rethinking retail environments and packaging in the context of Zero Waste.

    In.gredients grocery store in Austin, TX aims to reduce waste through reusable and compostable containers. Most items are sold in a bulk format so consumers just pay for the weight of the product.

    LunchSkins strives to reduce the lunch footprint through environmentally friendly reusable food storage bags. 

    Martek Food System has leveraged learning from bulk food and launched self-serve dispensing systems for pet food retailers.

    Monosol creates water soluble films, compounds, and solutions for a variety of products from coffee to personal care. 

    There’s much to consider and more to learn on this trend. We’ll definitely be monitoring its impact on consumer behavior and triple bottom lines.

    Interested in talking about the next generation for your packaging? Connect with Interbrand Cincinnati here and follow them on Twitter at @InterbrandCinci.

    Christine Sech is the Director of Strategy and Research at Interbrand Cincinnati. 

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  • Posted by: Nicole Heise on Tuesday, April 1 2014 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

    Borja presentation packaging summit 

    This year's ENG Packaging Summit in Madrid marked milestones in the history of ENG and Interbrand Spain, both celebrating 10th anniversaries. Borja Borrero, Executive Creative Director EMEA (Western Europe) & Latin America at Interbrand chaired the summit, which focused on the future of packaging. He was joined by numerous leading brands, including Coca-Cola, adidas, Heineken, Nestlé, and Colgate Palmolive.

    The focus of the conference was to discuss new challenges for packaging design, looking specifically at design management, sustainability, enhanced functionality, and consumer engagement. Helping to open up that conversation, Els Dijkhuizen, Concept Development Manager at Heineken, gave a presentation called, "How to stay appealing and cool without ever changing the product." Dijkhuizen stressed how crucial a role design plays for Heineken, since the product could not be changed: "If you want to be successful, you have to invest in innovative design!" For Heineken, an innovative design strategy is about connecting, involving, and engaging.

    Ana Isabel Terrés Hernández, Group Packaging Manager at DIA, one of the biggest discount retailers in the world and a current client of Interbrand Madrid, explained the importance of customizing its brands in the different Latin American countries where it operates. By targeting the local identity in each region, DIA is able to engage with its clients on a more personal and meaningful level.

    The concept of “inclusive design” in packaging was also introduced during the presentation by Ross Taylor, Senior Designer R&D at Nestlé. According to Taylor, making things easier for customers by introducing small changes to packaging adds value to the final product. Since user-centered design contributes to an overall richer customer experience, thoughtful packaging enhancements tend to drive preference as well. While something as obvious as making products easy to open and close might seem like a design no-brainer, Taylor illustrated, through numerous examples, that user-friendliness is not always the priority it should be. Building on this idea, Emilie Martory, International Marketing Manager at Nestlé Waters France, acknowledged that Nestlé knew it would lose consumers every day if they couldn't open a bottle of water easily. Whether considering the general public—which usually prefers fast and easy over complicated—or people with special needs such as the elderly or visually impaired, customer-centered convenience packaging will only become more important as the pace of life quickens and aging populations grow.

    Ross Taylor Nestle packaging summit 

    In world that is becoming more digital by the day, consumers have unprecedented opportunities to research, compare, discuss, and discern. With this shift, businesses are under more pressure to differentiate their products and strengthen their identities. For that reason, the role of packaging has evolved as a driver of business. It is "the expression of the soul of the product," as Apivita’s Head of Sustainability, Anagnosti Choukalas, put it so beautifully. It is that image—the product in its package—that enables people to connect with the brand in person and via other channels, including social media.

    However, placing the packaging issue in a broader context, Interbrand’s Borja Borrero stressed the importance of taking a holistic view in branding, reminding attendees that packaging is only one of multiple consumer touchpoints with the brand. Although it is often one of the most relevant touchpoints (as is the case in FMCG), “packaging should not be understood in an isolated manner, but as part of a holistic ‘brand story’ that expresses through all touchpoints (advertising, web, promotions, etc.),” Borrero said. He also emphasized that it’s important to be aware of “key packaging trends such as the eco-digital approach, where no extra packaging is used unless absolutely necessary, as well as broader trends such as the hyperpersonalization of products and services and more dynamic forms of storytelling, such as ‘liquid content.’” “Dynamic storytelling,” Borrero asserted, “will become ever more important in the post-digital world. Attracting and engaging consumers with narratives that are unified across platforms (from analog to digital) will be essential to helping consumers identify and properly value the packaging proposal offered when they reach the shopping aisle.”

    The summit’s overall message was that product packaging in 2014 has to stand out, convey a story, and create meaningful connections, all within an ever-shrinking window of time. "Speed is the new currency," as Till Schütte, Coca-Cola’s former European Head of Design, put it. Therefore, it is time to start re-thinking packaging.

    Packaging Design needs a (flexible) system, must allow for consistency and customization, and must be approached with sustainability in mind. Remember, the pack is the brand in your hand. What does it reflect? Business as usual? Or innovation? Dig deeper to figure out how you can make your packaging work harder for your brand.

    By adopting a more inclusive, user-focused approach and creating an effective packaging design system for complex brand architectures and product lines, brands can achieve deeper engagement with consumers and future-proof their businesses.

    As Nestlé’s Ross Taylor summed it up, packaging is "all about connecting with people who are using it." In a world that is shaping up to be increasingly collaborative and co-creative, this is precisely where the focus of package design should be. Borrero concludes, “More than ever before, within this digital context, where B2C has evolved to B&C, businesses and consumers want to find relevant solutions for packaging while bearing in mind the social responsibility they now share.”

    Nicole Heise is a Business Development Manager, New Business, Interbrand Hamburg

    Angela Rodrigo is a Communication Coordinator, Marketing/New Business, Interbrand Madrid

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  • Posted by: Interbrand London on Tuesday, February 11 2014 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

    At Interbrand, we believe that "brand-led design," where brand and design are approached together, does more than create effective design – it creates brand and business value.

    Andy PayneWe are aware of design all around us, from the chairs we sit on and the phones in our pockets, to the cars we drive and even the welcome that we are (sometimes) given in a hotel. But what we want to focus on is brand-led design. It is this "branded" element to that product, service or experience that makes its design recognisable and attributable. Not every mobile is an iPhone, not every coat is a Burberry Trench, not every coffee is a Starbucks and not every car is a Volvo. Each of these relies on far more than just a logo for their recognition. Their shape, form and function have been designed with their specific brand in mind.

    To explore this in more detail, we have started to look at the extent to which consumers "value" this brand-led design and in turn, how this translates into brand and business value. One of the most important ways that brands create financial value is through their influence on the purchase decision. Strong brands encourage trial and, through the brand experience, engender loyalty and repeat purchase. Interbrand’s brand valuation methodology captures the influence of brand on choice through its "Role of Brand" analysis, which quantifies this influence using market research and statistic modelling techniques.

    We employed the same techniques to focus on the impact of design on consumer choice for a client in the mobile and smartphones market and found that design-related purchase criteria made up 30% of the total decision to purchase the handset. The study also showed that improvements in design could generate up to a 13% increase in likelihood to purchase (all other factors being equal). To put this into context, more than 1.8bn mobile handsets were sold worldwide last year. The better the design, the more it serves to reinforce the brand, meaning the bigger your share of the market, the bigger your business and the more valuable, ultimately, your brand.

    In the same vein, it seems to state that bad design can ladder up negatively to the overall brand. Without a brand influencing the design, it risks straying to the functional or the inconsistent. Similarly, this applies to a brand tampering with its prized design equity. For example, Tropicana’s decision in 2009 to remove the beloved and widely-recognised equity of an orange with a straw in it from their packaging resulted in a 19% drop in market share for the brand. After just one month on the shelves, the old packaging was re-introduced, as customers struggled to navigate through products and rallied against the modifications to their beloved brand. This example shows the importance and the impact of design; design equities previously established and appreciated by the audience and strongly associated with the product were lost in transition.

    Take the obvious, but all-round exemplary example of Apple, whose innovative, flawless and intuitive design is undoubtedly led by its core brand values. The unmistakeable design is recognised the world over; the brand is truly brought to life through design. Indeed, the brand in this instance is design. The same applies to other less obvious contenders too, as more and more businesses understand its pivotal importance. GSK has stated publicly that they are looking to push design across their portfolio of brands from a function of marketing to a strategic lever and enabler for the business across multiple touch points.

    It can be concluded that brand-led design is fundamental to brand value. The common thread throughout this perception of design and brand is that a strengthened and harmonious interweaving of the two and subsequent seat at the heart of a business results in higher overall economic value. Understanding and acting upon this is crucial to forging the desired association of design with a particular brand and of a particular brand with a design.

    There are three fundamental elements to delivering brand-led design. It must start with a business clearly defining its brand. Without this firmly in place, design can lack its foundation and consistency. To build and strengthen this, the business needs a clear design philosophy that reflects the brand and can adapt as needed over time. In essence, it then comes down to how the brand uses this philosophy to guide and influence brand activities to create a strong and valuable whole. In equal measure, the brand itself will guide the design; a symbiotic relationship working at its best.

    With contributions from Andy Payne, Sue Daun, Max Raison and Julia Bland.


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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Monday, February 3 2014 05:45 PM | Comments (0)
    Bart Laube

    In this second installment of our two-part interview, Interbrand talks design technique and advice with Bart Laube, Senior Designer, Interbrand Cincinnati.

    Interbrand: Do you have a favorite technique?

    Laube: I normally take a Mechanical pencil with HB lead in it and loosely draw on velum a rough layout of what I am trying to draw. Proportions have to be in place before you can move on because you are not going to know more later than you know right now. So figure out proportions and layout now.

    Bart Laube DesignThen I lay another piece of vellum on top of that and lay in more final lines. I usually scan that in and get input from who ever is involved in the project to make sure the content and message is clear. The goal is always to communicate without words to anyone who sees it.

    Another technique is to start with pencil on illustration board or copier paper, then ink final lines over top of it with a Pentel Sign Pen. Then erase all the pencil and you end up with a clean black line. I recently bought a Pentel Brush Pen. This creates wonderful lines with lots of character. Great for script type and variable line weights.

    Sometimes a rough look is what is needed so that scan will be ok. For a cleaner drawing I trace the scan in Illustrator to create paths and add color and shading.

    I also work in various natural media. The process is basically the same, but I can use watercolors and colored pencils to fill in color. I have used oil paints, but they are pretty messy to use in an office environment.

    Interbrand: What advice would you give to designers who may want to include handcraft into their process?

    Laube: This is probably the best time to try handwork. The trend has really swung away from tight computer drawings to more rough looking work. So include a "natural" concept in your range of work. What is the worst that can happen? Give it a shot.

    Bart Laube SketchDraw numbers, letters, things on your desk, your friends or your dog. Five minutes. 30 seconds. Just draw anything that inspires you. If you can't think of what it looks like, write the words out. Then make them cool. Let yourself enjoy it. Draw out your dreams. Your fears. No one has to see it. Draw for yourself.

    Collect anything you like to look at. Make a folder called inspiration on your desktop; drop jpgs in there of anything you like. Then save it.

    Collect your drawings in a sketchbook. It’s fun to see where your head was at at any given point in time. This will inspire you to keep improving. Leonardo Di Vinci has some pretty interesting sketchbooks.

    Interbrand: What resources would you recommend for designers who would like to learn more?

    Laube: If you want to get in on the action check out Threadless.com. It features all hand drawn t-shirts and you can have your own drawing submitted to be made into t-shirts. There is a giant community of people there who are excited about drawing.

    For a basic understanding of hand lettering check out Ross F. George’s Speedball Textbook for Pen and Brush Lettering. For drawing people, check out Andrew Loomis’ book Figure Drawing for All It's Worth. Any pre 70s Andrew Loomis book is going to be pretty helpful. They have a great style.

    You can find lots of tutorial videos on YouTube, but not all of these teachers are great. Try to find people whose work you admire and then try to learn from them. You will be happier with the results. Good Luck!

    Bart Laube Work

    Share your thoughts on design craft with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.  

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  • Posted by: Elan Cole on Wednesday, January 22 2014 09:33 AM | Comments (0)
    Bart Laube

    This is the first in a series of four posts in which we look at the foundations of great work: Design Craft, Creative Ideas, Creative Leadership, and Brand-led Innovation, through the lens of our Consumer Branding practice.

    In this first installment of a two-part interview, Elan Cole, Global Executive Creative Director, Consumer Brands for Interbrand talks design process, craft and knowledge with Bart Laube, Senior Designer, Interbrand Cincinnati. Bart is responsible for some of the world’s most recognizable identities (Bounty and Charmin, to name a couple), which he develops by hand, on paper.

    Cole: Who, or what, inspired you to pick up the pencil and draw?

    Laube: I remember being young and not being able to sit still long enough. To be in a classroom listening to my teachers for hours at a time was torture. The only time I enjoyed school was when I would draw. I would just put my pen on a piece of paper and scribble. Eventually the scribbling started to look like something…

    Charmin sketches

    Cole: Who have your influences and heroes been along the way? Who do you admire today?

    Laube: Winsor McCay was particularly inspirational. He could draw elaborate scenes with hundreds of snowmen having a snowball fight in an architecturally accurate snow palace in ink without a sketch. Natural ability. He invented many modern animation techniques in 1914 and Disney considers him the father of animation. I aspire to do as well as he did.

    Charles Schulz also inspires me. He taught me that proportion and simple lines could touch millions of people. If you look at Charlie Brown’s face, it is very simple – two dots, two lines and a scribble. He created a world with those lines that lasted past his death.

    Today I admire Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes and Art Spiegelman. They are great visual storytellers responsible for the creation of the graphic novel. Mcbess is interesting stylistically. I also am a big fan of Max Fliescher who influenced Mcbess. I am always interested in distinctive style and less interested in derivative works.

    Charmin Designs

    Cole: What is a design trends you find particularly inspiring today?

    Laube: Hand drawn treatments are being used everywhere these days. The Levis “Go Forth” Ad campaign has a great inspirational feel to it. The Red Bull TV commercials use hand drawn cartoons to communicate humor.

    Charmin Logo

    Cole: What's the difference between working on paper and working with pixels? How (and when) do you transition between the two?

    Laube: Working on paper is simple and less about process and more about having a thought. Computers though are great at efficient task management. I usually think on paper and execute color on computers. The color can be changed and tweaked easily on a computer. They can print and make copies, but computers will never have a good idea.

    Drawing well is reaching that Alpha Brain Wave state or relaxed consciousness. That is why great art speaks without words. The hands are connected to the brain.

    The key is to not take every line seriously. Let it flow out. Just start drawing. Scribble in rough lines or shapes. Just relax and watch what you are doing. Don't over think it. Trust yourself.

    Skittles Design

    Stay tuned for more from Elan Cole and Bart Laube’s design craft conversation and share your thoughts on design craft with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.  

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