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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: Cathie Cocqueel on Tuesday, December 3 2013 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

    Needs drive people to buy, but emotion drives people to choose one brand over another. It’s that emotional connection that will inspire a consumer to remember and want to be engaged with your brand again. Packaging is often the first concrete point of contact between shoppers and brands, so if emotions guide brand choices, emotions should guide packaging trends.

    Psychologist Robert Plutchik theorized that there are eight main emotions: fear, anger, sadness, disgust, joy, trust, anticipation and surprise. How can brands connect with the most optimistic of these emotions?

    1. Trust:

    After multiple milk safety scandals in China, the global controversy around GMOs, meat pandemics like Poultry H7N9, the horsemeat scandal in Europe and growing concern about the health impacts of artificial and hydrogenated ingredients, consumer trust has been eroded. Just as these scandals have dominated headlines for the last several years, consumer interest in healthy living has surged.

    It’s more important than ever for brands to respond to consumers’ concerns and work to regain trust in product quality. This will not be accomplished through marketing jargon. It’s critical for brands to simplify packaging, be transparent and communicate clearly through design a product’s quality and authenticity.

    Consumers are looking for extreme clarity, to avoid confusion and feel confident about your brand and its products.

    While Swedish brand Ikea faced pulling products from its shelves and a PR problem in the midst of the horsemeat scandal, the brand continues to see success with food products in its retail spaces with strategic package design choices. For example:

    • On its cracker products, the brand magnifies the raw ingredient, in a simple and factual yet artistic way. No supplement, no effect.

    • Smári yogurt's packaging celebrates the mountains of Sweden in a way that is both playful and engenders trust.

    Ikea's Packaging

    2. Joy:

    People face daily challenges in their lives. While technology has made many things easier, it can also sometimes make life feel more complicated and overwhelming. Families struggle with work/life balance. Brands have the opportunity to delight and make people’s lives brighter at every touchpoint, creating compelling stories and personalized experiences that enhance everyday life. The package becomes a theater to stage the brand story and message. Examples:

    • Heinz's "Get Well" campaign launched in 2011 and reprised in 2012, was not only recognized in Ad Age's list of the ten best social-media campaigns of the year, it was a beautiful union of clever digital and unique packaging. The campaign allowed Facebook users to send personalized “Get well” soup cans to their friends. Using PayPal, customers could purchase cans with their own individualized message. Not only did Heinz gain 75,000 new Facebook fans, page interactions increased 650 percent and more than 4,000 cans of Get Well soup were sent.

    • Philosophy’s skin care packaging connects with the consumer through stories, sharing the brands’ philosophies on uplifting subjects like hope and grace.

    Heinz and Philosophy

    3. Surprise:

    In an ever-changing and digital-driven world, with an over-saturated market and shelves, communicating the new news is more valuable and challenging than ever. To differentiate and get the attention of overwhelmed and even blasé consumers, brands are thinking beyond a “Who has the bigger logo” strategy and are creating striking and memorable brand experiences.

    Breaking or redefining category norms allows a brand’s packaging to stand out and attract the curiosity of consumers. These moments of surprise can translate to shareable moments as well as consumers express appreciation of the design with friends and on social media.

    • To break the routine in the cleaning product category, Method will release specially designed dispensers, creating decorative limited editions of its bottles.

    • Creating an innovative wine bottle made out of compressed recycled paper, Paperboy creates surprise and inspires purchase choice and sharing that choice through word of mouth.

    Paperboy and Method

    4. Anticipation:

    Each year, million of tons of waste are abandoned, creating a major global ecological problem. In recent years brands responded, trying to reduce packaging materials like wrapping. While reduction is a good start, today some brands are rethinking waste. Reimagining the life cycle for packaging, brands are transforming waste, seeing value in repurposing it.

    Consumers can anticipate the delight of doing good and getting to put the package to use beyond the life of the product in a creative way. People can play a role in the sustainability process without too much effort. Designers are innovating approaches to the afterlife of packaging and anticipate the experience after the use of products.

    • O’right (Eco-Salon Products) launched a bottle that is preloaded with seeds. The bottle itself can be planted into the ground.

    • Stafidenios Greek raisin company designed the interior of its packaging to transform the boxes into collectable animal characters.

    Stafidenios and O'right

    Packaging has always needed to communicate brand cues, category cues, product benefits and "reasons to buy." The best packaging has done this in a way that is intuitive, impactful, indulgent, attractive, special, beautiful and timeless.

    But brands now have an opportunity to move packaging beyond the purely visual. Consumers' desire for brands to have deeper and broader purposes has given packaging an additional role - as the primary touchpoint of an emotionally resonant experience that creates trust, loyalty, differentiation and desire.

    Cathie Cocqueel is Associate Design Director at Interbrand Singapore.

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  • Posted by: Dyfed "Fred" Richards on Thursday, February 16 2012 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

    It’s that time of year when men go weak at the knees, generally act like fools and spend most of what’s in their wallets in the all-out pursuit of love. The price of flowers skyrockets, restaurant reservations become as rare as diamonds and – speaking of diamonds – jewelry ads clutter the airwaves and newspapers. It is de rigueur to purchase one or more tokens of affection for your significant other on Valentine’s Day. For many men, a safe and (somewhat) affordable choice is a bottle of perfume. Problem solved. Or is it?

    The explosion of perfume brands in recent years is unprecedented, especially in the celebrity-endorsed category. The rule of thumb seems to be that you must have a signature scent to be taken seriously as a “star.” (“D-listers” need not apply.) To the perfume houses of the world it is serious business to sign the latest and greatest “It” girl or hunkomatic boy to endorse the newest smell in a bottle; Andy Warhol’s 15-minutes-of-fame prophecy seems to be alive and well in this category. It can be a dangerous strategy to link a brand with an individual whose celebrity may burn bright one day and flame out the next; however, when one of these fragrances hits the big time the rewards can be considerable for both star and perfume house.

    But back to the consumer: How does a bewildered male select the right celebrity perfume brand for his special someone? More often than not, he will endeavor to navigate the cases and aisle displays of a department store perfume and cosmetics department – the poor fellow! Will his selection be Elizabeth Taylor’s classic White Diamonds, one of the first celebrity-endorsed fragrances and still one of the top-10 sellers? Or will he choose the much-promoted scent from a manufactured movie or television star? How about one from a former bad-boy rap artist or a perfectly coiffed teen singer? Purchasing perfume at a department store can trigger a dizzying sensory overload and intimidating experience at shelf. Overwhelmed, many men beat a hasty retreat to a perfume store – big mistake! There, they typically are confronted by shelves and shelves of various bottles and packages all screaming for attention while they fight their way through a crowd of giggling school girls covered in Hello Kitty glitter and lip gloss!

    Two decades ago the perfume category was dominated by classics such as Chanel and brand choice was simple. Today, some perfume houses feature entire portfolios of scents dedicated to a single celebrity, and use a tiering strategy to milk the franchise for as long as the star remains relevant: The master celebrity brand is launched in high-end department stores, followed by the debut of flanker sub-brands and limited editions in mid-tier and mass-market retail stores. This is savvy marketing, as the widespread availability and affordability of these celebrity scents increases category awareness as a whole and supports brand stretch for both the celebrities and perfume houses. It’s a “good, better, best” approach to scent branding that consumers appear to understand and tolerate.

    Another way that perfume houses strengthen the brand-consumer connection is by involving the celebrity in their scent’s creation, from inception through development and marketing. The celebrity’s participation in crafting their perfume and its brand proposition is what consumers see and appreciate; it also provides the authenticity consumers admire. (This interesting relationship between brand, manufacturer and consumer could provide insights for other categories.) I understand that Lady Gaga was a stickler for details in the development and launch of her scent with Coty; this is laudable and understandable, as the brand equity of both Gaga and the perfume house were on the line. Sean John Combs and J Lo seemed to have cracked the code with scents that might just outlast their singing careers. Sean John managed three years at the top spot for men’s brands, while J Lo launched Glow and generated over $80 million in first-year sales.

    Unfortunately, none of this back story helps the poor sap who, at the end of the day, just wants to buy some perfume and make a positive, heartfelt impression on his beloved. My advice to fellow males is to do some homework before you make the trek to the department or perfume store. Flip through magazines or store circulars and sniff the perfume inserts. What scents do you find most appealing – sweet, citrus, or musky? Peruse the bottles on your lady’s dresser; what perfumes does she prefer and for what occasions? Then, armed with your new-found knowledge, let your nose lead you in the right direction.

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  • Posted by: Brandy Lockaby on Friday, December 2 2011 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

    I tend to have daydreams a lot when I am alone – in the shower, on a short commute, preparing for bed. It’s like my brain is begging for some “me time,” some one-on-one attention. While I spend most of the day juggling meetings and presentations, my brain has been furiously taking notes, just waiting for the perfect moment to bombard me with a million ideas, as if it were my over-achieving personal assistant. I can almost hear the dialogue: “Brandy! Brandy! What do you think about this?” or “Hey, isn’t this a cool idea!” or “What if…?”

    Let me clarify: This is not about being merely distracted. As early as grade school, I would be engaged and attentive in class, yet feel like my brain was continually ten steps ahead of my body. I would find myself constantly multi-tasking; participating in a class discussion while mentally choreographing a dance routine, envisioning my next art project, and thinking about some boy, all while doodling my mermaid-inspired prom dress complete with a seashell-inspired bustier. Some may diagnose this flurry of cranial cartwheels as attention deficit disorder; however, I’ll defend it as the inner workings of a creative, right-brain package designer eager to connect with her left-brain coworkers and clients.

    Bridging the great divide
    The “right brain” is sympathetic to spontaneous thought, and spends much of its time solving multiple creative problems. The “left brain” is more straightforward, analytical and precise in its musings. Working in a branding and package design agency requires understanding and appreciating both left- and right-brained thinkers to attain maximum results. This can be difficult if you are a “righty,” as sometimes left-leaning thinkers can (in a righty’s estimation) overwork a creative vision by adding lengthy lists of objectives, success criteria, and consumer validation. After reading a list of “can’ts,” how do we right-brain folks stay inspired and create brilliant package design solutions that also deliver solid business results?

    Here’s an example: A left-brain brand manager may be looking for a device to increase sales volume or, as we righties typically say, “delight” their consumers. The problem is that an Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation does not have the capability to harness a righty’s imagination. We need to use a much bigger net; to expand before we contract. It’s like having a 2x2 versus a 40x40 canvas on which to create a painting: If I work on a 2x2 canvas, I have to do a lot of upfront planning and formulating ideas before even picking up a brush; so much so that when I finally do begin, each brush stroke ends up becoming very rigid and expected. Working on the 40x40 canvas, though, I could be relaxed, experimental, and free to find a “happy accident” which could become the centerpiece I didn’t realize I was creating when I began.

    Lost in metaphors? Lefties, bear with me. I am not advocating creative chaos. I’m talking about balancing creative exploration and project management to produce breakthrough package design that works within a client’s budget and time constraints. Here are some ways to bridge the great divide; to merge two opposing trains of thought, one linear, one swirly:

    This is an excerpt that originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of Package Design Magazine. To read the full article please click here.

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  • Posted by: Dyfed "Fred" Richards on Wednesday, July 7 2010 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

    First published in Shelf Impact, July 1, 2010

    “Write an article about trends,” the editor said. “Think about the future of package design and consumers. Look into your crystal ball.” Easier said than done. I don’t own a crystal ball, and if I had believed everything I watched on the television show “Tomorrow’s World” when I was growing up, we all would be vacationing on the moon by now!

    I could take the easy way out and wax poetic on the much-dissected topic of consumer opinions, the cliché of recycling and, of course, the 600-pound gorilla in the room—sustainability. Yes, they all are important issues, but hardly groundbreaking. In fact, here’s what I see developing in these areas:

    • Packaging will have to work harder than ever to compete at shelf. However, this could be a positive trend that results in package designs articulating fewer and more concise messages, not more claims and louder “screams.”
    • The weekly online grocery shopper will increase his or her influence and importance as the technology behind ordering and delivery becomes more sophisticated and convenient. This will become an important factor in brands’ package design, as packaging will play a totally different role online versus in the home.
    • Category language will shift as a brand’s role evolves from mere shelf competitor to that of helper, advocate, enabler, and cache demonstrator within the home.
    • Being “green” will continue to drive innovation in package design. This will be evidenced by package structures that are created from vegetable materials and product containers that consumers can bury in their garden and turn into compost. The biggest and most dramatic “green” achievement, however, will be the creation of a sustainable brand model that truly resonates with consumers. This will become a marketing tipping point, as consumers thereafter will demand sustainability from brands in all sectors to offset global resource scarcities.

    My advice to brand owners: Start working on your sustainability model immediately, before consumers or governments mandate it and you are forced to play catch-up at the expense of lost sales and a deteriorating brand image.

    Now that we have gotten the “predictable” predictions out of the way, what else does packaging’s future hold?
    First, I see a movement to smaller portion sizes and a “feel good” factor at shelf around more responsible purchasing. The warehouse giants of mass consumption and volume buying will become a thing of the past, viewed as an opulent waste of time, energy, goods, and money. Did we really need that five-gallon drum of pickles? Talk about wasteful!

    Bottled water will be the first victim of this “less is more” trend. Why on earth are consumers in New York and Paris drinking water from Fiji anyway? Remember the anti-fur coat campaign; a similar backlash may be in bottled water’s future.

    Food safety and its role in packaging will continue as a front-burner issue. In the wake of ongoing salmonella and e-coli outbreaks and other dietary disasters, consumers will demand more detailed information about the products we eat. Who made this, what was the process, and what will it do for me and to me?

    Consumer advocacy groups will join forces with government agencies, ala the anti-tobacco model, to demand end-to-end transparency around the packaged foods production process. Large global manufacturing companies will become the newest target of boycotts and other reform efforts. Who knew that detergents, soda, cereals, canned fruits, and vegetables could be so harmful?

    On the positive side, this wave of consumer awareness and activism will spawn the development of exciting and new mass-market natural food stores, and these shopping destinations no longer will be viewed as places where people wearing hemp clothes and flip-flops go to buy beans. Everyone will be there, exchanging product information, trying new brands, and widening their culinary vocabulary.

    Conventional product categories will blur, allowing more brands to enter areas they traditionally had no right to be in or win in. As some dominant brands become static within their established category, they will begin to explore alternative avenues for market and revenue growth. These brands will be forced to look deeper and harder at their core brand attributes and align them to other, more tangential categories.

    Of course, these forays into the new and unknown come with the usual words of caution: Expansion is always an “iffy” prospect, and efforts to leverage and grow your business should never be to the detriment of your key assets—your brand’s visual equities in the mind’s eye of the consumer versus the mind’s eye of the junior brand manager, design agency, or advertising executive hell-bent on winning the latest and greatest design award.

    However, as we are talking about the future, let’s be optimistic and positive. Those brands which are able to truly understand their key equities and how best to leverage them will find that they can prosper in new, innovative, non-traditional categories. Could we see a breakfast energy drink from Duracell in the juice aisle, Gillette in the power tools section at Lowe’s, Olay sponsoring and supplying facial products to the Red Cross (no longer just hope in a jar but meaningful hope for the world), and Starbucks dispensing healthy tea along with knowledge exchanges (we used to call them libraries!)? Why not? All things are possible, even vacations on the moon.

    So when and where will these branding and packaging revolutions begin? Some are already in motion, but my crystal ball reveals only a tantalizing glimpse of the others’ future. Of one thing I am sure: Consumer opinion will continue to shape the future of packaging. Like water flowing downhill, consumers will always find a way to make their wishes known. Sometimes their desire for change is demonstrated drop by drop, one purchase at a time, in a slow and gradual wearing-down process.

    On other occasions, their demands hit with the force of a tsunami; a wall of water powered by the collective strength of Internet-savvy advocacy groups. It’s the ultimate sink-or-swim situation: Those companies that want to protect and grow their brands need to effectively monitor, understand, and cultivate consumer opinion. Their future depends on it.

    Read more about packaging trends here!

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