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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: Kevin Perlmutter on Friday, July 13 2012 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

    power cellphone

    Interbrand’s Corporate Citizenship research confirms that those telecoms that are known for contributions to society will yield greater consumer interest and loyalty. Many telecoms contribute a significant amount to their communities, but sustainability remains an underleveraged opportunity.

    Thanks to the learning from developing our Best Global Green Brands 2012 ranking and our general telecom industry understanding, Interbrand has identified key ways in which the growing environmental sustainability agenda could – and should – impact such brands. Many of these opportunities build on existing initiatives and policies, demonstrating that this sector has great potential to become a leader in sustainability efforts.

    Conserving resources, for example, is an area telecoms have made great advances in, creating the digital means to reduce the need for printed material, thus saving the precious resources needed to create more paper. Telecom businesses can and should be models in producing digital content for sharing, storing and consuming without printing for employees, suppliers, partners and end users.

    More could be done to conserve resources if excess packaging and package inserts were eliminated on the retail side of the sector. Encouraging device manufacturers to minimize packaging and printed materials would go a long way toward sustainability. As devices become more intuitive, printed instruction manuals will become less necessary and could be viewed digitally.

    packaging waste

    Digital capabilities also allow for an ever-increasing ability to connect with people, reducing the amount of local and international travel needed to do business. As telecoms continue to innovate high definition video technology that makes meeting and collaboration from different places around the world more realistic and accessible, the carbon footprint of all businesses, and those of telecom companies themselves, can be greatly reduced.

    Innovation in product development can improve the sustainability of the products themselves as well. Mobile phone chargers, for example, still consume a significant amount of energy, although there are new technologies in use that will reduce their carbon footprint. Telecoms have the power to insist on supporting devices that use less energy, and even to go as far as to implement a rating system -- much like the US government’s “Energy Star” rating system.

    Millions of customers replace their mobile phones every few years to obtain the latest and greatest models. Encouraging and supporting year-round donation programs within retail locations, enabling customers to easily recycle their products while doing good, would go a long way in supporting sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

    For devices that cannot be donated, it is incumbent upon the telecom industry and equipment manufacturers to improve the recyclability of their components safely and efficiently. Not only will this reduce landfill waste, as well as soil and water contamination, but it will also make more efficient use of scarce materials used in mobile devices.

    Some equipment manufacturers mass-produce their products in countries where the cost of labor is very low. Telecoms have the opportunity to take a stand, boycotting suppliers and countries where human rights are being violated, following the lead of garment manufacturers. After several years of controversy, Apple is allowing independent inspections of its Asian supply chain. Others should follow suit.

    social media green

    Global social networks are making the world smaller – giving people from all social classes and countries access to the same information and capabilities. Twitter has more than 175 million accounts and claims 140 million active users. Facebook is closing in on one billion accounts and boasts more than 500 million daily active users. Some predict the number of people accessing these networks on mobile devices globally will exceed 1 billon within the next five years. This access to knowledge and communication will result in human progress and a closing of the digital divide.

    As Interbrand’s global CEO Jez Frampton has said, “It’s our view that brands should do good in the world by doing what they do best. …Being a good citizen is a complex and vital part of corporate strategy and it starts with core operations. …It’s only by applying their particular expertise to the world’s problems that brands can really hope to effect any real change. It also transforms corporate citizenship from being a nice to have philanthropy to a must have business asset.”

    Kevin Perlmutter is a Senior Director of Brand Strategy in Interbrand’s New York office.

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  • Posted by: Dyfed "Fred" Richards on Thursday, October 14 2010 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

    We tried to be green, then greener. We became environmentally friendly, embraced tree huggers, watched where we stepped with our carbon footprints, and tried to comprehend the cradle-to-grave model. Now it is all about sustainability.

    Having lived for years in Europe, I am more than familiar with recycling and other programs to protect the environment. I am also very aware that countries have different takes on what it means to “go green.” On a recent trip to Asia, for example, I was stunned at the air pollution smothering the landscape yet, at street level, intrigued by how every product seemed to have at least one use beyond its original intent.

    The sustainability conversation is far larger and more complex than “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Also, the sustainability model (whichever of the 300+ versions you choose) is a myth. While the principle behind the concept is well-intentioned, on a day-to-day level it has little to no meaning to the average consumer.

    In terms of mass production and consumption, our culture has created a “chicken and the egg” scenario that will be difficult to reverse. The gulf between developed countries and those playing catch-up (with China and India leading the way) is rapidly closing; consumers in these emerging nations are becoming more affluent and developing an appetite for high-end items such as cars, refrigerators, microwaves, computers. This, in turn, is ramping up production and transportation of finished goods and having a profound – largely negative – impact on the earth’s resources and environment.

    The basic problem/challenge to attaining true sustainability is changing human behavior which, as we know, is never easy. Interbrand has studied behavioral change in California for the past two years and has concluded that barriers to change are numerous – knowledge, indifference, “I’ve done enough,” it’s someone else’s problem, etc. Change in behavior will only happen if consumers change their self view, realize that their actions have consequences and understand that they can effect change. Without a reorientation of “self,” no campaign, label, legislature or personality will create a profound and sustained behavioral shift that creates new social norms.

    All of us need to think about sustainability from both a local and global perspective, with a deeper understanding of the decisions we make – before and after a purchase – and the impact they have on our world. This means finding out where a product was made, how it was made, by whom, when, and so on. How large a carbon footprint does the product you are consuming leave behind?

    Consider, for example, the liquid detergent category. Why have we been conditioned to purchase huge bottles of detergent in club stores or retail chains? We are paying for weighty liquids to be shipped multiple times. The more sustainable model would be to ship detergent powder in a larger container and have the consumer add water at home to create the liquid. Shipping smaller, lighter-weight amounts of powder that can be activated at home could reduce fuel costs (as well as pollution) considerably. Seems reasonable enough to me. However, compaction and liquid concentration solve only part of the problem. Do consumers really trust that so little liquid can deliver the same cleaning power as the original amount? Chances are they overdose on each load just to make sure, which defeats the whole purpose of the purchase. Educating consumers is the other half of the sustainability equation.

    So what has to happen to make true sustainability a reality? Waiting for governments to act appears pointless. The climate summit in Denmark shone a spotlight on the widening gulf between those states that want to champion environmental responsibility and those that want to develop and grow, despite the cost to their piece of the planet.

    Counting on consumers – spearheaded by activist groups – to take action could prove more fruitful. Anti-smoking groups that cited the rising toll of lung cancer deaths clearly paved the way for consumer outrage about the dangers of cigarettes and spurred political leaders to act. Unfortunately, however, I think it will take a drastic event to force consumers and legislators to join forces to protect the environment; for example, the shortage of a basic food item or a cataclysmic environmental disaster that directly affects political leaders in their own back yards. A tsunami in Washington DC with eight-foot-deep water on the White House lawn might send a strong signal to the powers that be.

    Tracing the successful growth and evolution of early “socially responsible” brands like Body Shop and Greenpeace makes me realize that similar stories are few and far between. Who are the new radicals, the upstarts, the thought-breakers and -makers? What companies or brands will become the standard-bearers for protecting the environment…for explaining the dangers we are facing and the potential outcome for all of us? Al Gore made a very compelling argument, but can we really act on what he said? The sustainability message and action model has to be simple enough for everyone to understand and rally around.

    What we need are companies and brands that have a sustainable message that can be demonstrated and understood, and which offer an immediate benefit to consumers and their communities. The first brand that can truly and meaningfully demonstrate this ability will win.

    Sustainability is about harvesting, creating, planning, growing, energy, time, consumption, recycling, ethics, compassion and common sense. Think about it: Do we really need to consume water in a bottle from halfway around the world when we can get it (less expensively!) from a tap in our house? Why do we buy fruit and vegetables out of season from faraway lands, driving up prices and transportation costs and lowering their nutritional value?

    In her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, author Barbara Kingsolver describes the environmental and health benefits her family reaped after “...our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank and water, and breathed the air.”

    Perhaps it’s time for all of us to more carefully consider our purchasing habits; to abandon the industrial-food pipeline in favor of more purposeful and responsible consumerism. Try buying fruit and vegetables from local farmers markets or foodstuffs from your grocery store that are raised, grown and harvested locally. Buy something because you need it; not because it’s there. Large-scale change results from the cumulative effects of small, daily acts. So take public transportation. Wear a sweater in your house and turn down the thermostat. Walk to and from the market. These long-term, sustainable actions are the true drivers of sustainability.

    Dyfed “Fred” Richards
    Executive Creative Director
    North America
    fred.richards@interbrand.com

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