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5 Packaging Personalization Tips for 2019

Posted by Kevin Keating at PKG on January 09, 2019 in food packaging

Personalization used to be limited to touches like custom engraving on jewelry, or monogram embroidery on clothing. But today, personalization has many levels and can be carried out far more easily.

Letter with seal stamp.

Perhaps the most famous example of mass-market personalization (a concept that would have seemed oxymoronic a generation ago) is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign featuring individual bottles and cans with first names on them. But there are countless ways to personalize packaging, and many of them don’t even require being on a first-name basis with customers. 

Here are five packaging personalization tips for 2019 for brands who are determined to make the most of the power of packaging to connect with consumers.

1. Tap into What Consumers Are Feeling

Snickers is famous for this. The simple act of replacing the name “SNICKERS” on individual candy bar wrappers with emotions, rendered in the same iconic font and colors, brought smiles to countless individuals in checkout lanes, most of whom were experiencing at least one of those emotions at the very time they viewed the packaging. There are many other ways brands can do this. Think of all the creative wine names you see today, like “Oops,” which can be exactly the right word to connect with someone on the way home after a particularly trying day in the office. 

2. Create Online Selection Tools

One of the pitfalls of living in a society in which you can order essentially anything at any time is that sometimes it’s hard to choose. Side by Side is a natural pet food company that understands how people view their pets as individuals, and how choosing exactly the right food for them can be overwhelming due to an abundance of choices. To help customers, and to engage more fully with them, they offer an online assessment tool that helps pet owners determine the right food for their pet based on things like lifestyle, temperament, breed, and activity level. 

3. Use Online Personalization Engines

Pet food giant Purina takes it a step further, allowing dog owners to create custom dog food blends tailored to their pets’ needs and tastes. Not only that, people placing orders can upload their dog’s picture, which will appear prominently on the packaging when it arrives. Owners can also personalize the name of the blend, not only making the product feel more personal, but also making it easier for pet-sitters or caregivers to always use the right product for the right animal. Additionally, consumers can subscribe to the custom blend they create, ensuring they’ll never run out. 

Man holding his dog.

4. Use Big Data to Customize to Geographic Areas, Other Demographics

The concept of personalization has many levels. Instead of personalizing products to a consumer’s specific requests, brands can, for example, personalize products to customers’ geographic location. In other words, a shopper can go into their normal supermarket and see packaging design that shows their city’s skyline on the packaging, a local landmark, or an annual natural phenomenon their region is known for (like the blossoming of the cherry trees in Washington, DC every spring).

5. Continue to Use the Highest Quality, Most Functional Packaging

However a brand chooses to personalize products, they should first and foremost commit to the highest quality packaging design. That means different things for different products. A Snicker’s wrapper labeled “BORED” that shreds and is thrown away immediately is no big deal. But when a customer creates their own custom-blend pet food labeled with their pet’s photo, they want it to arrive in performance packaging that is protective, convenient, and aesthetically pleasing. Personalization comes on top of already-strong packaging design, not as a substitute for it. 

The personalization trend appears to be here to stay now that technology makes it easier and more economical for both brands and consumers. And when brands learn clever, effective ways to engage with their target audiences through packaging personalization, they strengthen brand loyalty with every purchase. PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!

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