Manufacturers of consumer packaged goods (CPG) face two significant hurdles in 2016. The first is that customers’ attitudes toward corporations and their brands are shifting dramatically. The second is that people will continue to experience little difference in their monthly disposable incomes. To combat these changes, companies must radically alter the path taken to reach consumers, both regarding product distribution and marketing.
Today we have an excess of information, options, and messages, and the power of the Internet has given us the gift of being instantly connected to almost anyone in the world, all at the push of a button. The advantages of living in this rapidly evolving technology-based era are clear, but individuals in our society are easily distracted, and attention spans are shorter than ever before.
That’s why the modern consumer desires a clear and comprehensible message. Not only is it all we have time for, but it is also all we can digest, and anything too complicated gets lost in translation. Those companies who can communicate in a straightforward and tangible fashion are far more likely to earn the business of their target demographic.
Media usage has also become split amongst numerous mediums with the rise of digital content and the explosion of online devices. Social media, radio and television, print – the list goes on and on. Each delivery method has its necessities, appeal, and economics, which require different tactics and strategies. This means that marketing campaigns need to be carefully coordinated to be successful.
This was expressed rather articulately in a recent article from strategyand.pwc.com. “Consumer activity and attitudes are being reshaped by two powerful pressures: digital technology, such as smartphones, online outlets, and social media, which drives around-the-clock product promotion and availability; and an influx of private capital that is buying retail startups, which chase customer dollars with ever more innovative approaches.”
So what are the branding trends that are the most successful in today’s marketplace? Below we have listed 3 that stand out as more effective than the rest.
- Simplicity: In many of the very best contemporary branding and packaging campaigns the purpose is often quite simple. The designers have a good understanding of what they are trying to communicate to their audience, and this shows in their work. The message is stated clearly on the packaging so that there is no confusion. Today’s most talented designers understand the need for simplicity regardless of their ability to create flashy or over-the-top graphics. Instead, they opt for the most basic yet engaging designs, knowing that this is what consumers will respond to most readily.
- Retro: Another trend that you can expect to see more of this year is the idealization of the past. Not long ago, in much simpler times, things were made by hand, and close attention was paid to detail. But we’re not only speaking of traditional forms and techniques; we mean taking something tried and tested, and modernizing and combining it in new ways. This repurposing of past successes is effective because it brings people back to some of their most favorite life moments and puts a modern spin on them. These techniques grow more and more frequent each year, and in the mind of the consumer, they only continue to gain value.
- Patterns: The next trend applies the philosophy of simple communication to graphic design. While other modern trends focus on the simplicity of a message through typography and copywriting, this theme is centered on expressing minimalism through patterns and shapes. The patterns that have been repeated in much of this year's best packaging feature circles, triangles, and squares in limited color palettes. This is yet another example of addressing the thought process of a weary, overwhelmed consumer. These compact approaches standout, especially in industries with gaudy, flashy design. Familiar shapes, colors, and patterns are pleasing to the eye and relaxing for the over-stimulated customer.
The message being articulated over and over by consumers is that they are entirely overwhelmed. That’s why the latest trends in CPG and brand design are focusing on simplification and throwbacks to old design forms. To rise above the noise and competition, brands have to be clear, concise and direct – nothing works better in the modern marketplace.