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"WeListen" Blog

How Social Media Will Influence Packaging Design in 2020

Unlabeled beauty products.

Designing product packaging is just one way to influence consumers on the buying journey. Best practices dictate that the brand extends across buying channels with a consistent consumer experience. This is particularly true in social media, where a  glance or a few seconds may be all you have to connect you with the buyer.

Companies seeking to leverage the lessons found in social media should consider maximizing brand ambassadors and influencers for more genuine organic reach. They should also consider simplification of product packaging for easier brand recognition on social. What are some of the ways social media will influence brand design in 2020?

Social Media Makes Shoppers Marketers

Social media gave the power of voice to consumers. They can now promote an idea or a brand, make it go viral, and deliberately or inadvertently bring positive or negative attention to your brand. This brings relevance to the idea that social media influencers have a direct connection to the type of packaging you create. Creating packaging that is imminently sharable can add significant buzz to an established or new product.

Marketing responded to these trends with brand ambassadors, who are vital to social media engagement. These ambassadors, who are consumers themselves, can use photography and a selfie to create brand awareness on social media. It’s a more authentic way to promote products over the traditional media buy.

Social Media Will Simplify Packaging

The sheer lack of viewing time on social media means that a less-is-more approach will yield the best results. Watch for minimalist packaging and graphics that play well across multiple venues next year. TotalRetail spells it out nicely in a recent article:

“Marketers are realizing the power in instantly recognizable brands on social media and how identifiable packaging design can leverage marketing dollars more effectively when shared in an integrated marketing setting.”

In terms of design, marketers must strive for a simplicity that makes the product shape, color, and packaging easy to recognize whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or television. The imagery must be scalable enough for a patchwork of social media outlets, whether viewed on a smartphone or a desktop. This will push designers to consider:

  • The function of the product represented in the form of the packaging. For example, a beer bottle looks like a beer bottle no matter what channel it’s in.
  • The old practices of just testing product packaging from a retail shelf no longer apply. Now, instead of just worrying about how the light plays on a color in a grocery store, the color palate must also translate well across digital screens. 
  • Social media and the rise of the ever-present cell phone has pushed product packaging to go mobile-first. Rethinking brand guidelines is probably necessary; the product that looks good on a shelf may not translate well to online social media.

Technology continues to influence product packaging design, and 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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