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How to Know it's Time for a Brand Identity Package Refresh

packagerefresh.pngimage credit: matt macgillivray via flickr cc

If you’re not meeting key performance indicators (KPIs) or recent results are disappointing, redesigning your CPG packaging could seem like a tempting option. As marketer Tom Fishburne highlights, packaging redesign is often the “first lever” marketers pull when facing a marketing challenge. Their reaction isn’t unfounded. A well-designed CPG package that reflects your brand can be the first step to improving sales and winning loyal customers.

Many of the world’s most iconic CPG brands approach packaging design as a continual process. While drastic updates can lead to drastic improvements in consumer perception, other brands are continually performing tweaks to raise revenue. Regardless of whether you feel you’re in need of a “big bang” redesign or subtle enhancements, packaging updates are certainly worth exploring.

In an era of increased grocery competition, packaging design is a critical advantage. McKinsey has found that certain categories of CPG are growing at twice the average rate. The global CPG market is expected to triple by 2025. To earn your position among household brands of the future, exceptional design is necessary. Join us as we review five signs it’s time for a package design refresh.

  1. Your Product Has Evolved

Are your grocery products now made with real sugar? Have you updated your flavor profile to meet the preferences of your customers? If your product has evolved, there’s a chance that it's left your initial packaging design behind

Roger Dooley of Forbes writes that packaging first impressions are especially critical because “they’re sticky.” Not only are consumer impressions formed in “milliseconds,” they’re hard to shake off. If your customers initially perceive your product as highly-processed or tasteless, they may not even be dissuaded after reading the ingredients lists.

Remember, to your customers, there is no difference between packaging and product. Bringing your “look” into alignment with your product offerings is an important reason to launch a redesign project.

  1. You’re Not Meeting Metrics

If you are failing to achieve key performance indicators for sales, it could be a strong case for a packaging redesign. In many cases, packaging can’t correct a poor product or specific market challenges. In the words of Fishburne packaging is no “silver bullet,” and it can’t cure every possible scenario. But there is a strong business case for packaging design as a sales tool.

The UK Design Council has found that “design oriented” CPG companies achieve 200% of average growth over time. This holds true almost regardless of product niche. By opting for a dramatic refresh, followed by continual evolution, you could achieve significant improvements in sales. 

  1. Regulatory Requirements

If there were ever a critical reason to refresh your packaging, it would be updates to regulatory requirements. McKinsey recently cited “regulatory risk” as a key challenge for CPG brands’ growth strategies, and writes that the smartest brands are exploring safety and sustainability improvements before the government requires it.

Perhaps most importantly, CPG brands need to understand that regulatory changes are likely over the next several years. By continually exploring ways that you can improve the transparency and ecological impact of your packaging, you can ensure you’re not likely to be in a position where an immediate package redesign is mandated.

  1. You’re Expanding into New Markets

Much of the CPG growth projected over the next several years is in “emerging markets,” such as Africa and the Asia Pacific region (APAC). If your brand has plans to expand local distribution or go global, a packaging refresh can improve your product’s visual appeal to global audiences.

Given the dollar’s currently strong position against global currencies, brands who already distribute internationally may be wise to consider a redesign. Brands who export can suffer a loss of ground when currency is strong, due to customer defection to lower-priced, domestically-produced alternatives. Bulletproof packaging redesign can act as a defense mechanism against economic conditions.

  1. Your Customers aren’t “Getting” it

Your packaging should reflect your product and your brand. Regardless of how your team perceives your packaging, your customers’ perception is truly what matters. Journalist Nick Brown writes that packaging issues is sometimes “not so clear-cut for designers... production staff and marketers -- those people whose daily lives are affected by the minutiae.”

Ultimately, quantitative and qualitative research is the best way to test whether your customers understand your product and brand when they see your packaging. By testing how your market’s perception of your packaging aligns with your brand’s values, you can determine whether your messaging hits or misses the mark.

A dramatic packaging refresh can be a much-needed jolt for struggling CPG brands by improving consumer perceptions and sales. However, the best CPG marketers understand the importance of making iterative changes to packaging design. By shifting to a design-focused model, you can strive for continual improvement.

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