Packaging design is about far more than just containing and protecting a product. It’s a crucial component of brand identity design.
The human race has explored new ways to communicate since the development of language, through sound, pictures, and writing. Punches and dies were used in ancient Mesopotamia to regularize text, and highly trained scribes perfected handwritten typefaces up through the invention of movable type in the 15th century.
Food brands, manufacturers, and retailers are faced with unprecedented challenges in designing products and product packaging that reflect evolving habits and priorities of the consumer base. Consumers know more about not only what goes into the foods they eat, but also about the path products take from farm to table. They are allowing that new information to shape their choices, but that does not mean that presentation and packaging have become irrelevant.
Consumers, awash in product information, are influenced by more factors than ever when it comes to food purchase decisions.
On the contrary, consumer-centric packaging design is arguably more important than ever. It can be considered as yet another channel through which brands convey their values and attempt to match those to consumer values. Marketing in the grocery store aisle is about far more than simply eye-catching packaging, but must also speak to what consumers want in a food product. And consumers are influenced by more factors than ever.
Consumer values and beliefs have always evolved. Today, however, they do so far more rapidly than in the pre-internet era. The combination of broadband and mobile technology has given
Consumers take advantage of the explosion in information available about the products they buy.
Food manufacturers have responded by engaging with consumers on new media, but the management of marketing messages is still more challenging than it once was, primarily because of the speed with which information (true or otherwise) can spread. As a result, food manufacturers and retailers are having to reposition themselves with consumers in terms of branding, advertising, and food packaging design.
Consumer packaging design is a dynamic, ever-evolving process, and design in 2017 is no exception to that rule. Emerging design trends this year reflect the issues most important to consumers and indicate an increased understanding of the need to address those issues on the part of food manufacturers.
The increasing globalization of the food and beverage industry presents unique opportunities for food manufacturers and distributors. Evolving technologies in packaging, supply chain management, and communication entice food brands both large and small to venture into international markets to reach a larger consumer base.
Going global with your food products is both challenging and rewarding.
However, in addition to the advantages that food brands can realize internationally, expanding into foreign lands does come with some significant challenges. Communication issues, cultural differences, and lack of standardized quality control can all create bumps in the road to globalization.
What can food brands do to overcome challenges and present their products to a global audience while avoiding common globalization pitfalls?
Handling the Quality Control Issues
There is no doubt about it. The way consumers purchase food is evolving. Whereas a mere decade ago, the concept of online grocery shopping was nothing more than an oddity, today online grocery shopping is, at least to some extent, going mainstream.
In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says to her young lover: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Clearly, Juliet was not a marketer.
Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with saying: "There is nothing permanent except change." That sounds right, but it is really true in the world of branding and package design? Do the potential rewards outweigh the risks inherent in re-branding your products?
It is said that clothes make the man. Similarly, the "clothes" or package design of your product can make or break it, sales-wise. TheBalance.com notes: "The primary function of food packaging design is to attract. Your package is your brand ambassador; it should sell itself."
When you launched a brand, you wanted it to be perceived positively and you wanted people to associate that brand with all of the things that you designed it to represent. However, after your brand is in the marktplace you may discover that it isn’t perceived that way. As one expert reminds us, “Brand perception is owned by consumers, not brands. Regardless of your message, whatever people are thinking and saying about your brand, that is your brand.” (brandwatch.com) You need to first evaluate your brand from the outside, then dig deeper. If you find that your vision for the brand is totally different from the public perception of the brand, you need to figure out why. Here are 5 critical points of focus for your brand perception research:
The success of a brand is ultimately determined by the way that consumers respond to it. While marketers and business owners can curate an image and develop a set of traits that instills some personality into their brand, they have no control over how consumers will react to their creation. Of course, this is why good brand developers do their homework and find out what their target audience is looking for. After careful research and planning, businesses execute with a brand that they feel will increase their odds of selling products. The absolutely essential element of any modern brand is the infusion of a personality through attributes that consistently connect with the market. But a brand personality isn’t just about selling products; it’s about building equity through a name that people learn to trust.
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.
What characteristics of a brand are most likely to be noticed by consumers? While it’s obviously crucial to offer a quality product, dynamic branding is often at the heart of the companies that succeed. With the high amount of rivalry that companies face in almost every industry, it’s never been more important to stand out, and develop a distinctive identity through effective branding.
Brands that have inspired sufficient confidence in users, and don’t have to sell themselves continually, are said to have strong brand loyalty. This is not easily attained, and just a handful of brands can claim to have that level of consumer loyalty. Fewer still have brand dominance in their respective categories. How is it that these select few are able to achieve what so many others strive to do?
Crafting your brand messaging to be memorable is something that will set you apart from the pack. That means it is a marketing requirement to create sound bites for all of your audiences, digital or otherwise. Large corporations and small business owners alike need to set aside time to refine their products’ brand messaging.
A brand is the name, design, symbol, or any other feature that distinguishes your goods or services from those of your competitors. Moreover, your brand is the representation of your company's reputation through the conveyance of attributes, values, purpose, strengths, and passions. A brand is one of the most precious assets of a business, and it needs to be carefully managed to ensure it properly and accurately represents your values.
The experts at HubSpot have some excellent advice to give when it comes to branding. “Remember: Brand is an evolving asset. It's one that requires continued attention. One that your customers will have a big role in shaping. One that you’ll need to foster. One that you’ll return to, make adjustments to as your business grows or changes.”
Crafting a brand is a shared endeavor, though. Customers, employees, blog readers and anyone who interacts with a business has a role in shaping the brand. But do you know how your brand is doing? Just as importantly, does your business understand which elements of its brand are important to shoppers, and which are not?