Rich Quelch believes companies are having to work harder than ever to gain market influence through innovative packaging design
Packaging can be, and largely is, the deciding factor when customers are choosing what to buy. So why is it that so many companies are guilty of picking the cheapest option and not thinking creatively when it comes to all-important presentation?
Whether you’re a market-leading global brand or a new start-up, bespoke packaging helps differentiate you from your competitors and engage your audience. Ideally, FMCG businesses should consider packaging as a marketing vehicle to be leveraged. If your product sells itself on the shelf, you can expect higher sales growth with less budget. However, on the flipside, there’s little point investing considerable resources in redesigning your packaging if it isn’t necessary. Getting viewpoints from senior leaders across departments, as well as customers, can provide valuable insight into the best way forward.
The look and feel of a products packaging will catch a customer’s eye, better functionality will keep them coming back
Embracing decorative change
While there are many influencing factors when it comes to packaging performance, visual equities – such as unique shapes, textures, colours and branding – are becoming increasingly important to help consumers reach purchasing decisions quickly.
Decorative techniques shouldn’t be reserved for secondary packaging (i.e. the box the product sits within). Primary packaging, including glass and plastic bottles, caps and closures, can also benefit from a little creative thinking. Methods such as etching (resulting in the loss of transparency on glass); metalisation (a metallic effect coating); hot stamping (a textured foil image); screen printing (durable ink transfers) and anodising (mechanically polished aluminium) can introduce your brand identity and values directly onto your product.
Value added functionality
The look and feel of a product’s packaging will catch a customer’s eye, better functionality will keep them coming back. If you’re bringing a new product to market or re-launching an existing one, packaging design goes further than just aesthetics.
Whether it be water resistance, child safety, durability, insulation or refillable, value added functionality should be a key design decision. For consumers, convenience is key, so they’re looking for lightweight, easy-to-open, and resealable or reusable packaging. Functional packaging can also deliver efficiency gains and cost savings. For example, lighter and more streamlined packaging will be cheaper to transport, better durability will mean less risk of damage during transit, and protection against environmental factors will reduce product degradation and wastage. Redesigning a product’s packaging will always be a process of trial and error. However, 3D modelling is an extremely valuable tool, allowing brands to optimise both primary and secondary packaging design during the R&D phase. As too is 3D printing, enabling you to test for feasibility, durability and performance in order to make design tweaks before going to commercial tooling.
By 2020, Millennials will make up 30 percent of all retail purchases and front of mind for this cohort is environmental issues. So much so, introducing sustainable packaging features is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. By its nature, FMCG is one of the industries under growing pressure to lead the charge. Packaging design is one of the key ways FMCG leaders can support the sustainability movement and demonstrate shared-values with their customers.
To be eco-friendly, packaging can be biodegradable, recyclable, reusable/refillable, organic, non-toxic or manufactured through low impact means. Although this may create challenges and require investment in R&D to ensure packaging standards are upheld, those blazing the trail will have the most to gain.