Retail shoppers face multiple shelves of similar products daily. It is as confusing for them in choosing a product as it is challenging for a marketers brand to stand out and become top of mind. To break through the retail clutter, brand managers must create well-designed packaging that not only enhance the value of the product, but attracts the attention of today’s busy consumer. The current competitive environment is driving frequent package design changes in a number of ways.
While brands are fighting for supremacy with consumers, retailers are asking for new and better packaging, new entries are forcing constant innovation, existing brands are piling on the SKUs, private-label products are changing the rules, regulations are requiring more information on packaging, and sustainability improvement requests are becoming ubiquitous. If you’re considering updating your package design, consider these points.
1) Research your brand equity
Don’t throw away past design, study them. Do your homework, look into past packaging – understand previous brand images and advertising. Find out what the brand represents to its loyal consumers, where it has been, and where it can go. And, know where it fits in the consumers’ mind. Don’t try and be everything to everyone. If you understand the previous brand story, how can you leverage it and enhance the emotional experience? What are the equities such as key messages and visuals that need to be future-advanced?
2) Throw out what doesn’t work
Don’t underestimate the value of change. Many brand managers hang on to what they believe works – because we’ve always done it this way approach. Marketers must realize that all elements regardless of their heritage may be the design element that is holding them back. Apply the “sometimes less is more” rule. Keep messaging to a minimum as too many can inhibit brand communication.
3) Understand loyalty
Dig into understanding more about your customer. How might they react to change? Today consumers are less loyal, this creates a balancing act between creating something new and exciting versus remaining familiar and trusted. If you find that consumers have great loyalty, trust, and reverence for your brand in isolation, you may have greater leeway to experiment with bold designs.
4) Understand your brand objectives
With packaging change comes risk. Staying ahead of the competition and keeping ahead of copy-cats are both good motivation, but frequent changes can dilute brand attachment when not managed with care. Defending the value of your brand often means offering something new, such as a brand extension, expansion, direction etc. Remember, don’t change for the sake of change. Make sure that any change you make, makes strategic sense.
5) Does your package look dated?
Is your outdated package left your product sitting on the shelves? It’s probably one of the most common reasons to revitalize a package. The truth is not many products or packages look “cheap” today. If yours does, you’ll stand out for the wrong reasons. Even if your packaging avoids communicating a wrong message, find out if it’s communicating the right one. If you change, will the investment result in a quick ROI? That’s possibly where market research can help by using pilot tests in limited markets.