5 Trends to Impact Product Packaging
As the retail space continues to crowd, both in brick and mortar stores and online, it is becoming increasingly challenging for brands to stand out from the competition and connect with consumers. Mintel, a global market research firm, has released a report of five key trends that it has forecast will have a significant impact on the packaging industry over the course of the year.
David Luttenberger, Mintel’s global packaging director, played an instrumental role in formulating these trends, and shared some additional insight into all five.
The [Re] Union of Package Structure and Branding
Luttenberger explains that brands have recently been reluctant to explore new types of packaging structures out of concern that consumers would be taken aback by the change. But, he says that brands that find a way to incorporate both a unique structure and clear elements of branding will succeed in capturing consumer attention and pushing its brand message.
“We’re seeing brands want to engage consumers on multiple levels and they’re bringing structure back in as a way to capture attention, but then tying that structure to unique brand messaging,” Luttenberger says.
Daisy sour cream is a good example of a brand that has successfully taken advantage of this trend, Luttenberger says. Daisy recently released a squeezable sour cream pouch that provides added convenience to the consumer and does not sacrifice any of Daisy’s instantly recognizable brand elements.
The Face and Role of Packaging Online
As the e-commerce industry continues to rise, Luttenberger explains that it is challenging for brands to transition the equity they have created with consumers from physical stores to the Web. The key in this trend, Luttenberger explains, is for brands to be able to provide a similar experience for consumers when they receive a product delivered to their homes.
“Brands have to really work hard to ensure that when that package is delivered to a consumer’s home, it still carries that same brick and mortar value,” he says. “It still carries that same value that they get in that retail environment in the store and they’re still getting that same value and that same equity with that online purchase.”
Packaging Gets Smart, Active and Intelligent
Luttenberger says that smart packaging is entering a “second generation,” which is being driven by consumers’ expectation for packaging to serve a specific purpose, beyond just serving as an attention grabber. He says that consumers act more like “hunters” than “surfers,” meaning that when they’re out shopping, consumers are looking for something specific, as opposed to just browsing around. The key, Luttenberger says, is for brands to leverage smart packaging to create “contextual relevancy” for the consumer.
“That relevancy has to do with what the consumer says is relevant to this time, this moment, this shopping experience or this use occasion,” he says. “That conversation is dictated by the consumer, not by the brand.”
The Experience of Packaging
This fourth trend refers to the concept that in addition to successfully protecting and transporting a product, successful packaging should also engage and entertain the consumer. Luttenberger explains that packaging can provide a respite in consumers’ daily lives, and offer a welcome change of pace.
“Although we like to talk about the technologies behind packaging, there are times when packaging needs to be fun and engage consumers on a lighter level and give some brevity and some white space to their lives and allow them to enjoy that experience,” he says.
Extend My Brand
Luttenberger says that Mintel’s research indicates that in general, consumers tend to not be fiercely loyal to specific brands. For example, he explains that a car buyer is less likely to choose a certain brand of car or truck because it’s what their parents liked to drive. Instead, Luttenberger explains that consumers will choose the brand that performs the best for their specific needs.
Because brands can no longer rely solely on brand loyalty, Luttenberger says they can combat this by creating additional products or product lines that the consumers in their target markets may also be interested in. This both increases exposure and the chances a product will be purchased.
“The key is using your insights and understanding not just what your target demographic likes, but what else do they like?” he says. “Where else can you engage them with products and experiences in their life according to their lifestyle, their mindsets, their purchasing behavior and what is right for them.”
Although it may be easy for brands to segment consumers by demographic and target them that way, Luttenberger explains that they would be better served by reaching consumers on an individual level. This in turn, will lead that consumer to seeking that brand’s products in the future.
“When you as a brand can speak to me as an individual and deliver a product and a packaging experience that speaks to me — not just a larger demographic cohort — you’ve made me feel like a person,” he says. “That builds that trust and brand equity.”