4 common reactive pressures forcing Brand Marketers to update packaging… and how to overcome them

by | Jul 9, 2018 | Strategically thinking through the design process

There are 4 common REACTIVE pressures causing Brand marketers to update packaging:

  1. When your current pack hasn’t been touched in years
  2. Your Major competitor has recently updated their packs
  3. Major retailer pressure to update
  4. Cut packaging costs

Packaging -The most important element to your marketing mix

Packaging is arguably the most important element to your marketing mix. That stated when it comes to updating one’s packs, most often this happens as a reaction to something bigger going on in the market space. (See Blog post5 no option conditions forcing brands to change their packagingVery rarely is a packaging update based off a proactive strategy aimed and designed specifically to guide the market.

4 typical reasons Brand Marketers react and change their packaging

Unfortunately for the brands they work with, Brand Marketers tend to only:

  1. update packaging design if the pack hasn’t been touched in years. – This tends to be very common with large for organisations that own multiple brands. Lets face it, typically there is only so much budget to go around. This means that one tends to place the focus on those brands that are the priority.
  2. update packaging design when one’s major competitor has recently updated. There new pack look modern, fresh and exciting. They have a claim on there packs that you don’t, (Even though you could probably make the same claim/s). Sound familiar? This is potentially one of the most common reasons brands reactively update their packs. FOMO is the ultimate reactive strategy.
  3. update packaging design when under pressure from your major retailer. Australia is a very small market with less than  a handful of major retailers. As a result, this gives these retailers extraordinary power. Power enough to threaten a de-ranging if they don’t think your packaging is up to scratch. So when they tell you to jump, most often the response is “How high?”
  4. update packaging design when Procurement tells you to slash packaging costs.  We live in a time where everyone is being forced to do more with less and cutting packaging costs is high on the list of cost reduction strategies.

Short term reactivity is not sustainable.

All of these pressures result in reactionary changes to packaging. They offer short term gains but ultimately begins a cycle of continuously thinking short term. This thinking leads to following the market NOT leading it.

To avoid this – Brand marketers need to think long term. You need to have a strategy. You need a short term plan and a long term strategy that looks at:

  • What are the current market trends?
  • Where the market is going?
  • What do your consumers want?
  • How is your brand communicating with your target market?
  • How are your customers and potential consumers currently perceiving your brand?
  • Does your brand still resonate with them functionally and emotionally?
  • How is the product/brand still adding value to your consumer and their lives?
  • How is the packaging design adding to the consumer experience with the brand?
  • How has the packaging design evolved from where it was when you started?
  • How have you stayed ahead of your competitors whilst remaining relevant to your consumers?

Staying on Top

As a successful brand marketer you want to reward and continually appeal to your existing customers as well as attract new consumers to your brand. At the same time you also want to keep expanding your existing sales base. To do this effectively over time requires you to develop an Evolutionary Strategic Brand Plan.

The Evolutionary Strategic Brand Plan

What exactly is an Evolutionary Strategic Brand Plan? It is: “a strategic plan that pulls the brand into the future along a predetermined fresh and relevant pathway enticing new consumers, without confusing, alienating or losing existing customers.”

In other words, the evolutionary plan covers how the brand will connect emotionally with its existing customers along the journey, whilst at the same time attracting new consumers to the brand over a three to five year period.

Pulling your brand into the future

The best evolutionary strategic brand plans are both functional and inspirational.  

The evolutionary plan must pull the brand into the future as well as pull existing customers along without exclusion. An effective evolutionary plan must include the aspirations of its ideal target audience whilst at the same time still remain currently relevant to its current customers. “Who do they want to be in the future that is different from today?”  

Whilst a typical traditional strategic brand planning session takes a macro view of the brand as it is now, the Then the evolutionary plan looks at creating a pathway to where the consumer and the business should be headed. The most effective evolutionary strategic brand plan builds a strategy from a base of the brands emotional connection with its customers.

Building from the base of WHY?

Why” will consumers be compelled to engage with the brand now and into the future?

The most effective evolutionary strategic brand plans are not just filled with “Fluff n Puff.” These effective plans include a deep dive understanding of the key market growth drivers, current and potential future inhibitors, risks to be avoided and advantages to be leveraged.

NOTE: Whilst you as a Brand Marketer can’t really control your brand, your primary role is to influence it.

A brand is created in the minds of your consumers. Therefore you need to bring all you know about the brand/products current performance, listening both to the data and the consumer and build on your strengths when defining an evolutionary strategy.

Once you are on top of this and then adapt your packaging for that so you’re not caught when your competitor does come out with something new. You’re prepared and confident in your position because you’ve invested the right amount of time, money and thought into it. We’re talking planning years in advance, not months!

To learn more about how evolutionary brand and packaging design planning can lift your brand into the future ahead of your competition  the CLICK HERE.