5 no option conditions forcing brands to change their packaging.

by | May 31, 2018 | Branding with impact

There are 5 no option conditions that all brands encounter forcing them to change their packaging. These 5 no option conditions are:

1) NO OPTION condition: USE-By-Date.

A brand’s appearance has a certain lifespan. This is a no option condition. Product packaging has a “use-by” date. It’s no secret…it’s common knowledge. The question is WHEN?   

The typical brand marketer follows the data trail in an effort to try and foresee and stay abreast of the specific key metrics that keep the product afloat. These clever marketers also monitor their market competition and consumer attention. So yes… whilst all  are using data to make decisions, many of these decisions are reactive, being triggered by market conditions.

Revamping the brand’s packaging just to trigger and re-engage their consumers stimuli is a short term, quick fix solution. Whilst these changes can deliver short term revenue spikes, the big question is…How can they be sustained?

Let’s face facts, all the research affirms that there is a definite relevance between: the attention a package attracts, and the degree of the change in its appearance.            

This means that if you simply follow the research advice and change you end up hoping that:                                       

A) The level of attention your package will get with any new change or redesign will create re-engagement and new consumers and…lead to long term sustainability.

B) You also hope that the positive effects and experiences of your brand will still be expressed in the new aspects of the design/redesign and therefore appeal to both old and new consumers…however… hope is not a strategy.

2) NO OPTION condition: Staying up with trends.

One of the biggest reasons why brands revamp their packaging design is because of the constant and ever-changing waves of new design trends. The big question often is…Is this a no option condition or not? Ask yourself continuously “Does my current design fit into the context of a special time/period, culture, or groups of my ideal consumer?”

Of course what worked ten years ago probably no longer appeals to the millennial crowd. Back then, bold and contrasting colors were used. Whereas in 2018, pastel colours are all the rage. Obviously it’s important to see how your target consumers are growing and where and what they are moving towards. All trends follow a bell curve and it’s a costly exercise if you enter the trend on the downward side of the trend.

That said, redesigning your packaging every year, or following short-term trends, is a costly effort and the constant change can be harmful long term to your brand…. Unless there is a clear strategic brand journey plan that you are following.

Change must be built-in. Trend changes need to be built into the strategic evolving journey of the brand. So… yes, whilst today we may not know exactly what trend to marry up with in 5 years time, we still need to understand HOW the brand’s message will ride on the wave of any particular trend yet still maintaining a strong and relevant position in the market.                                                                                                                   

At the very least  need to plan for the inevitable changes to come and have some key data indicators in place to inform their decisions when the time comes to evolve to the next step of the brand journey.  

3) NO OPTION condition:Regulatory changes

There are those specific occasions when brands are forced to comply with new industry standards or display new production or packaging form changes. Regulatory changes and changes in company direction are no option conditions which can be seen as an opportunity to upgrade a design.

Most often these unscheduled changes cannot be planned for because these reasons may not be apparent at the time of the creation of the five year evolutionary strategic brand journey plan.  

A great example of this would be the 2025 sustainability goals announced by Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg in April 2018: “ALL Australian packaging will be reusable or recyclable into other purposes.

That said, those brands that have a predetermined strategic journey plan are able to move seamlessly to the next phase of their brand strategy map whilst still taking the required changes into account.

The reactive Brand Marketer will often use the compliance imperative as the unavoidable opportunity to update and refresh their packaging design.

On the other hand, the strategically planned Brand Marketer will use the new required changes to go beyond what’s required and yet still ensure that they stay on point with the evolutionary strategy.    

4) NO OPTION condition: Showcasing products online.


Let’s assume your product category is moving quickly to an e-commerce sales environment. As a Brand Marketer, you may need to have your pack reworked to create cut-through when viewed online.

In other words, you’ll need your pack and brand to match the ever changing needs and wants of your market. This is a no option condition. You’ll also need to considerer how your product pack looks and is perceived in an online environment.

Again as it was with the requirement for making regulatory changes, the strategically planned Brand Marketer will use the opportunity to showcase their product online as just another impetus to go one step ahead of what’s required and ensuring they stay on point with their evolutionary brand strategy.  

5) NO OPTION condition: New broom sweeping clean syndrome.

All too often a new Brand Marketer or Marketing Executive will step into the top seat. These new brooms will often have a new vision and new direction for the brand. More importantly, they’ll want to put their own stamp on the brand. This is very often viewed by Brand Marketers as a no option condition.

Unfortunately, this change is all too often driven by ego sometimes even to the detriment of the brand itself. These marketing executives will tend to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. They’ll opt for revolution as a strategy, as opposed to sticking to the already predetermined evolutionary plan.

This revolutionary change can often lead to existing customers leaving. This migration tends to add even greater sales pressure on an already struggling brand.

On the other hand, the strategically planned brand already has a buy-in from all key stakeholders within the business, so the evolutionary brand strategy still proceeds as planned no matter who sits in the driver’s seat.    

NOTE: More often than not, the packaging design agency is the one constant in a move and churn employee world. Often the agency is the best source of stickiness and to thereby manage the transition of the evolutionary brand strategy. (Unless of course they too are not delivering)