How Product Evolution is Inevitable for Brands to Stay Competitive
With the FMCG and retail environment forever skewing unpredictably, the challenges presented to brand marketers to follow suit is becoming overwhelming.
Brand packaging design and its shelf appeal is more significant now than ever with brands constantly trying to evolve and escape the overload of copycat competitor products.
A more famous competitor clash entailed when Mark Zuckerberg sought out to buy Snapchat. Following a rejected offer, Instagram essentially launched a version with similar features to remain competitive, relevant and desirable amongst the social media world.
While this wasn’t necessarily a case of product packaging strategising, the principals and lesson in the scenario still apply.
Let’s look at why product evolution is vital to a brand’s success.
Product Evolution: Disruption
The art of shelf disruption is one of subtlety and generally happens right under the those of brands failing to step up and bring revitalised product packaging ideas to their customers.
We only have to stop and look at the mammoth growth and expansion of the health food aisles to notice the elaborate range of food packaging designs and box packaging designs.
Consumers have become increasingly more health conscious when selecting food products. Health and wellbeing products are starting to top other grocery categories as customers start taking what’s on your label a little more seriously.
Blurring the lines amongst trends
As a full-service design agency in Sydney, we tend to see ‘product blurring’ on the increase especially when it comes to regular consumer grocery goods, cosmetics and biopharmaceuticals.
Health, beauty and food product lines all seem to be converging into an overarching category called “well care.”
This is confusing product and shelf disruption designed to slowly incorporate or ‘blur the lines’ between what consumers think they’re purchasing, and what they’re actually receiving.
Trends like these are virtually unconquerable leaving businesses not much option but to integrate their business brand identity with what’s becoming the norm.
Product Evolution: Private labels taking over
The quality of private label products has improved substantially in recent years. Lower income earners have been the target for private label and supermarket chain brands forever, only now their packaging design and shelf appeal is starting to attract the masses.
This is due to their swift product and brand update capabilities and increase in quality versus price value. It’s far easier for these organisations to produce new products based on quick and accurate sales evaluation, not to mention the abundance of resources they have to do so.
Private label products are crushing the competitive nature the industry once recognised, with home brand goods accounting for approximately 25% of what’s in a customer’s basket.
These products are more profitable for retailers, with their brand design capabilities far more sophisticated and successful. One detrimental problem associated with private label increase is forcing the smaller guys to drop their prices for a chance to compete.
The Rise of the Smaller Players: Gaining the upper hand
Smaller companies are earning space in millennials’ shopping baskets and on the shelves due to slow responding national brands.
Distribution and product marketing has become easier and more cost effective than ever, allowing smaller companies to reach out to more target markets.
Focusing on innovation, there’s been a powershift in the way of smaller companies leaving big brands behind as they priorities traditional, outdated brand logo design and shelf strategies.
Product Evolution: Consumers’ ever-changing appetites
Times change and people change with it. Consumers are now following food brands that emphasise their nutritional value, how they’re a healthier option and they’re eco-friendly/sustainability measures and processes.
Food brands nowadays have to work extra hard to gain and keep the trust of their customers, producing goods that live up to their claims.
The Nescience Loop©
The Nescience Loop is the unconscious buying framework that consumers experience while shopping. This framework allows brand managers to identify what level of sophistication their target consumers are in, so they can ensure the product packaging is aligned with their audience’s needs and wants.
Brand Loyalty – A thing of the past?
Big brands can no longer rely on swapping their margins for sales. With brand loyalty on the downturn as product choice skyrockets, larger organisations need to innovate faster and more efficiently than their niche counterparts.
Millennials are trending away from purchasing brands based on originality and ‘what’s always been’, and rather committing to brands and their values in terms of ‘what’s current’.
Cutting costs on product packaging design and strategic development is most definitely not the solution. It’s a time for brand managers and marketers to take a leap of faith and drive customer traffic towards their products by taking risks.
Product Evolution: Your Evolutionary Strategic Brand Plan
Most brands are operating based on twelve-month plans that end up in becoming redundant by the time they see real results.
Evolutionary strategic brand planning is a primary means of sustaining business growth over time. This is a five year plan to stay ahead of the pack which generally involves seeking the expert assistance of a product packaging branding agency.
With unfathomable competition about to enter markets, a high-quality, high-performing rebrand strategy could be the only hope for existing and new brands to stay afloat.
At Jam & Co. we offer comprehensive branding solutions for small business providing a range of product packaging and branding services to get you noticed.
Key Questions to Answer when Framing Your Long-term Strategy
Brand marketers and small businesses are distracted by the very market they’re trying to dominate, as building pressures to stay worthy competitors slowly seep into mind.
Keeping your business branding relevant and successful takes an incredible amount of researching and strategising to boost customer on-shelf appeal and remain in your audience’s desires.
Here are the critical questions brands should be considering in conjunction with their Evolutionary Strategic Brand Plan when planning for the next five years:
- How will your brand communicate with your consumers?
- How will your customers and potential consumers perceive your brand?
- How will your brand continue to exceed your customers’ expectations?
- Will your brand still resonate with them functionally and emotionally?
- How would the product/brand still add value to them and their lives?
- How would the product packaging design add to the consumer experience?
- How has the packaging design evolved from where it was when you started?
- How will you stay ahead of your competitors whilst remaining relevant to your consumers?