Packaging design is the leading edge

Did you know that effective packaging design is actually at the leading edge of marketing messaging to the consumer?

Marketers who want to know the next big trends in consumer demand study FMCG packaging design. Why? Because effective packaging design is at the leading edge of consumer driven messaging. Otherwise it wouldn’t sell to it’s targeted consumer.

Who watches ads these days?

These days it’s rare that I’ll go to the movies. Yesterday Jen and I took the afternoon (Monday) off to see a movie, along with all the other senior citizens. It was a fascinating and rare treat to watch the ads in the preview show.

Today because of Foxtel and the ability to fast-forward ads and the fact that there are no ads on Netflix, it was kind of nice to see what the advertising gurus were producing these days. Watching the big screen ads I had a compelling insight….

Leading edge of marketing messaging

“Product packaging, especially FMCG packaging, is on the leading, bleeding edge of consumer marketing!”

Watching the Qantas Barossa Valley ad and the Volkswagen ad, amongst others, it became apparent that the HONESTY theme, back to nature, organic and natural, authentic and artisan is what the consumer market is looking for. Really? Is this is the best that the big money adverting agencies can deliver? How 2013! What these so called grass roots ads demonstrate is what packaging designers have known for years. Packaging and packaging designers have been moving into the HONEST and REAL trends for well over three years. It seems the big money advertising world has finally caught on. They finally get they need to show real.

Leading edge messaging

Authentic insights.

Consumers are looking for authenticity. In fact authenticity has become more than simply a trend on the retail shelf. Great packaging designers have been working this trend hard for a while. Authenticity and being real, has become an essential part of a successful brand and by extension its packaging design.

Anti-authentic trend

There is even back-lash against the inauthentic. Consider the growing anti-stock-photo trend amongst digital media users. Typical stock photography has a tendency to look unnatural and often turns shoppers off. Interestingly enough, the growing Millennial market and Generation X demographics have come to view common stock images as being salesy and off-putting.  Therefore, in an effort to be perceived as “authentic,” both social media users and effective designers chose to no longer use images from stock photography sites like BigStockPhoto, iStockphoto and Instead, they show off candid and real behind-the-scenes pictures of themselves and their teams or they use illustrations in an effort to create authenticity.

Leading edge to mainstream

Authenticity is no longer just a trend… it has become a mainstream requirement!

Authentic as a trend was borne out of authentic insights and a real understanding in a deep way, not only what the consumer wants but why they want it. Truly understanding how they language their needs is an authentic insight that must be built into the pack design.

Packaging validates a trend by sales at the register. 

The research tells us that over 70% of purchasing decisions are made in the store. To be effective on the retail shelf, pack designers need to incorporate the key motivations their targeted audience into the pack design. Therefore effective packaging designers understand the data that lives behind the key questions which deliver the key design insights.

Key Insight Questions.

  • What problem is the consumer trying to solve and how does the product solves that problem?
  • Why do they care? (is the brand/product relevant); what do they say? (What are their stated feelings and intentions); What do they do? ( What is their actual behaviour?)
  • WiiFM – What’s in it for them? Does the visual personality of the brand/product  make a connection? What is the connection they are looking for?
  • How will it make life easier? What’s going on in their lives?
  • How does your product compare? Does it matter?

Skate to where the puck is going to be

The more marketers know about their targeted audience, the more they can be effective at the retail shelf. If it sells regularly on shelf, then chances are its more than simply a trend. So if marketers want to know the next big trends…if they want to know where the next big consumer insight is coming from, they need to become students of FMCG packaging design. Wayne Gretzky, the famous professional ice hockey player used to say:”I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.

Great marketers follow great packaging designers for the same reason.

Great packaging will show you where the puck is headed. Follow the packaging design and stay ahead of the curve.