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Updated packaging is the tent pole of a brand makeover. New packaging creates an opportunity to fix all of the things that didn’t work. It can also reintroduce customers to a brand using a new value angle. Of course, brand managers face lots of pressure to make the most of an update. Take a look at what to avoid, what to embrace, and what definitely needs to be on your “must-have” list for new packaging.

Do: Ruthlessly Audit Your Current Packaging

You can’t know what will work until you know what doesn’t work. An audit of where current packaging designs fall short is essential when looking forward. Here are the key points to audit when rating current packaging:

  • Functionality.
  • Color appropriateness.
  • Text size and readability.
  • Effectiveness of graphics.
  • Size.
  • Strength.

An audit really looks at packaging from two views. The first view is purely a marketing view. Do the colors on the packaging align with brand style? Do the colors evoke the emotions, perceptions, and impulses that are intended for the type of product being packaged? It’s also important to evaluate if text and graphics convey the right messaging.

Next, it’s important to investigate the practical aspects of packaging. Brand managers can pull data related to product returns, defects, and other dissatisfaction indicators to learn if the packaging is actually durable enough for the product it’s housing. A high rate of damaged products after shipment could come down to the fact that current packaging materials aren’t strong enough.

Finally, package size should be carefully studied. Ensure that packaging is the right size to protect and insulate a product using an economical amount of padding. Packages that are either too big or too small can cause damage during shipping and transport. Packaging that’s too loose can cause products to become damaged from jostling. Packaging that’s too tight can end in ripped seams.

Don’t: Forget to Identify the Purpose of Your Packaging in Relation to the Purpose of Your Product

Packaging should support the purpose of the product it holds. It’s easy for brands to chase a clever packaging idea instead of focusing on the essentials. Yes, there is a place for dazzling packaging. However, it’s important for brands to remember to stick to their roots, play to their strengths and never confuse their customers with overly complex packages.

An example of marrying packaging value to product value is creating waterproof packaging for an item that will be taken to the beach. Another example would be food packaging that can easily be used as a dish. Brands have so much room for “simple creativity” when it comes to offering packaging that adds value to the product!

Do: Get Acquainted With Current Packaging Trends Among Competitors

Brands shouldn’t do what they’ve always done just because it’s comfortable. However, “starting fresh” shouldn’t necessarily mean abandoning the principles that have worked for a brand. Brands really need to study current packaging trends to see where what’s new intersects with what’s true.

It’s not as simple as just copying what other brands are doing. Integrating packaging trends means gaining an understanding of the newest packaging theories to determine why specific upgrades would bring value to a brand. Of course, it always helps to show up with real-world examples from competitors when meeting with packaging experts who will be bringing your ideas to life.

Don’t: Assume That Eco-Friendly Packaging Won’t Work for Your Brand’s Budget

Brands that haven’t upgraded their packaging in a while may be pleasantly surprised to discover all of the new eco-friendly options available. There’s a wide variety of recycled, recyclable, and low-waste packaging options out there to provide durable, attractive, and cost-effective options for brands. An upgrade to eco-friendly packaging is a great way for a brand to shake off negative perceptions caused by using packaging that is wasteful.

Sustainability is one of the most important factors behind decision-making among today’s customers. However, sustainability needs to be accompanied by top-ranking factors like hygiene, food safety, shelf life, and ease of use. The good news for brands that are ready to change their packaging is that hitting all of the top-ranking factors while also boosting a package’s “responsibility” factor has never been easier.

Customers are increasingly reporting that they are ready to throw loyalty behind brands that honor eco-friendly, responsible values. What’s more, customers are actually left feeling resentful when brands leave them “holding the bag” in the form of excessive packaging waste that needs to be tossed in the garbage. Brands are turning to eco-friendly packaging that reduces product waste because it’s the right thing to do for everyone. The secondary perk is that lightweight packaging often leads to lower production costs, lower shipping costs, and positive customer perceptions.

Do: Get Customers Involved in the Makeover Process to Build Excitement

A packaging redesign doesn’t have to be a top-secret mission. In fact, a “surprise” redesign can actually make it more difficult for customers to find your products on the shelves. It can be important for brands to avoid accidentally going stealth with a packaging redesign. Some ways to drum up excitement about new packaging to ensure that product recognition stays high after a redesign include:

  • Having customers vote on your final choices.
  • Having a contest for designing an image or logo.
  • Sharing “sneak peeks” of new packaging via social media along the journey.
  • Sending out mailers showing off your new packaging with coupons included to cause customers to actively seek out the new packaging.
  • Celebrating old packaging with shared memories of the evolution of your brand’s packaging over the years during the period leading up to the new rollout.

Ultimately, it’s important to avoid disrupting brand loyalty by making a product unrecognizable. Customers are creatures of habits. Bringing customers into the process can use excitement and anticipation as tools for ensuring that customers actively seek out newly rebranded packaging instead of overlooking the unfamiliar.

Don’t: Use Unrealistic Product Photographs That Will Make Customers Feel Deceived

Selecting a polished image that shows off your product in the best light is common in branding. However, some brands create immediate negative reactions among customers when they use packaging photography that distorts or misrepresents the look or size of a product. When using images on packaging, the goal is always to present a product in the best light instead of creating a false light.

Misrepresenting a product creates distrust among customers because they assume that the reason for the heavily doctored photo is that a product is actually inferior. In a world where consumers are more conscious of counterfeits than ever before, a “hyped” photo comes across as devastatingly disingenuous. Brands should consider “clear windows” that allow customers to see products in real-time at the point of purchase to promote brand transparency.

Do: Work With the Right Team to Bring Your Brand’s Packaging Ideas to Life

The journey to a successful packaging rebranding typically starts with graphic designers and product specialists. However, it always ends with a packaging company equipped to bring all of the colors, artwork, and dimensions to life! The right packaging company doesn’t know the meaning of the word limits. Brands need to work with packaging companies that offer endless selections for packaging materials, sizes, dimensions, and combinations. A packaging company also needs to have the volume capabilities to complete large orders. Sourcing a packaging company correctly the first time is important for cohesion and consistency once the new packaging has been rolled out.

Bring Your Brand to the Next Level With a Flawless Packaging Upgrade

No detail is unimportant when upgrading your product packaging. Ultimately, an upgrade should allow a brand to enjoy a makeover that keeps all of the elements that worked for customers. New packaging should also enhance product value by bringing its own unique value to the experience of purchasing, using, and owning a product. If your brand is ready to chart a course for a new packaging look, the Mid-Atlantic team is here to help you bring innovative designs to life using efficient, durable, and cost-effective materials. Contact Mid-Atlantic Packaging for your custom packaging quote today!