With the increasing access to instant information media consumption continues to become more fragmented, meaning that it’s harder than ever to find the best way to communicate with consumers. Because of this, effective packaging is crucial for a brand’s success and is much more important than just a physical shell to contain or protect the product. Here we consider the importance of packaging design for challenger brands.

With so many products competing for consumer attention, the need for effective and impactful packaging has never been more crucial. Marketers have an abundance of means at their fingertips to market their brands, but packaging is at the core, so it’s essential to get it right.

As with everything we do at Saltmine Design Group, we look at packaging with a challenger mindset – and here, disruption is key.

Your silent salesperson in the final frontier

It’s commonly quoted that a product only has between four and six seconds to gain the attention of the shopper. In a cluttered retail environment with an overwhelming range of similar products on offer, packaging can make all the difference during those last few seconds when shoppers make that all-important purchase decision.

Australian consumers are savvier, better educated, more sceptical and have a greater choice than ever before, making communication through packaging even more essential. It is the final opportunity to influence purchase – it is your silent salesperson.

A guaranteed, tangible touch point  your consumer

The packaging of a product serves a bigger purpose than simply containing the product. It is often the only tangible touch-point for the consumer – they can physically pick it up, interact with it, find out additional information through the back of pack, and hopefully walk out of the store with it. It’s important to also consider its role once outside the store – does it get easily disposed after use, or stored in the pantry for months to come?

The Australian FMCG market is constantly changing and diversifying and with the continued increase in private label (Market research firm IBISWorld suggests private label products make up about around 30% of all food and grocery sales in Australia.) brands need to act. Brand Marketers need to embrace change and Designers need to push the boundaries in their design to ensure that brands don’t get lost on shelf and stay ahead of the competition in an increasingly competitive marketplace.Use your packaging to tell your brand story

With marketing budgets becoming increasingly tighter in a market of increased competition and more fragmented media – packaging is a part of the full marketing mix that is critical for success.

Use your packaging to tell your brand story.

Make a statement about who your brand is. Make it interesting, compelling and never boring. Ensure that it brings to life your brand positioning. Use it to create strong equities: typography, symbols, icons, character, colours and structures can all do this. Avoid the generic and develop idea driven design to create something that is unique, relevant and connects with your consumer.

Re-invigorate to remain relevant

The market is changing – fast. You must be conscious of the speed with which things are moving. Otherwise, before you know it your competition has made a couple of moves and you now looked dated.

Remaining relevant is critical for success. This may not always mean big moves – sometimes a series of small moves can deliver what you need, but it depends on your starting place. For example, if your brand is in a health category, but ultimately looks like junk food because it’s brightly coloured, then you might need to make a bit more of a dramatic move.

Packaging must perform

The greatest impact that design agencies are facing today is budget and timing. Both are getting much tighter as companies continue to strive for profit and quick wins in an uncertain economy. When above-the-line marketing budgets get cut, all below-the-line activity needs to work harder than ever, including packaging.

The unpredictable market can also cause brands to be hesitant to take risks when it comes to branding. Risk is often being avoided at the times when it is needed the most. The challenge for designers is to work with these external influencers and continue to fight for braver creative to hit the shelves to disrupt consumers’ purchasing habits and as a result – grow brand value.

We’ve got an interesting time ahead in the packaging design industry and we believe that brands that utilise packaging as an important marketing communication touch-point will do very well in the competitive market landscape.