Branding and packaging

Second week of March, Xeikon organized the Xeikon Café Packaging Innovations, a workshop where during 3 days, the possibilities of digital printing of labels and packaging were discussed. On the last day, the BrandCafé XL was organized in collaboration with STIMA (STImulating MArketing). This seminar aimed to give better insights into the role of packaging for branding. Different speakers from Belgium and abroad discussed about the trends they perceive in packaging or about success stories from their own company. Benoit Cardinael from Nutella presented the success of the Nutella jar with personalized label, and Rudy De Vis from Ecover discussed about how the special origin of their primary material led to a success of the Ocean Bottle.

Essential for the Nutella-story was the possibility to print these labels with digital techniques. And that was the message from Bob Leahy of InfoTrends, a US trend watcher desk. According to him, the focus of packaging is increasingly shifting towards diversification in the form of new formats, new flavors, special editions, local editions ... All these developments will result in the need of a printing technique which will offer the possibility for shorter runs, and even individual information. It is very important to stress though that even for such short runs, print quality continues to prevail. According to a study conducted by InfoTrends, more than half of the brand owners are willing to pay more for print jobs of less than 200 labels, and for contracts with more than 50 product versions. This is therefore seen as an important strategy for the future, namely the personalized printing. This way an added value can be created when printing folding cartons with personal information, such as the personalized Kleenex boxes.

Also Rowland Heming from RH-PKG confirms the trend towards increased diversification and personalization. He also mentioned that 2/3 of consumers already know in advance what they are going to buy, meaning that packaging must be recognizable so that consumers find them as quickly as possible. Research shows that the first thing we recognize, is color. Only then do we recognize shape, and still later the style of a logo. Recognition of letters and numbers is cultural and should be taught. Many examples were given in this lecture about packaging that managed to stand out in the shop, through a clever use of color. For example, Activia as the only product packed in green packaging in an blue fridge.
The remaining 1/3 of consumers that have not decided on a purchase, must be tempted this way, and it appears that the quality of the images of the product is decisive therein. "We eat with our eyes" seems to apply here, and a good quality image will tickle our taste buds.
A very important aspect that is often forgotten, is to tell a story through the product. This can be done by showing the agricultural character of a product on the packaging, or by inventing a story about left and right Twix candy bar. Anyway, such a story should make the connection with the consumer. A trend that more and more can be observed nowadays, is to let consumers actually connect through electronic contents, a scan code that gives access to recipes, or send an e-mail.

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