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Does your product talk to customers?


No? Your products can and should talk to people browsing along the aisle of a supermarket. Every food, beverages and cosmetics company worth its salt spends serious money on above-the-line promotions such as mass media advertisements and paid media online campaigns to engage with consumers. All this money and effort is to nudge the target consumer to pick up their product from the retail shelf. But this shelf has more than just your product. So the question is, how can you make your product call out to the discerning customer and engage with them?

Remember when the savvy folks at Nestle rebranded KitKat as ‘YouTube Break’ or when Mars rolled out new designs for Snickers, rebranding them as hunger bars.

And most recently, Coca Cola decided to give an Indian twist to their ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.

Another example of creative design is from Saint Clair Winery in New Zealand for their organic wine. “The Alternative” name was chosen as it reflected a new way of looking at organic packaging and as the alternative to the norm of non-organic wine production. The concept simply shows a vine from the leaves, to the bark to the wine. The design agency “The Creative Method” ensured that the packaging was as organic and environmentally friendly as possible, including the balsa wood with its laser etched detailing, the string and wax seal used to affix the label, the outer paper wrap stock and even the inks used to print the image.

Innovative packaging and label design has the potential to convey what your brand stands for and engage with your consumer in a powerful way

The concept of using QR codes to ‘talk’ to customers has been around for some time now. The same codes are now used by the SmartLabel initiative (www.smartlabel.org) to share Nutrition and Allergy information to customers.

Does all this innovative packaging concepts and custom labeling increase your design and printing costs?

Yes, but only if you insist on not going digital. There are on-demand digital printing options that are just in time, with shorter print runs and less wastage in redundant stock. It is also scalable if your design and/or product composition is going to vary a lot. Variable Imaging in digital printing allows elements of design to be interchangeable.

Ok, so now you are thinking of adapting digital. While it makes you more agile and has a better ROI across the supply chain compared to traditional methods, innovation also comes with a few new problems to solve. When a packaging design and the label content is enhanced through use of new design elements such as a hidden QR for example, the proofing and approval of artwork becomes increasingly complicated. Manual comparisons might not be enough going forward.

It would make sense if all aspects of design, review, approval, print proofing and rollout can be seamlessly and digitally integrated. While there are multiple applications that artwork designers can choose from for their creative work, there should also be a platform that automates managing these artworks.

Digital collaboration between internal stakeholders and external vendors through an intelligent online platform is almost a given. Its capabilities would go a long way in managing the artworks generated in this new wave of innovative packaging design.

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