What can smaller companies do to stay ahead of the packaging game?
As an SME offering a product, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of everything going on; new business leads; sales; account management; staff; costs. There’s a lot to continuously manage, and in the seemingly endless to-do list, one thing can get left behind – your packaging and brand proposition. More than likely, upon its first iteration your packaging would have had plenty of consideration gone into it, but as the years trickle by you may have neglected to give it as much care and attention as you once did. Of course, there are limitations to what SMEs can do – they don’t have the budget of the big guns. However, there are a few simple tips for making sure your packaging doesn’t become stale.
Proactive, not reactive
Thinking ahead rather than settling when performance is good can be a key tactic towards further success. Just look to larger corporations – there’s big investment in constantly adding to and refreshing design, not when sales are poor but to consistently stay on top. Consumers are aware that companies will be reactive and change things due to bad publicity, so it can be prudent stay ahead of the game and keep your packaging fresh continuously. Don’t just say you’re an industry leader, but show that you are by keeping abreast of the latest innovations in packaging and brand proposition.
Consistency is key
When we think of larger companies, some observations are a no-brainer. We know that Coca Cola’s stand-out on shelf is defined by their iconic red colour. We’d never, for example, see them change their main-line packaging to blue. A no brainer… or is it? When it comes to our own brands we can lose sight of these simple observations – consistency; clarity; unified message. It might seem insignificant to let an incorrect typeface slip or a low-resolution image be sent to press because we-just-don’t-have-the-time-and-it’s-not-important-enough. Don’t let your personal justifications get in the way of how a consumer will objectively view you. To them, you’re the same as any other offering they’re getting on the shelf. It’s more than likely they won’t feel sympathy for you for being a smaller company; they’ll just view the end product and subconsciously pick up on the inconsistencies.
Adapt to trends
Trends change and so customer demands will change too. There are some brands which are ‘classic’ and stand the test of time (think Lyle’s Golden Syrup) but these are the exception, not the rule. Even brands such as these will have seasonal packaging promotions and conduct research into how they could innovate and improve. A slump in sales could be attributed to a lack of innovation or not listening to consumer feedback. It may be prudent to keep abreast of current trends in packaging, before you get left behind.
Seek out feedback
Ok that’s pretty good. pic.twitter.com/9MuMJljyhR
— The Nerdy Bird (@JillPantozzi) June 26, 2016
Creating the right ethos and mindset towards your brand is half the struggle towards success. One aspect of importance is to be able to take an objective view of your offering; distance yourself occasionally, or alternatively, gain the perspective of others. Proactively understanding your buyers and what they are looking for, what they like and what they don’t like, is key to adapting your packaging. Feedback is important and being receptive to consumer demand will keep you ahead of the competition. You might consider a focus group to find out what your target audience and those already loyal to your brand think about your packaging and product. Finally, don’t dismiss the importance of social media. If people are reacting positively online and taking the time to share that’s a hugely important piece of feedback.
Pelican Communications are specialists in the environment, food and drink, outdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.