Revitalizing and rebranding your packaging is never an easy decision. Even minor tweaking takes a great deal of consideration. However, packaging is one area where oftentimes change is needed—after all, technologies evolve, consumer preferences change—and sometimes you have to make a tough call. Should you rethink only the label? What about redesigning the package itself? Would slight re-adjustments get the job done without damaging your existing brand?
When you decide to make the leap, you’ll want to be sure that you have been as thorough as possible. Here are a few questions to consider as you grapple with whether and how to rethink your packaging.
1. What are your goals?
What are you trying to accomplish by rebranding or revitalizing your existing packaging? You should have a clear answer, and it should make sense in terms of cost versus benefits of revitalizing.
For example, perhaps your products are not moving as well as you think they should, and a survey of consumers reveals that the package is not flashy enough or that it’s hard to open—two obvious reasons to revitalize your packaging. Write a clear goal or set of goals and brainstorm ways to accomplish them. If your goal(s) cannot be accomplished without revamping your packaging, then you are probably making the right decision.
2. What are the costs?
Next, look at the cost to change your package or package branding. Compare it with the potential increase in sales to be sure everything aligns right. Can you accomplish what you need to by going smaller? Using lighter material? After all, you don’t want to pour money into a project if the potential for increased dividends is miniscule.
Additionally, you must brace yourself for a period of adjustment in case your new packaging doesn’t go over as well as you had planned. Further tweaks might be required before you get it right. In many cases, you have to take the extra step of marketing and explaining your decision to the customers.
3. Who is your audience?
It pays to have access to existing market research or to perform the research yourself. Your audience is crucial because they are the ones who ultimately decide if you made the right call by revamping your brand and packaging. This is an important consideration, as different audiences have different reactions—especially when you compare long-time devoted customers with potential new customers.
With new customers, you don’t have as much to lose outside of a missed opportunity. Loyal customers, on the other hand, don’t always respond well to change, especially if they see it as unnecessary. Brand loyalty is valuable. You don’t want to squander it. Yet growing your brand will almost always involve a risk of some kind, and you can’t always shy away from it.
In packaging, you must take care to strike the right balance that allows you to increase the value of your product while staying true to the customer base you’ve always counted on.
4. What is your competition doing?
Much of your decision on whether and how to revitalize your packaging will depend on what the competition is doing. If your industry values its look and feel, then perhaps any changes you make should reflect those same conservative principles. Likewise, if the industry is constantly re-inventing itself—think children’s toys and products, for example—then it’s in your best interest to stay ahead of the curb rather than look antiquated by comparison.
Consider also the placement of the competition and how your product will fit on the shelf. You want to distinguish your product in the right way so that it draws attention. For example, if surrounding products are likely to have busy packaging, you might opt to go simple—and vice versa.
5. Should you go green?
As businesses revamp their packaging designs, many are using the opportunity to choose environmentally friendly options that are easy to market. Recyclable, organic or lightweight materials can be used without having to completely re-invent your packaging.
Also, with earth colors and different icons, sustainable packaging can be indicated without being in your face. Depending on what you find in your market research, it can be a smart decision.
Don Amato is vp, sales for Chicago Tag & Label in Libertyville, IL. The company offers packaging and print products and services for a range of industries including retail, industrial, manufacturing, distribution and medical environments.