How to use insight driven design as a tool for innovation

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Anthem reveal the decisions behind the packaging design for its herbal toothpaste, Minted.

Packaging design is of course a valuable brand asset and a vital tool in attracting consumers on shelf. Although it’s only one small part of a consumer’s journey to brand engagement, it’s also a brand's only truly fully owned medium.

Brands need to be united across all touch-points but communication doesn’t necessarily need to be uniform. Now more than ever, brands need to ‘think big’ and ‘behave small’ – to retain global recognition, but also appeal to consumers on a local level.

Trends are important and can prove useful especially when looking for ways to activate your brand on a local level – if you’re able to move quickly of course as quite often once a trend is identified, the time left to ride it is limited. Trends are, by their very nature, of the moment and often fleeting - not the best avenue for return on a brands investment.

Design for the ‘future now’

When it comes to NPD and innovation, brands need to influence not follow - to focus on a way to design not for the ‘now’ but for the ‘future now’.

Strong consumer insights, especially when founded on emotional drivers, are long standing and can often be translated globally – a strong consumer insight brought to life with a strong brand or design idea can be adapted to engage with and attract consumers across many markets and touch-points.

Take millennials for example; we all know millennials are looking for ‘new experiences’ not ‘things’ – brands therefore must innovate in order to engage with and attract this audience. But how can brands innovate to extend their brand experiences without losing their core truths? This is especially important when we consider that millennials list brand authenticity as one of their most important drivers to purchase.

The key to engaging a millennial audience is to re-frame our approach – brands need to think differently in order to behave differently.

Design for use not just purchase

In order to attract an audience looking for ‘experiences’ not ‘things, we need to stop thinking of ‘consumer’s’ and start thinking of ‘users’ – we need to design not for what users ‘think’ of a brand at each touch-point but what they ‘experience’ at each touch-point.

A crucial component here will also be our ability to foster a closer relationship between product development and marketing – uniting a brands equity across all touch-points, focused on designing a truly engaging brand experience that creates demand for ‘use’ not just for purchase.

Design for innovation

Design is a powerful tool - together, we can create, test and succeed faster!

Developing and validating packaging concepts using the methodology of ‘concept car design’ is an efficient and effective avenue to explore brand innovation. The approach is grounded in core market and consumer insights, inspired by the brand, considerate of trends but not pulled around by them. Concept car design is future focused and also a tool to future-proof your brand – protecting and promoting your investment for long term growth.

Most importantly, in our constantly changing playing field, it’s an agile way of bringing ideas to life quickly – providing faster to market innovation and allowing brands the ability to design their own futures!

‘Minted’ insight driven design

When it comes to design for innovation, many people ask us ‘where do you start?’ It’s no secret that within design agencies most innovative thinking begins with a burning frustration with current category design cues, codes and visual styles. This is where the story of ‘Minted’ begins…

Supermarket shelves are a wash of white, blue and red with little to no differentiation between brands - the oral care category is long overdue a shake-up! Brand assets aren’t unique leading to copy-cat retail or offers and extreme price wars with consumers driven to navigate their purchase based primarily on discount price offers.

Toothpaste, as a product, is of course a regular and necessary purchase – it’s also an intimate one given we put it inside our mouths. However, most existing brands use synthetic flavorings made even more unnatural by the use of bold primary colours on pack.

As our collective health and wellness consciousness grows, effecting the choices we make in both our food purchases and manner of lifestyle more broadly, it only follows that such drivers also begin to bleed into consumer expectations within personal care.

On top of this, toothpaste is something consumers have to display in their homes. Personal hygiene does not need to be purely functional and we’re beginning to see small but important steps being taken across the industry as smaller challenger brands re-inject love into our staple purchases, helping to elevate the ordinary into something special. Many of us spend good money on expensive hand soaps, creams and perfumes – so perhaps price isn’t such a barrier to purchase within the category as it might once have been.

We asked ourselves, aside from the desire for clean teeth and fresh breath, what other benefits could a new oral care challenger brand bring?

‘Minted’ is a contemporary lifestyle conceptual brand of herbal toothpaste with accents of select botanicals. The products provide premium teeth cleaning and care as well as fresh breath using natural flavourings and colour codes. The design of the crimp structure at the top of pack to represent a mint leaf is unique, iconic and a valuable own able brand asset – elevating the ordinary into something special. ‘Minted’ is designed for the home, not just the supermarket shelf – a lifestyle concept brand to be proudly displayed in your bathroom.

Design director Sara Jones said: “Elevating a commodity product with a simple twist on structural design and a few beautiful graphics is all that’s sometimes needed to tell a compelling brand story in a new and exciting way. It’s the idea behind the design that holds the true value – reinforcing our concept car methodology of looking at design through another lens. Not following trends necessarily, but searching for insights and consumer patterns, perhaps appearing in different categories, and then bringing a fresh approach to a product which is entrenched in stayed category norms.”

Kirsty Cole, Head of growth at Anthem.

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