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The packaging trends that satisfy marketer needs and meet changing customer expectations

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Appetite Creative on progressive packaging and how to make sure it meets the changing expectations of intended customers

Packaging is important. It can make or break a product and it offers brands new opportunities for connecting with consumers more effectively to build loyalty and trust. Packaging is constantly changing. Brands that are serious about competing need to be aware of these changes.

Here are some of the trends currently emerging in the marketplace:

1. Sustainable protective packaging

The pandemic has boosted online shopping to a massive degree. Research suggests this may continue beyond the pandemic. With this increase in demand, there is a need for packaging that will protect the items that customers order.

However, there is also an awareness of the need for sustainable packaging. So it’s out with the bubble wrap and in with alternatives such as corrugated packaging, mushroom-based packaging, greenwrap and other forms of sustainable packaging designed to protect products.

Some of these alternatives are biodegradable or compostable versions of established packaging materials, such as packing peanuts.

This type of packaging matters. Ethical and sustainability issues are continuing to drive consumer choices.

2. Customization and personalization

Mass customization is now more and more a feature of modern products. It follows, therefore, that packaging should also reflect this trend.

Using customization in packaging print and design enables brands to connect to individual customers, personalizing their products.

The industry saw a boom in digital print in 2021 as predicted as a result of this development.

Personalization can be as elaborate as customized product labels for mass consumer goods, or as simple as using custom insert cards with mail-order packaging.

What matters is the impact it makes on the customer, and how it adds value to their experience of the brand and the product.

3. Packaging for brand storytelling

Brands are finding new ways to weave compelling stories around them using packaging.

Packaging is a major touchpoint for consumers; it ensures a brand’s values are reflective through promotion to build an emotional connection with customers. Brands are increasingly finding new ways to apply their storytelling strategies to packaging design.

Recent examples include the minimalist approach of the online brand Beauty Pie. It even goes to the trouble of explaining its packaging process on its website, which supports its transparency in its approach to customers.

4. The unboxing experience

Brands are designing packaging so that how the customer encounters it and then unboxes the product become part of the experience.

This supports influencer marketing, with the unboxing experience becoming something shareable on social media.

Unboxing builds a sense of anticipation and excitement around consumer products, and it relies on the attractive and clever presentation of these items. It supports brand storytelling, drives customer loyalty and offers brands the opportunity to go viral.

The unboxing experience creates theater out of packaging, as major brands such as Apple have demonstrated.

It also feeds into the pandemic-driven trend for consumers to connect with brands virtually as well as physically. Unboxing bridges the gap between the digital and physical customer experience.

5. Integrated technology

Packaging is no longer simply something the consumer removes to get at the product. Now it is becoming part of the way the consumer experiences the product and interacts with the brand.

Connected, interactive or smart packaging provides the consumer with an augmented experience, drawing them deeper into the story of the product and the brand.

The gateway to all this can be as simple as a QR code, but it offers a highly effective means of capturing the customer’s imagination and interacting with them.

Essentially, this transforms packaging into a media channel and extends its value as a marketing asset.

Is your packaging progressive?

For your brand to compete effectively, you must make sure your packaging meets the changing expectations and needs of your customers.

To find out how to make your packaging progressive so that it supports your brand’s growth and development, please contact us.

Jenny Stanley, managing director at Appetite Creative.

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