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Packaging as Means to Unbox Your Presence

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and countless industries have been hit since its unfolding early this year -- in which the Marketing Industry is not an exemption. Traditional marketing was challenged leading the brands to the digital marketplace. As a result, digital marketing is on the rise but has become a bit too crowded and “noisy” for us.

Perhaps brands can still make their presence felt and messages heard through another channel - Packaging. It is now viewed as an effective promotional tool to better market one’s brand. 

Here are a few trends and shifts in packaging we believe to be beneficial in better getting your Brand Story across.

1. Hygiene and Safety

Based on the McKinsey’s Beyond COVID19: The Next Normal for Packaging Design July 2020 article, the virus’ survival rates vary from 24 to 72 hours on different packaging materials with the longest being on plastic and stainless steel. This makes the use of recyclable materials like plant-based packaging, bioplastics, and repurposed carton/paper safer for consumers. Would you look at that - nature leading us back to her. Industry leaders such as Unilever & P&G have already used coatings as a barrier to protect perishable products inside their packaging for safe customer consumption.

2. Displayability

According to Entrepreneur (Asia Pacific)’s Packaging 2020 article, the overall look and display is still an important factor in packaging. This includes your brand logo, overall design, print, branding, and personal touches like ‘Thank You’ cards, stickers, and more.

3. Interaction and Engagement

Local food businesses have started to cater to their avid patrons by providing DIY (Do-It-Yourself) kits of their bestselling food items. Mendokoro Ramenba, a highly rated Ramen restaurant notorious for its no take home policy then; and Shabunoki, a Korean BBQ restaurant, have been offering their famous broths and dishes in frozen ready-to-eat products. Gyoza, karaage and samgyeopsal, shabu-shabu, yum! You can even now get fresh Llao Llao, a Spanish frozen yogurt franchise brand, at your doorstep with its dessert pack. 

4. Messaging 

At a time when everything is uncertain, people look to someone they can trust, make them feel safe, and give support when everything seems overwhelming. According to McKinsey’s Adopting Customer Experience during Coronavirus April 2020 article, 64% of customers choose to buy from socially responsible brands. Industry leaders P&G’s Pantene and Unilever’s Love, Beauty, and Planet offer quality hair products while at the same time use recycled materials in their bottles with labels, ‘I Reuse, I Love the Oceans’ and ‘Acts of Love for our Planet,’ respectively, as part of their waste reduction pledge.

In light of these packaging shifts, we would like to share some tips for SMEs in delivering their Brand Stories through their Packaging:

1. Keep in mind that customers today need more from your products and services even if they don’t say it. Customers want to feel cared for by brands. Beyond social media channels, show how you value their safety with the added steps and changes you have done to address this concern. Give an opportunity for them to communicate with you for any feedback - good or bad.

2. Make packaging as the Brand Story carrier - not a virus carrier. Educate your consumers on what your brand offers. Implement and execute a good strategy on how your packaging can drive your message across. While your physical stores are temporarily closed, use your packaging as a means for them to still experience your brand and elevate their unboxing and purchase experience.

Put customers’ convenience at the forefront. Customers’ behaviours and lifestyles have created new demands on products and services so it is recommended that we adjust accordingly to retain relevance. Wear the hats of your customers and try your products yourselves. 

Packaging continues to change for our safety, convenience and overall brand experience. By staying at home, we get to see and feel firsthand how packaging has become an even stronger extension of one’s Brand Story.