10 Ways Smart Packaging Extends Your Brand

Here’s a good post from John Van Ankkeren:

What can hardware manufacturers learn from cream cheese? In this example, brand owners can increase brand loyalty and gain powerful revenue with packaging that is smart.

In 2014, Kraft changed both the recipe and tub design of its iconic Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. Gone were the familiar circular vessels. In their place, redesigned oblong containers that stop products from shifting on store shelves and keep labels facing forward, so consumers can easily spot their favorite flavors.

With its new stackable design, Kraft can stock an additional row of products on a grocery store shelf. Meanwhile, the addition of high-quality, in-mold label graphics show appealing images of whole fruits and vegetables. The result: Philadelphia Cream Cheese stands out in a sea of sameness on store shelves and retains its long-standing reign as America’s best-selling cream cheese.

What’s so smart about that? How about increased brand loyalty and powerful revenue gains? Sounds pretty smart to me.

Alas, changing the shape of a container or packaging label isn’t often viewed as smart packaging. We beg to differ. In its purest form, smart packaging is a way to differentiate products and elevate brands. It may ignite a conversation among people, package, brand and objects in a connected world. Or, it may serve as a platform for sensory experiences, added functionality and improved performance. And, all together, smart packaging is experiencing massive growth; the sector is expected to reach $39.7 billion by 2020.

Smarter packages that provide better safety, wellness, convenience, value and gratification will increase brand loyalty because these factors drive most purchasing decisions and behavior.

So, whether you make cream cheese, computers or consumer electronics, consider these top 10 ways that smart packaging can illuminate your brand:

1. Go beyond conventional packaging to take advantage of hybrid approaches that integrate both rigid and flexible materials to attain better shelf life while improving sustainability and customer interfaces.

2. Use smart codes to embed more information onto your package. Standard codes have been around since the 1960s, but new advancements are making it easier to link products to machines, databases or multimedia experiences. Heinz tomato ketchup was among the first consumer packaged goods companies to use a mobile augmented reality app to turn a ketchup bottle into a fully interactive recipe book viewable on a shopper’s iPhone or Android device.

3. Deliver extended protection and more functionality through new engineered materials and substrates on labels that change when exposed to certain variables. Interactive food labels that communicate a product’s state of freshness or temperature are gaining momentum while advances in anti-theft tag sensors continue to reduce shrinkage.

4. Add intelligent functions through the integration of different manufacturing components to connect, capture, analyze and provide business intelligence. Connect packages to smartphones and cloud services in ways not available previously so you can monitor conditions and behaviors contextually, track supply chains and foster interaction between other things and objects.

5. Follow advancements in printed electronics on flexible films and miniaturized components, which are finding their way into packaging concepts today. The flexible structure of the circuits make it possible to integrate this added intelligence into existing package molding and labeling processes.

6. Enrich “lock and key” brand protection while ensuring a rich consumer experience. Such is the case with HP Instant Ink, which includes microchips in inkjet refills so the printer automatically buys ink for the customer when its supply runs low.

7. Create and nurture immersive sensory experiences when the package is opened or activated. Perhaps the brand mark becomes illuminated when the package is opened. Equally interesting could be an “under the hood” in-store tracking capability that alerts retailers if the package is opened before it’s purchased.

8. Turn your package into a billboard promoting other offerings and dynamic displays of user ratings while giving consumers multiple ways to connect with your brand.

9. Measure packaging performance for greater sustainability: Reduce, reuse and recycle. There are far-reaching benefits from following the performance of your package through its entire lifecycle to modify, improve and eliminate waste. Keurig’s decision to make all K-Cups recyclable by 2020 has boosted the brand following controversy over the environmental impact of its original multi-layer plastic K-Cup designs.

10. Leverage social networks to connect physical objects to social platforms. Enabling the connected conversation creates endless opportunities to foster integrated marketing, social campaigns and peer recommendations.

What connects all these different kinds and levels of smart packaging is the opportunity to add value to a package that either you couldn’t or didn’t do before. This not only gives you greater control and management over your supply chain, it lets you gather more customer intelligence so you can analyze vital data about your customers and how they use your product. Most important, you can build brand brilliance by enhancing user experiences while increasing product usefulness, revenue and return on investment (ROI). Read more about Smart Packaging in this 5-page research brief “Smart Packaging and the Future of Brands.”

US Converted Flexible Packaging to Hit $20.7 billion in 2019

Demand for converted flexible packaging in the US is projected to increase 3.3 percent annually to $20.7 billion in 2019.

Although advances will decelerate from the pace of the past decade, converted flexible packaging will remain a growth area in both food and nonfood applications due to the inherent cost and performance advantages of lightweight bags and pouches. Moreover, converted flexible packaging’s source reduction, space savings, and lower production and transportation costs will be increasingly advantageous in light of the growing importance among major retailers and packaged goods firms of supply chain sustainability as a competitive advantage.

All of these factors will drive further conversions from rigid to flexible formats. These and other trends are presented in Converted Flexible Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Pouches will experience above average gains, reflecting continued opportunities in both food and nonfood segments and for new conversions from rigid packaging. Analyst Esther Palevsky notes, “Growth will benefit from the increased prevalence of value-added features, such as spouts and fitments, as well as the development of newer stand-up pouch designs that can contain heavier weight contents.”

Bag demand will rise more slowly due to the maturity of a number of applications, competition from pouches, and, to some degree, rigid packaging such as clamshells and blister packaging. Overall advances will be helped by growth in food production, an expanding elderly population, and the importance of bags for bulk and other larger-sized packages in such markets as pet food, chemicals, building materials, and agricultural and horticultural products.

Candy Packages for Halloween Get Spooky

Clever graphics on stand-up pouches—along with traditional characters and color schemes—are helping to sell Halloween candy to a most-receptive audience. Americans are expected to spend a whopping $2.6 billion (with a B!) on candy for this year’s holiday, according to the National Confectioners Assn.

A recent visit to a local Walmart superstore unearthed a bevy of bags and boxes—adorned with witches, zombies and monsters, oh my!—that are a real treat for the gremlins ringing doorbells on Saturday.

Among the notable Halloween candy packaging trends:

• The majority of secondary packages are flexible bags or pouches—with more stand-up pouches than I ever remember seeing before (gotta love that vertical display!). There were only a couple cartons and other rigid packages in an entire aisle of offerings. (As you may know, flexible packaging can be difficult to photograph sometimes. My apologies if the images aren’t the best.)
• A lot of clear windows show the inner beauty of the primary packs, many of which have matching or complementary graphics.
• Faces looking at you make you look at them. Eyes, in particular, draw consumers’ attention to many of these products.
• Traditional orange and black colors are prevalent—making these packages fade a bit in a sea of sameness.
• A handful of products created “fall” graphics rather than Halloween-specific images, perhaps to help extend the selling period past Oct. 31.
• All of the Halloween candy in the aisle at this Walmart store was shipped in retail-ready displays (see below). This makes the shelves easy to stock and presents an organized look, but the edges and bottoms of the cases hid a bit too much of the bags, pouches and cartons—taking away from their shelf impact. Also, removing the package wasn’t always easy.

Want to see more? Have a look.

Pepsi’s New Package Nods to Back to the Future Fans

Speaking of packaging, Pepsi has officially confirmed the long-awaited creation of Pepsi Perfect – the soda Marty McFly orders in the second installment of one of the most beloved trilogies in motion-picture history. The fantastical cola, made famous by the film, will officially be available on October 21, 2015, paying homage to the date Marty McFly travels to in the future.

“Pepsi fans asked and we heard them loud and clear,” says Lou Arbetter, senior director of marketing, PepsiCo. “The Back to the Future trilogy was as big a moment in pop culture history then as it is now, 30 years later. We are excited to be part of this moment and to bring fans something only Pepsi could deliver – and there’s no need to wait – the future is now!”

Pepsi will make the future a reality on October 21, 2015 and unlock limited quantities of Pepsi Perfect, available for purchase online while supplies last. Fans located in the U.S. can get their hands on 1 of 6,500 Pepsi Perfect bottles, each outfitted in a special collectible case. The 16.9 oz. bottles will contain Pepsi Made with Real Sugar and will sell for $20.15.

While the clock counts down to October 21, New York Comic Con ticket holders will step into a Pepsi Perfect world as they enter the Javits Center on Thursday, October 8. From sponsoring a Back to the Future focused panel to creating a Café 80’s inspired booth featuring a DeLorean and Wild Gunman arcade game, Pepsi Perfect will bring to life the magical world created by Back to the Future Part II.