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  • Posted by: Cathie Cocqueel on Tuesday, December 3 2013 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

    Needs drive people to buy, but emotion drives people to choose one brand over another. It’s that emotional connection that will inspire a consumer to remember and want to be engaged with your brand again. Packaging is often the first concrete point of contact between shoppers and brands, so if emotions guide brand choices, emotions should guide packaging trends.

    Psychologist Robert Plutchik theorized that there are eight main emotions: fear, anger, sadness, disgust, joy, trust, anticipation and surprise. How can brands connect with the most optimistic of these emotions?

    1. Trust:

    After multiple milk safety scandals in China, the global controversy around GMOs, meat pandemics like Poultry H7N9, the horsemeat scandal in Europe and growing concern about the health impacts of artificial and hydrogenated ingredients, consumer trust has been eroded. Just as these scandals have dominated headlines for the last several years, consumer interest in healthy living has surged.

    It’s more important than ever for brands to respond to consumers’ concerns and work to regain trust in product quality. This will not be accomplished through marketing jargon. It’s critical for brands to simplify packaging, be transparent and communicate clearly through design a product’s quality and authenticity.

    Consumers are looking for extreme clarity, to avoid confusion and feel confident about your brand and its products.

    While Swedish brand Ikea faced pulling products from its shelves and a PR problem in the midst of the horsemeat scandal, the brand continues to see success with food products in its retail spaces with strategic package design choices. For example:

    • On its cracker products, the brand magnifies the raw ingredient, in a simple and factual yet artistic way. No supplement, no effect.

    • Smári yogurt's packaging celebrates the mountains of Sweden in a way that is both playful and engenders trust.

    Ikea's Packaging

    2. Joy:

    People face daily challenges in their lives. While technology has made many things easier, it can also sometimes make life feel more complicated and overwhelming. Families struggle with work/life balance. Brands have the opportunity to delight and make people’s lives brighter at every touchpoint, creating compelling stories and personalized experiences that enhance everyday life. The package becomes a theater to stage the brand story and message. Examples:

    • Heinz's "Get Well" campaign launched in 2011 and reprised in 2012, was not only recognized in Ad Age's list of the ten best social-media campaigns of the year, it was a beautiful union of clever digital and unique packaging. The campaign allowed Facebook users to send personalized “Get well” soup cans to their friends. Using PayPal, customers could purchase cans with their own individualized message. Not only did Heinz gain 75,000 new Facebook fans, page interactions increased 650 percent and more than 4,000 cans of Get Well soup were sent.

    • Philosophy’s skin care packaging connects with the consumer through stories, sharing the brands’ philosophies on uplifting subjects like hope and grace.

    Heinz and Philosophy

    3. Surprise:

    In an ever-changing and digital-driven world, with an over-saturated market and shelves, communicating the new news is more valuable and challenging than ever. To differentiate and get the attention of overwhelmed and even blasé consumers, brands are thinking beyond a “Who has the bigger logo” strategy and are creating striking and memorable brand experiences.

    Breaking or redefining category norms allows a brand’s packaging to stand out and attract the curiosity of consumers. These moments of surprise can translate to shareable moments as well as consumers express appreciation of the design with friends and on social media.

    • To break the routine in the cleaning product category, Method will release specially designed dispensers, creating decorative limited editions of its bottles.

    • Creating an innovative wine bottle made out of compressed recycled paper, Paperboy creates surprise and inspires purchase choice and sharing that choice through word of mouth.

    Paperboy and Method

    4. Anticipation:

    Each year, million of tons of waste are abandoned, creating a major global ecological problem. In recent years brands responded, trying to reduce packaging materials like wrapping. While reduction is a good start, today some brands are rethinking waste. Reimagining the life cycle for packaging, brands are transforming waste, seeing value in repurposing it.

    Consumers can anticipate the delight of doing good and getting to put the package to use beyond the life of the product in a creative way. People can play a role in the sustainability process without too much effort. Designers are innovating approaches to the afterlife of packaging and anticipate the experience after the use of products.

    • O’right (Eco-Salon Products) launched a bottle that is preloaded with seeds. The bottle itself can be planted into the ground.

    • Stafidenios Greek raisin company designed the interior of its packaging to transform the boxes into collectable animal characters.

    Stafidenios and O'right

    Packaging has always needed to communicate brand cues, category cues, product benefits and "reasons to buy." The best packaging has done this in a way that is intuitive, impactful, indulgent, attractive, special, beautiful and timeless.

    But brands now have an opportunity to move packaging beyond the purely visual. Consumers' desire for brands to have deeper and broader purposes has given packaging an additional role - as the primary touchpoint of an emotionally resonant experience that creates trust, loyalty, differentiation and desire.

    Cathie Cocqueel is Associate Design Director at Interbrand Singapore.

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  • Posted by: Erica Velis on Monday, June 17 2013 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

    Best Global Green Brands 2013Today, most companies—driven chiefly by a practical need to reduce operational costs—are making efforts to “go green.” While the usual areas of focus like energy efficiency and water conservation remain key components of a greener business, these measures don’t always leave a strong impression on consumers. If a brand’s idea of corporate citizenship is a one-off philanthropic gesture now and then or if sustainability efforts are behind the scenes and only focused on mitigating risk or reducing costs, a brand may be missing opportunities to educate, inspire, engage and ultimately lift brand value.

    In Interbrand’s just-released Best Global Green Brands 2013 report, we examine sustainability performance, but also how consumers perceive the sustainability efforts of top brands. In the study we conducted, we found that, overwhelmingly, consumers look to the products and services that a brand offers as proof of their commitment to environmental sustainability. This is one explanation for the high performance of the automotive sector in this year’s report. These brands have invested in creating innovative products that serve as clear evidence of their commitment to sustainability (e.g., Toyota Prius, Ford EcoBoost, Nissan LEAF) and as a result, are receiving more recognition from consumers.

    People tend to trust what is more visible to them, what is real and tangible—which is why the products and services they actually use, along with marketing and messaging for those products and services, make more of an impact on them than corporate claims of sustainability. In fact, in our study, a third of respondents globally agree that the environmental activities of different companies seem very similar (31 percent) and 35 percent do not trust information given by a company about its environmental efforts. So, if operational performance is not enough to gain favor with consumers because a significant number don’t trust corporate reporting or have no awareness of what a company is doing—what lever can a brand pull to build and truly capitalize upon its green reputation?

    Our research around consumer perception of brands’ sustainability efforts in ten countries shows that it’s a small but significant influential factor that, all other attributes being equal, the perception that a brand is a good employer, good to the earth, practices what it preaches, and otherwise displays the characteristics of a good corporate citizen, it will be chosen versus a competitor. (Read more in Emily Grant and Chloe Frank’s article, The Contribution Equation.)

    At the end of the day, having the power to influence choices translates into money. The key to that power is the brand, its image, reputation and the multitude of messages, gestures, and efforts that build the collective perception of who it is, what it stands for—and how trustworthy it is. Today, it's no longer enough to make progress toward sustainability targets and publish these accomplishments in a sustainability report—and, in the age of social media, greenwashing is no longer an option either.

    To stay socially relevant, businesses need to give back in significant ways, communicate about these actions and work to overcome cynicism, while building a reputation that fosters trust and inspires both admiration and participation. As Interbrand’s global Corporate Citizenship practice leader, Tom Zara, puts it: “With all this power to influence, drive demand, and inspire loyalty, brands are uniquely positioned to bring solutions to the marketplace…[And] as concern about the environment, the treatment of workers, and long-term sustainability grows—corporate citizenship will increasingly determine which brands consumers invite into their lives.”

    Erica Velis is the content editor and lead writer for Global Marketing and Communications at Interbrand.

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  • Posted by: Ben Purkert on Friday, February 19 2010 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

    People make mistakes. We all mess up... No worries! Just forgive and forget.

    But what about brands?

    JetBlue and Toyota learned the hard way that customers never listen more closely than when you admit failure. Fast forward then to Tiger Woods who has the especially thorny task of expressing contrition as a person first, brand second.

    Now athletes are no strangers to the press conference apology. (Neither are politicians for that matter.) Every day it seems a new sports star is seeking forgiveness for use of a banned substance (I knew not what I injected!) or some other egregious misstep (I didn’t mean to say that!). But few are responsible for managing a personal brand that is the size and magnitude of Tiger’s. A global institution synonymous with perfection... How could a brand like that goof up?

    If you read the transcript of Tiger’s apology, you’ll note he details the specific consequences of his actions: “I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.” In case you’re wondering, that last one is code for brand.

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  • Posted by: Melinda Flores on Thursday, February 18 2010 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

    When brands promise you an experience and then deny it without even telling you why — well, that’s flat out frustrating.

    Let me put it this way. How would you feel about sitting down to a basket of sweet potato fries, a giant burger, and a pitcher of what you think is half-priced beer, only to find out that the Happy Hour special you came for is somehow unavailable?

    This happened to me this Monday at one of my local haunts, where there’s ALWAYS a daily Happy Hour special.  When I asked why, the waiter shrugged his shoulders and said, “Just don’t have it today. Sorry.”

    Well, that apology was not only unsastisfactory, it was unacceptable. So I sent the waiter off to ask his manager why. The reason they finally gave me? Monday was Presidents Day, and there’s no Happy Hour on holidays.

    While I absolutely understood the reason, what bothered me was the initial lack of clarity about why I wasn’t getting what I thought I was going to get. But then, just when we were ready to hightail it out of there and never return, something amazing happened. The waiter talked to his manager again, apologized, and gave my friend and I the Happy Hour deal anyway. So next week I’ll be back for another burger, basket of fries, and a half-price Happy Hour pitcher of delicious beer.

    The lesson here is that an apology, put in proper context and delivered with genuine sincerity, goes a long way to win back customer trust and loyalty. Think about the JetBlue debacle of 2007. The airline didn’t cancel flights during an ice storm and ended up completely out of commission, not just for the duration of storm but for several days after. But, to its credit, JetBlue immediately apologized and explained why. Its cost-effective but skimpy communications and reservations systems, coupled with the intense weather, couldn’t handle the onslaught. And people not only forgave, they forgot.

    It seems Toyota is trying to apply this lesson. The company has been consistently apologetic about the sudden acceleration problems with the Prius and now the power steering problems with the Corolla, explaining that sudden shifts in production due to the volatility of the automobile industry may be the reason for these malfunctions. While some recent reports indicate this might not be the case — some say Toyota’s known about both issues for years — I do appreciate an explanation. It’s certainly the first step to getting back in the good books.

    Unless, of course, Toyota wants to buy me a beer. I know a great little burger joint, actually, with a killer Happy Hour special…

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