With the exceptional growth in packaged food industry (we have worked on approx 250 brands) and advent of international players; packaging, more than ever, has become a key influencer for purchase.
For food packaging design, colour is a critical design element that influences desire.
While Impulse and regular food brands need to use colours that stand out amidst clutter for better shelf throw within modern trade and the cluttered kirana environ, gourmet brands use earthy, natural and more organic background to emphasize on authenticity and purity of the ingredients. These brands are talking to the more evolved consumer who is looking for more information. The back of pack plays a significant role in conversions – for such high engagement brands.
The science of colour has clear rules. For example, how do you decide colourfor sweet food? Generally, packaging mimics real life. So colours that exist for sweets in ‘real life’ – from all fruits to other desserts such as gulab jamuns or moong dal halwas and kheers; are acceptable for sweet packaging. Blue is generally not a sweet colour. Nor is green. These colours will have to work harder at getting instantaneous acceptance. The savorybrandsfollow the same logic oftaste and flavor indication.
Traditionally, the use of blue (reminder of the Vish in Shiva’s throat) and black (which indicated death) – have not been successful for foods. With the growing onslaught of foreign brands, however, these colours are gaining slowly gaining acceptance as gourmet foods or international foods (Oreo, Pilsbury, many indulgence chocolates/ cookies – are all examples of this growing trend. Even so, notice the appearance of a secondary colour such as red – in the Pilsbury pack or the brown in the Oreo pack that cue the food category.
White is another colour that is emerging in the category to indicate pureness of ingredients and also has gourmet overtones. Colour can help identify your brand to a category – or you can break the rules by creating a new colour for yourself. Either ways, your primary and secondary colour will be critical choices to building market share.
Personal Care Packaging
Today, the personal care category has moved from the more benign promise of beauty enhancement to to a more focused promise of “I will fix this problem for you”. The category communication is focused on the problems – of spots, wrinkles, dryness or patchy skin.
It is all about addressing the wrong, giving specialized solutions that have prescriptive strength.
To appear problem fixing, the packaging is clinical, clean, matter of fact – almost like a Doctor’s prescription. Scientific ingredients and technology/ process is more important than fruity / herbal ingredients. The mnemonics are more technical and the BOP story is equally important because today, and plays a major role in ensuring conversions at the shelf.
The hardworking nature of the product is signified by copy heavy packaging – and the fun, vibrant imagery of beauty takes away from a product’s problem solving capability
In India, where once the doctor’s word was sacrosanct and to be followed to the tee, today the consumer is buying OTC products and is self medicating. The role of packaging has to make the product usage more easily understandable.
At DY works – we repositioned Sugar Free for Cadila. From being a product for diabetics only, the need was to successfully reposition it as a product for dieters and weight conscious people. The structure of the pack was all that was needed – to communicate this major shift in positioning.
Almost half of India’s population is the youth, experimenting the new and challenging the old. The “older” drinks like whiskey and rum are feeling the heat from the younger drinks like vodka and beer.
It is about fun, dance and celebration – instant gratification. The ‘older’ vodkas borrow from the Russian idiom. The younger discourse is fun, it is the chameleon that takes on any colour. The packaging is bold, and yet tells the essential vodka story .
Today, the concern is for whiskey or rum as a category to reinvent themselves, else they run the risk of becoming irrelevant to the young.
Packaging can play an important role in repositioning brands.Food Packaging Credentials
At the start of the new millennium with a growing younger population, many categories are becoming ‘older’. Whiskey is seeing Vodka emerge as the young person’s drink and Tea is facing the heat from a ‘cooler’ Coffee with the promise of “anything can happen over a cup of coffee”.
It is a battle of relevance and tea will have to fight harder with younger packaging (more lifestyle), contemporary formats (like tea bags) and pertinent environments (like tea lounges). At DY Works, we have worked across many tea brands – and have succeeded in impacting market shares positively.
The Cold Beverages category is growing fast. This category is highly cluttered with new brands, new formats and newer segments likenectars, crush, powders et al. The choices for the consumer have increased and the category straddles options ranging from tasty, refreshing to healthy and natural.
The brands need sharply focused positioning aimed at sharply focused segments. In the related Bottled Soft Drinks Category – Thums Up has emerged as a strong contender to Coke and Pepsi. India is the only country in the world where a local brand has successfully taken on global giants. We are proud of our work done for Thums Up. The logo rejuvenation made the brand stronger, more masculine and much more edgy.
Water (TATA Water)
Another crowded category – with new entrants entering continually – is packaged water. When TATA Water asked us to create packaging for nutrient enriched water, we were stumped. Culturally, water has always been a cleanser for us, it purifies, it strips impurities, it detoxifies. How can water deposit nutrients? Water does not deposit, it washes away.
As is our way, we found the answer in culture. Then answer lay in the traditional usage of the copper “lota”. That was something that Indians understood across India. Water in a copper pot has nutrients. This concept was carried forward in packaging to create a credible nutrient rich water brand for TATA.
From gifting mithai and dry fruits we have come a long way to gifting juice packs, chocolates and even the savory Kurkure. And our choices in gifts become reflection of our personality.
The packaging codes of course emerge from the celebrations, festivity of the occasion. They are normally bright and use traditional motif associated with the celebration. And the perception of premium, expensive and quantity (more than what is paid for) are critical for any gift packaging.
From a time when luxury was for the rich and famous (and was elegant and understated), to a time when luxury brands are a passport to social mobility – luxury has become bling. 70% of today’s global billionaires are new money. They come from middle class homes – and in India particularly, the new rich as value seekers. What does luxury mean in India? What are the emerging luxury codes? Across jewellery, hospitality and accessories – DY Works has a deep understanding of luxury.
There are two parallel dairy discourses. The old one of purity, and a pristine world of the past (largely for Milk, Butter, Ghee, Paneer, Dahi) to a more international (milk, cheese, yoghurt) view of the world. While the packaging is moving to more contemporary and international styling in design (the white cow has changed to the jersey cow ) this category demands simple clean packaging.
Wholesome taste is always a big story , for both traditional formats like milk, dahi, paneer or modern formats like yoghurt, ice-creams or cheese.
Fortification is also a very significant narrative in the dairy packaging today. The mnemonics play an important part in the same and have to work really hard to be believable. The colour choice for pure milk products is mostly blue and white, while the nontraditional products’ packaging is brighter and intense. The ice-creams and yoghurts are more from the indulgent colour palette.
New Pack Design
The role of a new pack should be to establish the brand in the category. It should establish greater value for the new product – than its nearest competitor. It needs to identify the brand from which this pack wants to gain market share – and packaging has to pinpoint the reason to convert.
The trick (and the crucial) question while Rejuvenating an existing pack is; how much of new to add to the old? The answer lies in whether the brand is Growing, Plateau-ing or Declining – the degree of rejuvenation depends on that.
Sometime established brands face the risk of losing their loyal consumer base if they start looking very different. Anchoring brand assets and letting go of ones that have become baggage is a critical part of rejuvenation. While designing such pack one needs to walk the thin line between improvement and alienation.
Packaging Range Architecture
Product architecture establishes the optimal interrelationships of products, variants under a single brand.
The question to answer is how far can a brand stretch – Identify brand elasticity basis the brand essence, is it an extension (the vertical) or an expansion (horizontal) . How far is the product from the brand’s core?
The answer will define the role of each product or brand in the Motherbrand portfolio and specify the linkages between product and brands – the give and take between the Motherbrand and child brands.
Structural Design & Packaging
Instead of spending crores on advertising, a disruptive structure, ergonomically designed and one that positions the brand with consumers – can build market shares.
Structure innovations can shape behaviours and reposition products. Our structure for Sugar Free repositioned it from a product for diabetics to a product for the weight conscious.
The structure for Santoor handwash broke through clutter and built consumer preference.
The change in structure of Amul Lassi from a Tetra Pak to a PET bottle led to explosive growth for the brand.