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MONTE CARLO, Monaco — “Curb Appeal” was the title of one of the many talks taking place during the Luxe Pack Monaco trade show, which ran from Oct. 24 to 26 here. Marc Rosen, president and chief executive officer of Marc Rosen Associates, led the discussion that parlayed the real-estate term into the realm of product.
“[It’s about] creating packaging with instant consumer appeal for alternative sales pathways,” he explained. The Internet, in particular, was the channel of focus.
“As time becomes more and more of a luxury, shopping online for original purchases is becoming more prevalent. Brand packaging must work harder and deliver more bang for the buck than ever before,” said Rosen.
“Technology is changing the dynamic of the marketplace, affecting how we experience, engage with and purchase our brands,” continued Dominic Burke, creative director at Webb deVlam. “Brand owners need to adapt and embrace these new channels in order to survive and flourish.”
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He said, “Sophisticated and successful brands understand that you need to have a clear and compelling narrative that is grounded in intrinsic product truths. This creates the emotional engagement and defines your brand essence.”
“Create that narrative,” agreed Joanna Norman, director of Pandora. “You want the story to become the brand.”
The product-packaging element, in particular, “has to be a must-have,” she maintained. What that entails can change from demographic to demographic. For the youth market, for instance, there must be a “cool” factor, according to Norman.
“Packaging is the front stage and the star of any brand. It’s the key to the DNA of the brand, and it’s the first piece of merchandise that a consumer sees,” said Paul McLaughlin, vice president creative at Elizabeth Arden.
To conceive Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck fragrance packaging, McLaughlin spent two days with the singer. For the scent’s outer box design, the patchwork of her apartment’s curtains was integrated. And a nod was given to Swift’s affection for the number 13, which repeats in the cap.
“Semiotics allows us to convey feelings and emotions through visual coding,” Burke said. “They are the symbols that trigger connections and subconscious associations conveying the message of the brand.”
Beauty product packaging needs to be consistent with the overall brand proposition, he emphasized.
Some notable packaging design trends in the segment, according to Barbara Le Portz, founder and ceo of Fragrance Intelligence, include graphic minimalist, black and white, and lots of color. For the latter she gave examples of the Polo Big Pony and Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 collections.
“The Web gives you a great opportunity to talk about the packaging, to talk about the brand, to talk about the DNA, to have fans talk about the brand,” continued McLaughlin. “So there are many opportunities that open much more doors to what I call the theater of fragrance. This is true with promo, as well.”
Panelists agreed effective promotions include specific events only for people who know about them through the Web, channel-specific pre-launches and products, plus VIP sampling, games, contests and making-of videos.
“You can really talk to the consumer about what you’ve done behind the scenes,” said McLaughlin, who added it’s possible, too, to hold virtual launches, like for Wonderstruck.
“We simultaneously launched in every Macy’s door in the U.S.; we had wired all the stores so people could hear her, [plus] see her speech and all the activities [taking place] in one store,” he explained.
“You have to give some exclusive things on a media that is very accessible to everybody,” continued Le Portz.
“Digital offers a myriad of new marketing and communication opportunities,” said Burke. “It accelerates the process that can lead a consumer to being a brand fan and then [becoming] a brand ambassador.”
Norman said among the Internet’s “joys” is that the medium allows a brand to discover its consumers and interact with them online.
“Listen to the consumer,” said Le Portz. “It’s crucial.”