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Influence From the Outside

By: Robert F. Brands
Posted: April 4, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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There are a number of societal, demographic and economic trends impacting packaging design within the beauty industry, and those intent on being on the edge of new trends would do well to monitor these overarching trends.

  • A desire to be unique—This is evidenced in the beauty industry by package advances such as new spray offerings.
  • Health and well-being—Note the rise in natural skin care products, concerns over product safety and, to an extent, the ever-growing green movement.
  • Value orientation—This is perhaps best displayed in beauty by the increase in popularity of mini products.
  • Nomadism—On-the-go lifestyles require smaller, more easily transportable products.
  • Premiumization—-This trend is highlighted by the rapid acceptance of quality pack componentry and design in prestige, masstige and now even mass products.
  • Aging of the worldwide population—This megatrend will spur the development of easy-to-hold-, easy-to-open, easy-to-close and easy-to-read products. Indeed, the graying, yet active baby boomers will cause the 60+ category to increase dramatically in the U.S. and Europe, changing the very notion of aging.
  • Sustainability—Continually look to new sustainable materials, recyclability and more eco opportunities. Sustainability is becoming the new normal, not just an added feature. Further, sustainability intersects with not just the health and well-being trend but also the trend toward premiumization. New performance-enhancing technology, materials and fresh supply chain thinking will help bake sustainability into the cake. An excellent example is Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle, the recyclable PET plastic package, which is made partially from plants. [Read more about sustainabilty, packaging and Coca-Cola’s launch of a 100% sugarcane-based high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle in "Sustainability Drives Game Changing Innovation in Beauty."]

A Wide World

Today’s consumer product landscape includes a broad spectrum of box-busting product packaging approaches, all designed to help build brands and win on-shelf attention.

A variety of notable examples are available. Take beer. Consumers can now delight in cans featuring thermochromic ink that turns blue at the ideal drinking temperature. And air care products are no longer dull parity products to be hidden away when company comes by, but are designed to be sleek, modern and a finishing touch to well-appointed homes. Artisanal foods and beverages offer packaging that doubles as works of art, and Apple product design is consistently looked to as iconic packaging that communicates the company’s core principles of “smart, sophisticated and stylish.” Even something as everyday as soda makes an impact with the powerful design for Dr. Pepper/7Up’s core four 20-ounce splash bottles, from R&D/Leverage. The bottles are eye-catching on the shelf, run efficiently on a filling line, work well in vending machines, and speak to consumers about the message of the brand—refreshment, fun and enjoyment.

In the beauty industry, one example comes from Israeli company Faran Cosmetic, the eco-friendly maker of the Nature Scent skin and beauty products, which specifies 100% recyclable all-plastic lotion dispensers from Mega Airless. This results in both optimal formula protection and the reinforcement of the brand’s core characteristics through its airless dispensing solutions. Another example is Method Foaming Hand Soap, whose package—designed by Karim Rashid—is classic, clean and makes a statement without screaming, and the golden, miniature version of the Kiss Kiss lipstick from Guerlain takes consumers back to a time of elegance, sophistication and exclusivity. This example, in packaging from Rexam, displays an intersection of art and commerce—and an excellent example of premiumization.

Setting Trends

The best package designs are works of art, as they excite retailers, attract consumers and build your brand. But how to get to that level?