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Beyond One Dimensional

Jeff Falk
Supplemental to Fanning the Flames of Innovation, from the June 2008 issue, MWV (MeadWestvaco) discusses brand/supplier partnerships, brand/packaging strategic uses, sustainable packaging and more.

GCI: When creating a brand, do marketers consider what the packaging can do to foster or elevate a brand? Beyond simply being a fashionable or trendy looking, can a package create real marketing advantages?

Alison von Puschendorf, director of public relations, MWV: The short answer is yes, product packaging can elevate a brand with real marketing advantages. MWV works directly with brand owners to fulfill their specific packaging needs and to enhance consumer relationships. We strive to go beyond one-dimensional packaging to provide unique, innovative and functional packaging solutions that truly connect brands with consumers. Given that consumers make their purchasing decision within a few seconds at the store shelf, packaging serves a critical role in engaging the consumer and communicating the brand.

There are cases where the packaging is more desirable than the product it contains or becomes so over time, such in the case of collector’s editions. However, there are many other ways packaging can help differentiate a brand. For instance, an environmentally-conscious brand can enhance its position by using recycled packaging materials. Partnering with the correct packaging solutions provider is a vital element to ensuring that the ultimate goal is achieved without compromising other values. Historically, incorporating post consumer fiber has led to a compromise of integrity in the package function of the board or added weight to maintain strength. However, MWV has addressed these concerns and recently introduced Printkote Eagle with 30% post consumer fiber and a technology that allows it to retain the sturdiness of a 100 percent virgin fiber paperboard without becoming denser and heavier.

MWV’s approach is to engage deeply with customers to understand their consumers and their packaging needs, and to develop customized packaging solutions that are meaningful—and valuable—in the marketplace.

GCI: How effectively are marketers promoting the benefits directly attributable to packaging? Do you believe that the benefits provided by advanced packaging are being clearly expressed to consumers? Are marketers effectively leveraging the benefits of the packaging specifically? Do consumers grasp these advances, particularly at introduction, or do they take a while to buy into new ideas?

MWV: Since secondary packaging is the initial point of contact between the brand and consumer, it is a key area of focus for marketers. Additionally, primary packaging, such as our MWV Calmar airless and foaming pumps and triggers sprayers, are in frequent contact with the consumer during product usage and therefore must maintain a high level of performance – otherwise the brand is compromised.

One area of increasing interest and opportunity is in sustainability. Consumers are more aware of the environmental and social impact of the manufacturing process, and are looking for evidence to ensure that the product was produced in a sustainable manner. As a global leader in packaging solutions, MWV is a standard setter in sustainability – from the way it sources raw materials to its manufacturing processes to package design and engineering. We partner closely with our customers to help them develop the right package for their product, and more and more that means demonstrating environmental and social responsibility. Whether it’s through the 3rd party certification labeling or choice of substrate, we deliver solutions and products that meet our customers needs and help them communicate their brand’s promise(s).

Much of the success of an effective package is due to a well thought out idea. At MWV’s Center for Packaging Innovation (CPI), packaging designers, materials scientists, engineers and marketing professionals work side-by-side with our customers to solve their greatest business challenges with customized packaging solutions. We conduct extensive consumer and market research so we understand everything from global market trends to how consumers interact with packaging and products in their own home.

GCI: Can you name any brands that you think include packaging in the early development of products? Who considers packaging as a key component of a line from the inception of that line?

MWV: John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze

John Frieda took its pioneering reputation in hair care to a new level with the introduction of Luminous Color Glaze, an entirely new type of product in the hair coloring category. The brand turned to its partner MWV for packaging that would communicate this innovation.

The solution came from our AGI Klearfold product line, whose plastic was formed into a clear “cat-eye” cylinder package, printed and fitted with custom end-caps. The design projects the lustrous nature of the product — and fits perfectly with the John Frieda-designed primary packaging inside to create the product’s final look on the shelf. The packaging gave the product and new category instant retail credibility, gaining shelf space from neighborhood drug and beauty stores to mass retailers.

NoC Invisible Dip Tube

A popular women’s and men’s clothing and accessory store was seeking to launch a new perfume. The objective was to position the perfume as a luxury item with a differentiated look and feel. This company leveraged MWV Calmar’s NoC invisible dip tube, the first dispenser tube that disappears within a fragrance container, to keep the consumer focused on the product and design.

MWV Calmar has invested substantial time and effort in developing intellectual property protection for the NoC dip tube in an attempt to maximize the value of the NoC technology to our customers. The fact that fragrance marketers retouch the dip tube out of the bottle image in their advertising is a testament to the problem.

Another noticeable trend that brand owners are moving towards is the desire to make formulations more “pure.” MWV Calmar’s “metal-free” dispensing solution, PurePath, eliminates product contact with metal dispenser components, therefore maintaining the true integrity of the formula.

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