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Within the Lines

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: October 3, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

In every packaging article I write, I come back to the same premise—it’s all about the brand. And the conviction only strengthens as I grow to understand the industry and the notion of what it means to be a brand owner. Therefore, I’m always pleased when I come across a blunt affirmation of these beliefs. In a presentation at Packaging Strategies 2006, Alan Isacson, president, ABI PR, stated that, “Innovation is not about packaging, it’s about giving brands the competitive edge.”

In other words, innovation is worth nothing if it doesn’t positively serve the brand. This knowledge, however, is only going to get us so far. Stating the axiom “brand is king” is good for the 101 course, but there’s no real substance to it without considering what the implication, in the case of this feature, is to packaging. It’s the application of knowledge that really counts. The knowledge should be the foundation on which better decisions can be made. Let’s add another piece ...

At Packaging Strategies 2006, Dan Abramowicz, EVP corporate technologies, Crown Holdings, offered that, “Material development will not be a key driver for the future of global packaging.” Package users, ie. the consumers, are the key driver, and package materials must better meet the needs of the users. A presentation by Mike Richmond and Brian Wagner, the president and vice president of Packaging & Technology Integrated Solutions, proposed that consumer trends equals packaging relevance.

Choosing appropriate packaging means understanding consumers and what drives them to your brand. If a brand’s packaging is driven by consumer trends, then that packaging is serving the brand—assume, for the sake of argument, that the packaging choice also is faithful to the brand identity.

What does this mean for the color cosmetic industry? As reported by Euromonitor International, color cosmetics reached sales of $345.5 billion in 2005, yet the 4.3% increase in sales makes it one of the least dynamic areas in the cosmetics and toiletries market.