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Packaging is Critical to Brand Identity

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: February 27, 2009, from the March 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

Luxury, specialty and mass beauty brands all know packaging’s power to project an identity and move product through the till.

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While Mode and others work to utilize packaging that highlights natural formulations, suppliers such as Italy’s Leoplast are working to shine a light on the science behind new environmentally friendly packaging materials. “We go well with an eco-friendly philosophy: What is good for the environment is good for health and beauty,” says Marie-Laure Viellard, who handles public relations for Leoplast—which offers bioplastics as an alternative to petro-chemical packaging and caused a stir a few years ago when it introduced a compostable lipstick case made from corn-based PLA.

“Our mission is contributing to environmental good practice through the use of bioplastics and regenerated plastics, thus reducing the negative impact of our production on the planet without compromising on quality, performance and suitability of our products,” says Viellard. The company plans to extend its eco-friendly range to include a renewable raw material based on pulpwood, and offers a refillable option for compacts in its Bio-Stone line.

Moving toward eco-friendly packaging is challenging for packaging buyers and for suppliers such as Leoplast. While the market appears to be ready to speak about sustainability, many concepts that could be powerful and convincing, says Viellard, are often ignored or not well understood. Leoplast’s experience with bioplastics and its processing has, however, made the company something of a “reference” in the field, she says. All of Leoplast’s eco-oriented customers—a number that is always growing, according to Viellard—are given all the information and documentation available with which to support their sustainability philosophies, and their marketing ideas find a basis in science.

Customers of Cosmopak U.K. Ltd also are interested in eco-friendly packaging. In response, the company is working with Closed Loop U.K. Ltd, producer of 100% British posconsumer PP and PETG, to answer demand. This is just one example of how packaging suppliers are called upon to respond to customer requirements.

“We work very closely with our customers to ensure we create a finished package that encompasses their brands,” says Bernice Carr, Cosmopak spokesperson. “We design and develop new product ideas based on our clients’ needs and convert these ideas into products.” A recent example is the 35 mm On/Off tottle made of PP and PETG, featuring a patented shut-off valve activated by a sliding button.

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