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Where Brand Identity Meets Economies of Scale

By: Elizabeth Abrams
Posted: April 6, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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This trend toward simplicity is emerging throughout the consumer product goods. Not limited to health and beauty items, consumers are watching as their favorite food and beverage brands undergo makeovers to look more streamlined. Labels and even logos are making the transition from demonstrative to demure in an effort to project a clean, fresh and more economical image.

Sustainability: Please the Conscience

After determining a look, brands can consider form and function—a perfect place to become more sustainable. Remember though, consumers demand economy in addition to sophistication in products. This is essential to embracing sustainability, as the truly green product will naturally cost less to produce as a result of waste reduction.

Consumers are savvier at discerning truly sustainable goods from those simply nodding their heads at going green. In line with the idea of simplicity over opulence, consumers now prefer natural over synthetic. The number of sustainable products grew 79% between 2007 and 2008, and 66% of retailers are transitioning to sustainable products, according to the TerraChoice 2009 Greenwashing Report and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, respectively. What does this mean? Consumers want true sustainability reflected in their purchases, so don’t make an inauthentic effort at going green.

But remember, packaging must be durable, flexible and light. Review your product: Does it tend to lose its scent if left out for an extended period of time or does it tend to absorb the scents of products around it? Is it delicate, requiring several layers of packaging? What about damages? Is your claims rate on an incline? Enlist key people from each point in your product life cycle: development, production, sales, marketing and operations.

Consult industry associations with experience. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition endorses several packaging methods. Consider both reducing and revamping your packaging materials. Alcan Packaging Beauty, for example, offers three lightweight eco-friendly tubes. Its Access Denied tube has a tear-off band integrated into the cap, so that it is naturally tamper-resistant and eliminates the need for a shrink sleeve.