Resolution: Update my product package or label

May 22, 2019By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing, Resolutions

By Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager, for the Resolutions blog series

Why resolve to update your product package design or label? I’ll give you eight situations that might prompt you to make such a resolution.

  1. You are entering a new retail channel

If your brand has previously been carried in one channel but you want to make a move into another, it may be time to update your packaging. New channels can mean new audiences and new buyers, which may mean a fresh look is in order.

For example, an online-only brand often needs to become shelf ready when they switch to brick and mortar stores. Packaging has less than 2 seconds to capture a shopper’s attention, and when they pick your product up, they need to understand not only the features and benefits, but who your brand is (brand personality) and what your values are, all without the support of your website that you had while selling online. The package also needs to stand out since it will be sitting directly next to competitors.

Or perhaps you are taking your brand from the natural market and presenting it to mainstream buyers. Does your legacy packaging resonate with their shoppers? Do you know what sorts of changes are needed for this audience? A little market research is appropriate here.

  1. You’re adding line extensions

Sometimes a brand has just had one product or one type of product for years, but they find themselves expanding with multiple products or product types and are not sure how their existing package design will apply to the new items. This is the perfect time to review and potentially update your packaging and come up with a strategy that will distinguish products or lines with the help of color coding, iconography, etc. It is a good idea to think about the future of your line and how additional product types could be incorporated into the packaging strategy.

  1. Regulations have changed

The FDA and other regulatory bodies come up with new rules every so often. For example, food manufacturers are in the process of updating their Nutrition Facts panels to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales must switch to the new label by January 1, 2020; manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have until January 1, 2021 to comply. And supplement manufacturers are in the process of updating their Supplement Facts panels as well.

In a situation like that, your designer must already make updates to the packages or labels anyway, so it is a good time to decide if anything else needs to be tweaked. Just make sure any tweaks are applied across the entire line for brand consistency.

  1. Customer preferences have changed

If your customer is now an eco-conscious millennial and you are still packaging your product in non-recycled plastic – it’s a good time to update your packaging. Or maybe your product packaging is currently pink because that was the “it” color when the package was first created, but people in your target demographic today prefer purple or green. Again, it’s a great time to make a change. If you don’t know what your customer preferences are, you can do a bit of consumer research. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to conduct a survey, but continuing down a path with packaging that is out of step with your customers’ desires can cost you everything!people looking at color palettes

  1. Competitive brands have changed their packaging or positioning

When your competitors update their packaging, they probably have a good reason. Are they positioning their brand differently? What can you learn from their changes? Are they trying to emulate you? You may need to make a change to stand out. Are they suddenly going after your target market with their new design? Try to get a step ahead. Sometimes private label products have been known to copy brands; You may not be able to stop them from copying your color scheme, but consider how can you make your package stand out with defining characteristics or iconography that’s 100% yours.

  1. You are seeking new customers

Your brand may appeal to Gen Xers, but now you want Gen Z to purchase your products as well. Research is key here before you make a change. You want to attract the new shoppers without alienating the existing. If you are seeking a new customer set, find out what appeals to them in a product package, and make adjustments accordingly.

  1. Your line isn’t unified

Some brand teams find themselves in such a rush to add new products or change package design they take shortcuts and might not follow their own brand guidelines. When this is done continuously over the course of a few years, the end result can be a brand family that does not have a cohesive look. Try this exercise – line up your SKUs as if on a shelf. Do they look cohesive? If not, it is time to update your packaging.

  1. You want to express your values and brand personality

Before, your products may have just been products. They had great features and benefits, but they had no personality. You had a brand name, but all it did was identify your product from your competitors. Now you’re wiser, have developed your brand values, and want to express your newfound personality through your marketing, social media, and of course through your packaging! This is a perfect time to reevaluate your existing brand and make changes to your package or label.

If you need help with a package design or package redesign, you can start with an assessment or jump right in with HRG. Our marketing and product analyst teams see thousands of products each year and keep ahead of consumer trends. We are happy to help you update your packaging or label design for any or the eight reasons listed above!