We are approaching a shift, the world is changing, economies are changing, technology is changing, lifestyles are changing. Old systems are becoming obsolete and it is forcing us all to stop, take a step back and evaluate how we approach and embrace all these changes. We specifically need to focus on how we incorporate the next phase globally into organisation and trade.
Everything around us is at our fingertips, it’s a touch of a touchscreen, a click of a mouse, a button and we are instantly connected, instantly out there, instantly bombarded with information on a global scale. What is making South Africa’s market so diverse is the contrast of implementing first world standards and aspiration but with a third world population. We go from supermarkets with all the goodies our hearts desire to the neighborhood Spar to the township spaza shop and the street vendor. In the same vicinity we have the very rich, the middle class the poor and each of these with their different product needs.
The dynamics of this all trickles down to how we approach every product we put out there. It has to be made with precision thought and design to compete globally but also to compete locally. We are indeed a wonderful, colourful rainbow nation!
If we look at what is happening around us in terms of consumer dynamics, economy and industry we will notice that people not only get overloaded with information from the moment they start their day, they have less and less time on their hands and shopping is a thing you do on your way home, between meetings and kids or their is a budget constraint, that means there are even less time to impress, it’s a quick in and out the shops in 10-20 minutes.
In the words of Lidewij Edelkoort one of the world’s most renowned trend forecasters www.trendtablet.com. Due to the pace, there seems to be a trend that people spend more time and moments in and around home, moments to sustain themselves, counting blessings, having a roof over your head, breaking bread around the dinner table with friends and family. The simple things, going back to basics, earth, the need for the tactile, going local, return to own country and boost own economy as China and India trade becoming very expensive and no longer the cheaper options. Collaborate and share and plan new ideas, building from the ground up.
Today’s packing should keep all the influencing elements in mind, the economics and production, environmental factors, its affordability, it needs to be efficient packaging to get the goods to its destination intact, needs to be practical, re-usable, double functioning and environmentally friendly.
What does all of this tell us in terms of what and where we should take packaging design and brand development in this country.
Design is a problems solving activity as much as it is a creative one, it is our job to solve the hidden need, having people, the consumer in mind and apply design sense to that idea.
In our markets and changing lifestyles we should design convenience, is it offerings that brings the bacon and egg breakfast in a single serve, is it a single serve wine glass so I don’t have to buy a whole bottle, value convenience offerings that is easy accessible. In our South African market we should re-think offerings of smaller or single serve quantities, a great majority of people do not have the means to buy bulk, or store bulk, they can only buy what they need now, they cant afford the bulk option but they can afford the single sachet or portion. In today’s climate we should also consider re-sealable packaging, many of the offerings out there are used more than once as consumers only use what they need at that moment and the product goes to waist or spoils due to the fact that it cannot be resealed and stored sufficiently at the same time we should also keep into account disposability and re-usability of the actual packaging.
We should make use of holidays or events more as consumer and products senses are heightened during these times, whether it’s the smell of cinnamon or fresh baked bread or a value pack offering, a self indulgent moment.
Consumers of today are more aware, educated, more health conscious and sensitive to value for money more than ever and a common pitt fall is to shrink the quantity of a product but for the same amount of money than the bigger quantity sold last month, consumer lost there and then, they will move on and relook to buy something else. Misleading messages that claims health or healthy eating that cannot be substantiated are dangerous grounds to tred on, not only with the new legislation but consumers are more attuned to what you can bring to the table and what is best for their families. Being in an environment where everything is accessible and more and more goods are imported, consumers are spoilt for choice, they don’t have to choose your brand, they can choose whatever they want. It is the brand’s responsibility to ensure that what they are offering is better that the competitor product. What is setting you apart from the rest,? What is the value you bring to the table?
The product needs to appeal to the emotions and senses of our consumers. Simplicity is key, have confidence in simplicity that way you will stand out among the clutter on shelf. Simplicity does not mean a boring design, by no means! Sharpen the pencil when it gets to pack information, with the current legislation there will be a lot more information and ingredients and all the other legalities than before, that has to be on pack, keep that in mind when you formulate your front panel copy that speaks to the consumer, get to the point, keep it simple and focus on core target market so the communication is loud and clear and focused on one main idea. Give the communication some breathing space to do it’s job, cluttering and getting a million messages across will only make you disappear as it creates the idea that the brand doesn’t even know what their selling point is and now they grabbing at straws just to get it to sell.
We come back to that old saying, but it is so very true, till this day “less is more and simple is beautiful”. Don’t misunderstand the saying, as everything being boring. This is saying pinpoint your market and communication to be clear, direct and simple. This is saying combine what you say with design, to give the feel you want this product to portray, remember you are talking to peoples emotions, taste, smell, look, touch, your are talking aspiration, a statement.
We need speak human. Today’s consumer wants a human connection, showing the hand behind the product. That means building responsible, trustworthy loyal brands and image and backing it up.
Today’s economy does not allow the consumers to go on big spending splurges, people today think about allowing themselves an everyday luxury to treat themselves with, a little something. A custom product, a value added product and its not necessarily price driven, it is a spoil a self indulgence, it is the “me generation”.
A trend is emerging to go back to nostalgia, today’s hi tech, easy accessibility to almost everything instantly, there seems to be a need for something that was, the good old days, a heritage. A trend that combines the old with the new. Focus on new offerings but with a twist of the past, a nostalgic connection of realness, the timeless, the tried and trusted, the warmth of homemade.
We can tap into the “alcohol market”, they are forever evolving, new inventions, new offerings, new pack formats, new textures, re-inventing themselves over and over again, we can certainly learn from them and the power of perception they create and backing it up as well. It doesn’t matter how hard times are from LSM 2-8 there is always a little extra left in the budget for that glass of wine or a beer or a cognac….