Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions for 2013? Chances are it was one of these: lose weight, quit smoking, get organized, save money, or spend more time with family. That’s all fine and good (and we wish you luck with those), but how about professional resolutions? If you didn’t get around to it, we’d like to suggest a few:
1. Be sustainable
Supply-chain score carding. Compostable packaging. Bio plastics.The new How2Recycle labeling initiative. Going green isn’t going anywhere. Consumers, retailers and manufacturers continue to demand ways to reduce waste.
2. Socialize more
Don’t push your message out – pull the consumer in. Brands – including B2B brands – have found social media to be an indispensable, trackable way to connect with consumers. On P.O.P. displays and packaging, QR codes drive consumers to your social media links or digital content such as sweepstakes entries, exclusive video content and more.
3. Get smart
Intelligent or active packaging is on the rise. Time-temperature indicator labeling helps extend shelf life and enhances product safety perceptions. RFID tags help manage inventory. Near field communications (NFC) allow consumers to just tap their NFC-enabled phones to access information. This technology is gaining traction in the U.S. for point-of-sale consumer engagement – maybe it will even replace QR codes.
4. Be ready
Retail-ready, that is. A new study by Smithers Pira projects that retail-ready packaging (RRP) will grow 6% annually to 2017. RRP demand is driven by the need for streamlined, in-store efficiencies, but we’ve also learned that RRP can provide greater brand recognition among consumers.
5. Be more flexible
Flexible packaging – especially the pouch – is having a moment. Consumers like flexibles because they’re easy to open, resealable, lightweight, and portable. Brand owners like them because they have potential for good billboard space, fun shapes, and an alignment with environmental objectives.
6. Expand your horizons
We predict that flexible package printers will soon adopt expanded color gamut printing. Faster setup times with consistent color and no loss to brand image quality mean a win-win for printers and brand owners.
7. Find inspiration
Bookmark some package design blogs and websites for inspiration. Here’s a few to get you started:
Packaging of the World
Package Design Magazine
For inspiration from packaging history, check these out:
AIGA Packaging Design Archive
The American Package Museum
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
8. Stay home more
While many brands are expanding globally, quite a few of them are bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., including Google,Apple, GE and scores of smaller manufacturers. Greater control over quality and costs like freight and duties make “re-shoring” attractive – which means other parts of the supply chain, like packaging, can be re-shored, also.
9. Refresh yourself
No matter how tight their wallet, consumers still want something new. On the other hand, they prefer to stay with trusted brands. Time for a brand refresh! Promotional packaging, new shapes and materials, new category segments, and innovative ways of connecting to consumers might help to land you on this list.
10. Fail early and often
In other words, try something new. Prototype it. And if it doesn’t work, scrap it and start over. And over again. Until you get it right. That’s the only way you’ll be able to innovate.