Rebranding Strategy: Gems of Wisdom from 5 Successful Brand Revitalizations

Rebranding is a relatively broad term, as it encompasses both large and small-scale changes to an existing brand, which aim to resurrect a failing brand, reposition the brand and allow the company to reach out to a new target market, or simply help the brand keep up with the times.

  

While some brands adopt a “back to the drawing board” strategy and change everything from their logo and name to their brand values and product packaging design, a good brand revitalization strategy can sometimes be limited to a few low-key changes that enable the brand to stay relevant or differentiate itself from the competition.   

 

 

When Should a Company Invest in a Rebrand?

An impressive 61% of consumers stated that an exceptional customer experience was a major determining factor when choosing a brand, and 48% of consumers expect brands to understand their needs and assist them in finding the right product and services based on those needs.[1]

   

    

Digital Trends Target The Always On Consumer 600px 

Infographic via Cube.com [Digital Trends Target the Always-On Consumer]

  

  

Brands that have trouble understanding or catering to the customers’ needs are prime candidates for a brand relaunch, but a company can also have trouble with brand incongruence, a tarnished reputation or pressure from the competition.

 

However, the reasons for a rebrand can also be of a positive nature – a brand may experience rapid growth, as well as significant changes in the production process or the expansion of their product portfolio due technological innovations. Repositioning an economy brand as a high-end brand is another good reason for rebranding.

  

Since a successful rebrand involves performing a brand audit, market research, developing a detailed brand implementation strategy and effectively communicating the rebrand to customers and media, it is not recommended for young brands. You must have a well-established brand identity and a good level of brand awareness before you can embark on a brand revitalization journey.
 

 

Lessons Learned from 5 Successful Rebranding Strategies

1.   Harley-Davidson – Improve the Actual Product

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company initially had many advantages over their competition. For one, the brand had a purebred American provenance, a long history – their motorcycles were used by the US army in both World Wars – and were associated with an image of a powerful, fearless and rebellious man and an adventurous lifestyle that was alluring to a fairly large percentage of men in their mid-twenties and mid-thirties.

  

The brand had a good story tell, but the company still had numerous problems over the years, and faced bankruptcy on more than one occasion. The main issues that the company faced were:

  • Their products were objectively less reliable than what their competition had to offer
  • They faced very aggressive competition from a number of quality Japanese brands
  • The brand had become associated with biker gangs, notably the Hells Angels
  • They were seen as old-fashioned and outdated

 

In other words, Harley-Davidson had to address their reputation issues or face extinction. However, this was not something that could be fixed by merely changing the logo – their products didn’t meet the quality standards that the customers were accustomed to and they didn’t appeal to the younger generation. The brand actually adopted an incredibly smart strategy – spend less money on marketing and focus on making the product better.

  

 

Harley Davidson Free Wheeler 600px

Image via www.harley-davidson.com

 

 

Once they worked out all the little problems that had plagued their motorcycles, the company experienced impressive growth – Harley-Davidson, a brand that was on the verge of bankruptcy twice before, is now worth around $1 billion.  

 

The company still faces a big problem, their average customer is a white American male pushing fifty, but they have shown that they are ready to reach out to a more ethnically diverse and younger target audience. The brand plans to shift its focus towards marketing in 2016. [2]

 

 

2. Massey Bros. – Leverage Your Premium Service, Tell Your Brand Story and Ensure Your Brand Identity Creates Distinction

Massey Bros. Funeral Directors is a successful family owned and managed business established in Dublin in the 1930s. They operate in a sector which is traditionally very conservative yet they’re industry leaders in terms of developing innovative solutions. They also have the added complication of having more than six competitors also operating legitimately under the ‘Massey’ name. In addition to this, they themselves also operated under two names before their rebrand!

  

  

Massey Bros Logo 2012 72dpi

 

 

Massey Bros. have always offered a very premium service but this five star, tailor made, message, their industry leadership coupled with their multiple first to market new innovative services solutions just wasn’t been properly represented in their brand profile, tone-of-voice or brand communications strategy. They also lacked a strong brand identity or consistency across their brand collateral.

  

  

Massey Bros Brand Guidelines Cover

 

 

We conducted research and a brand audit health check, re-evaluated their whole brand proposition and purpose, their positioning, signage, uniforms, brand collateral and brand strategy. The outputs and findings from this initial body of work then provided the direction for a complete brand overhaul resulting in absolute clarity over their brand proposition, a much stronger brand identity, a higher profile with distinction in the marketplace, consistency across all the brand collateral and most importantly strong staff brand custodians throughout the business that continue to pro-actively manage their brand in the marketplace. And of course, increased market share. You can read the full details of this rebranding case study here.

 

 

3. Target – Know Your Audience and Keep Things Simple

Target was initially envisioned as a brand that catered to a somewhat more sophisticated shopper, a person looking for a more sophisticated shopping experience than one would normally find in extremely low-priced stores like Walmart, but who also wanted that stay within a reasonable budget. The problem was that, over the years, the “deal-hunting” aspect became more prominent, which essentially lead to Target being equated with the very same economy shopping experience that they originally strived to distance themselves from.

 

This caused brand incongruence, with fashionable clothes on one end and cheap food items on the other, and they simply could not compete with well-established economy brands that ruled this segment of the market.

 

Target performed a brand audit health check, and found that they were neglecting a very important demographic. In the words of Brian Cornell, Target chief executive: “Our guest is going to be increasingly a Hispanic shopper.” [3] The brand, realizing that over 50% of Hispanic Millennials identified Target as their preferred shopping destination, even created several Spanish-language adverts, with a unique hashtag – #SinTraducción (without translation).

  

   

  

  

 

Another big step towards engaging their primary audience was the decision to unite their smaller “mini urban stores” under the Target brand logo. The company previously distinguished these smaller outlets as TargetExpress and CityTarget.

 

 

 Target Express Store 600px

Image via Target.com [Target express store]

 

  

The logo design for the mini urban stores proved confusing, the words “express” and “city” were simply placed next to the classic bull’s-eye Target logo, and will only feature the Target logo going forward. With these changes, the brand has revitalized its image. However they still apparently have a bit further to go according to USA Today as things like the infamous 2013 security breach, and their latest OCD sweater has reportedly put their customers’ loyalty somewhat to the test.   

 

 

Target Ocd Sweater

 

  

  

4. Hybrid Technology Partners – Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself with a Poorly Thought Out Brand Identity 

 

Formerly known as HybridIT, this Limerick-based company offer a wide range of services, including IT, software development and customer support. They even offer a product – a unique business management ERP (enterprise resource planning) system. However, anyone who saw the “IT” in their brand name immediately thought of them as just another IT company. [4]

 

This prevented the company from accessing a larger market share, and the fact that their logo didn’t communicate their core brand message effectively threatened to keep HybridIT in the shadows. Luckily, this “more than just an IT” company caught on and decided to revitalize their brand.

 

   Hybrid Technology Partners

 

 

When working on creating appropriate brand identities for our clients, we focus on ensuring all the brand foundations have been fully developed using our Personality Profile Performer™ system before we even look at the aesthetics or design. The outputs from this system provide the roadmap for ensuring the brand identity outputs together with brand messaging and tone of voice are market and target audience appropriate, unique and in keeping a brand’s core values.

 

At first glance the change was subtle, they became HybridTP, but that one little letter was a monumental step in the right direction. The new brand identity, Hybrid Technology Partners made two things very clear:

  • The brand offers diverse technological solutions for streamlining a business
  • The company views its clients as partners, and works with them to find the best solutions

The new brand identity, coupled with some light modifications to their website, allowed HybridTP to convey their brand values – honesty, cooperation and trust – and connect with a much larger audience more effectively.

  

 

5. Narragansett Beer – Learn How to Appeal to Millennial Consumers

 

Pabst Blue Light used to be the beer of choice for blue-collar workers and hipster Millennials, but in recent years an old New England beer has stolen their title as the number one “cheap and cool” US beer.

 

The Narragansett brand has a long history, it was established 125 years ago, but the company recently made a very wise business decision and revitalised the brand, targeting Millennials. They didn’t stray away from their roots, their New England provenance, and long history being the key elements that distinguished the brand from the competition, but they did make some notable changes to the product packaging and re-evaluated their branding strategy.  

  

  

 

  

The old slogan, “Made on Honor, Sold on Merit”, remained unchanged, but with fun and colourful commercials, local girls photographed in the traditional pinup style for their calendar and increased social media activity, Narragansett has successfully made a transition into the digital age.

  

   

Narragansett Beer 2015 

Image via www.narragansettbeer.com

  

  

We know from personal experience that the Millennial demographic can be a powerful driving force that launches a struggling brand to new levels of success. Understanding both what makes their brand unique and what appeals to a Millennial audience, has allowed this low-priced craft beer to secure its position on the market. Saying that the rebrand was a success would be an understatement – the brand brought in $12 million in revenue last year, 120 times more than in 2005.[5]

   

These five successful rebrand stories all carry an important lesson for any struggling brand. A brand audit can help you reveal your weaknesses be it a problem with the quality of the product itself like in Harley Davidson’s case, an issue of brand incongruence, a dissonance between the brand logo and core brand values and the services offered by the company or a lack of awareness of your primary audience’s needs and preferences.

  

A brand relaunch is not something to be taken lightly or done for the pure sake of change, but if a brand has fallen on tough times, lacks relevance or isn’t leveraging its full potential with its target market, implementing a carefully planned brand revitalisation strategy is a big move in the right direction.     

     

You might also like:

 

Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

   

• Rebranding Strategy: Using Premium Repositioning To Increase Profitability 

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

  

• Rebranding: How to Make It Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger 

 

• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can It Be Improved?

 

• Brand Naming: Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation    

 

• Humanizing Your Brand: Why It is Key to Commercial Success

 

• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

 

• Brand Profiling: How to Use Emotion to Make Your Brand More Profitable  

 

 

So, what do you think?

  

• Does your brand have trouble staying relevant?

  

• Did you perform a brand health check to determine if there are any weak points you could improve upon?

  

• Are you targeting the right audience, and do you really understand the needs of your primary audience in terms of their needs, wants, loves, hates and aspirations?

  

• Are your products and services up to standards, or are you having problems keeping up with the competition?

  

• Is your brand identity consistent with your core values, and the type of products and services you offer, or is it unnecessarily pigeonholing you into a single niche?

   

[1] Steve, Cubemc.com, Digital Trends: Understanding and Targeting the ‘Always-On’ Consumer, April 2015

[2] Mark Ritson, Branding Strategy Insider, “Can The Harley Davidson Brand Age Gracefully?”, October 2015

[3] Sarah Halzack, WashingtonPost.com, “Target’s new strategy: We need more than just minivan moms”, March 2015

[4] IrishExaminer.com, Small Business Q&A: Paul Brown, September 2014

[5] Kristina Monllos, Adweek.com, “How Narragansett Beer Rebuilt Its Brand With a Meager $100,000 Media Budget, Deep roots and word of mouth”, June 2015

  

Limited Edition Packaging: How to Use it as Part of Your Brand Strategy

Store aisles and eCommerce pages are packed with products sold in limited-edition packages that are intended to drive increased sales. However, industry data publicized by Nielsen indicates that as much as 90 percent of new limited edition packaging designs don’t have the desired effect—and in some cases, may even hurt brand equity.

On the other hand, to a faithful collector of a favourite DVD series or dedicated brand loyalist, limited-edition packaging can be a compelling reason to purchase a new or alternative version of a much desired product as soon as possible. Indeed, it could be argued that the entire concept of limited-edition packaging is meant to urge consumers to open their wallets on the spot. Waiting too long could result in disappointment.

Below, we’ll look at several case studies, along with the associated benefits and downsides. This information could help you decide whether limited-edition packaging is a great brand strategy decision that will lead to outstanding results—or whether it’s likely to incur more costs than benefits.

Limited Edition Packaging that Promotes the Concept of Scarcity: Special Monopoly Sets Offer Real Money

Sometimes indicating that a product is a limited-edition item only available for a short period of time is enough to stimulate sales. Interested buyers can quickly recognize that there’s a relatively small number being made, and that fact makes them want it more.

Those items are frequently prized by collectors, and in other cases, people just desire them for the novelty value. Hasbro, manufacturer of the popular game Monopoly, successfully used this concept of scarcity to market the game via a specially packaged limited edition version.

To celebrate the game’s 80th anniversary, 80 versions of the game that were sold in France came with real money. In most cases, the genuine currency was mixed in with fake bills. However, one of the packages came entirely with spendable real euros. The benefit of this approach is that it appeals to people who might already want to buy the game for nostalgic reasons to reminisce about their childhoods by playing this classic game. Plus, since only 80 game sets of this sort were made, the scarcity factor drives up the perceived brand value.

For many hopeful customers, the act of opening a Monopoly box to see if it came stocked with real spendable money was probably something akin to when Charlie Bucket of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory anxiously ripped open the candy bar wrapper to see if it contained the coveted golden ticket that allowed him and a select group of others admittance into Willy Wonka’s magical candy-making site.

Limited Edition Packaging Designed to Leverage Core Brand Messages: Scotch Magic Tape

Scotch’s Magic Tape is very popular because of the way it seems to disappear onto paper after applied. The brand has even developed a dispenser so people can only use one hand to put the tape in place.

A few years ago, German company Kolle-Rebbe designed packaging that contained mirrored panels inside to create the illusion that the Magic Tape package was empty, even though it was holding five rolls of the adhesive. The special tape package even won a CLIO Award, which is the equivalent of an Academy Award in the film industry, but instead honours design, advertising, and communication professionals.

The box design promotes the brand’s “invisibility” benefit, and is an unconventional idea that makes people take notice when surveying available adhesive choices. That’s true even if they are not already familiar with what makes the tape stand out from competitors. The branding message indicates that Magic Tape makes paper tears “disappear”, because it patches them up so clearly. Plus, as already mentioned, the tape’s material is made to blend into the paper after it’s applied.

 Scotch Tape Magic 3 M

Image via www.packworld.com and ©3M

Furthermore, it was said that the decision to include green as the primary colour in the box’s design was a nod to a commitment to environmental sustainability. While that may be the case, it can also be strongly argued that the vivid green shade is already well-known to consumers.

There are many varieties of Scotch products, but the Magic Tape always has a green packaging design. Choosing to use any other colour when designing the “invisible” box could possibly have caused unnecessary confusion, and perhaps meant shoppers would have mistakenly overlooked the product when visually scanning store shelves.

This is a great example of how a limited-edition package can reinforce the brand message in a way which is both aesethetically ‘on brand’ and functional in its delivery, and we’ve had similarly favourable results when helping our clients combine aesthetics with functional benefits and practicality.

Limited Edition Packaging that Relies on Star Power: Michael Jackson Pepsi Cans and “Bad” Album 25th Anniversary Campaign

People around the world were devastated when Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” passed away. Pepsi had been a long-time partner of Michael Jackson, and that loyalty continued after the pop star’s death.

In 2012, the beverage brand launched its first global campaign to honour the artist, releasing limited edition Pepsi cans in over 20 countries. The packaging retained the brand’s usual blue background, but featured Jackson in a range of typically dramatic poses that were highly recognizable, consequently drawing instant attention from consumers.

  Pepsi Michael Jackson 600px

Image via www.marketingmagazine.co.uk ©Pepsi

To further stimulate demand, Pepsi also tapped top music stars of today to pay tribute to the artist in relation to the 25th anniversary of the Bad album. That piece of work was the seventh studio release from Jackson, and is repeatedly cited as a major influence on today’s artists. The performances were heavily viewed online and served to reinforce the concept that Jackson is one of the few artists who can boast timeless appeal across generations.

This campaign had value to music collectors, and also helped stimulate the desire in diehard fans to buy products relating to the deceased artist. Because Pepsi had to strike a deal with the managers of the late artist’s estate, the campaign undoubtedly required a significant amount of logistics. However, the challenges paid off, especially in terms of brand visibility.

Limited Edition Packaging That Supports a Charity: Bottle Green’s Stylish Drink Bottles to Fight Breast Cancer

Bottle Green sells unusual flavours of sparkling water and thereby caters to a niche market. In 2011, it developed a set of limited edition bottles that were available in the UK. The containers supported a charity called Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and featured images of stylish women. The bottles had strong onshelf impact, and were atypical to the category, which undoubtably drew the attention of their primary target audience.

Bottlegreen Csr

Image via www.packagingoftheworld.com ©Bottle Green

More importantly, that effort was part of the brand’s dedication to corporate social responsibility, and reflected a continual effort to support causes that fight breast cancer. Research indicates that when customers are presented with two similar brands in the same category, the one that supports a clear CSR activity, charity or ‘gives back’ in some way for the great good, will typically be the preferred purchase and have higher sales than the one that doesn’t. Similarly the Bottle Green CSR campaign likely helped to strengthen awareness of the brand’s charitable heart. When working with our own clients, we tend to strongly agree that a target audience feels more compelled to buy something if it aligns with a charitable cause.

Interestingly enough, unlike some brands that are sold in connection with fighting breast cancer, the range doesn’t feature a dominant pink hue. However, the arresting design of the women’s faces is very powerful. Presumably, it was more than enough to encourage customers to pick up the containers and read them more closely to get the story behind the aesthetics.

Limited Edition Packaging That Leverages Premiumisation

Luxury brands often use limited-edition packaging as part of their premiumisation strategy for adding perceived value. Oscar de la Renta is one strong example of a brand that has done this successfully—but in this case, so-called “brand evangelism” is just as important, or even more so, than actual sales numbers.

In 2011, Oscar de la Renta launched the first-ever sales initiative that was completely contained within Facebook. The brand offered a solid perfume variety of its scent Esprit d’Oscar, which was packaged inside a wearable ring and sold with a price tag of $65. After a consumer bought a ring, he or she was encouraged to share that news via Facebook. Therefore, in the space of a few seconds, awareness of the product could theoretically spread to thousands of people or more, plus make a person feel special about being among those select few who were able to snag a ring before it was too late.

  Oscar De La Renta Facebook

Image via http://wwd.com, © www.oscardelarenta.com

On the day of its release, one extremely eager evangelist found she was not able to access Facebook while at work, and was so concerned that she contacted the brand to inquire about the likelihood that the rings would be sold out before she could get one. Ultimately, a brand representative agreed to put one aside for her.

Oscar De La Renta Ring

Image via http://wwd.com, © www.oscardelarenta.com

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this case study is that people were not able to access the purchase page for the limited-edition product without first liking the brand’s Facebook page. Before offering the limited-edition ring, the brand tested that strategy by offering free samples of the perfume to people who liked the Facebook page. In just one week, the number of likes grew by 40 percent. Furthermore, 5,000 people agreed to fill out feedback surveys.

The limited-edition ring created a win-win situation: customers got the chance to order something that had built-in exclusivity, and the brand’s marketers built their databases of interested consumers.

Limited Edition Packaging Compromises Product: Halo 3 Video Game

Early versions of limited-editions of the Halo 3 had faulty hubs in the packaging that did not consistently hold the discs securely in place. This meant many people opening the packaging with the intention of starting to play the game, found that the discs had become loose during shipping and consequently were scratched, resulting in the brand owner Microsoft having to offer replacements to its customers.

 Halo3 Packaging

Image via http://www.dailytech.com ©Halo3

Despite this initial issue, Halo 3 ended up being the top-selling title of its time. It sold a total of $170 million on release day, and more than 1.7 fans decided to splurge on the $70 limited-edition version.

This is a good example of how limited-edition packaging must be properly tested to ensure they are fully functional as well as aesthetically eye-catching. The brand’s reputation didn’t really suffer as a result of the packaging problem, and neither did early sales. However, it’s important to remember that many brands don’t have the built-in advantage of such a large and dedicated fan base.

Those players were so eager to become immersed in the latest Halo release that the faulty packaging might have momentarily frustrated them, but it almost certainly wasn’t enough to cause the consumers to think twice about buying another Halo game or recommending them to friends. In this case study, the other inherent benefits of the game outweigh the issues with the packaging.

Packaging That’s too Bulky, Which Makes Storage or Merchandising Difficult: The Simpsons Box Sets

Boxed TV series sets are perpetually popular gifts, and great ways for TV fanatics to indulge themselves by being able to watch favourite episodes at any time. It’s not unusual for boxed sets to have holographic portions, fold-out sections, and other embellishments that aim to add aesthetic brand value. However, in the case of boxed sets for FOX’s animated hit, The Simpsons, the quest to dazzle perhaps went a bit too far.

 Simpsons Packaging 3 D

Image via http://www.tvshowsondvd.com

The DVDs were packaged in boxes with three-dimensional facial features from popular characters. However, this limited edition packaging feature made the DVDs very hard to store because the more bulky packaging required extra shelf space when stored alongside other DVDs. Eventually, the manufacturer announced it would also be possible to buy a version where the three-dimensional parts could be removed, making the front of the box flat for easier storage.

The Simpsons brand has a very strong established fan base so it’s very unlikely that viewers would elect not to buy the DVD sets just because they had a bulky design. However, by making the decision to also offer a version where the three dimensional facial features could be removed, the manufacturers had to incur extra overheads, which potentially cut into increased profits.

We frequently caution our own clients that it’s crucial to perform a brand audit or extensive research around the feasibility of a limited-edition packaging strategy from multiple perspectives before proceeding to brand design or production. A lack of research, proper prototype testing or unchallenged assumptions can incurr unexpected costs which eat into a campaigns profitability, or worse, cause it to run at a loss, so please do your homework before your invest in your limited edition packaging!

Limited Editions Packaging Delayed Shipment of Product: Batman: Arkham Knight Game

A special YouTube channel was created to stimulate demand for the Batman: Arkham Knight serial superhero game. However early adopters didn’t get entirely what they expected when they enthusiastically purchased the game online following a teaser campaign with video clips from scenes of the game.

Gamers who pre-ordered the limited edition of the Batman: Arkham Knight game from Amazon UK received an e-mail saying there was an unspecified problem with the packaging, which meant those shoppers would get their physical goods nearly three weeks later than expected.

Because many people specifically pre-order limited-edition goods to get them on or before the official release date, this announcement undoubtedly caused some disappointment. To compensate, Amazon UK said it would provide download codes so people could play the games on the release date, even without having their physical goods.

Unlike the above instances of packaging issues, this example probably caused more logistical headaches than financial ones. The availability of download codes meant that even though buyers couldn’t immediately enjoy the tangible goods they were promised when pre-ordering the limited edition, they could at least play the game on time—which was probably a sufficient compromise for many customers.

What’s unique about this case study compared to the others we have examined is that the limited-edition packaging not only caused hassles for the manufacturer, but also for a retailer.

What We Can Learn From These Case Studies

As the above examples demonstrate, there are many advantages to using special edition packaging as part of your brand strategy. Specifically, it usually works best when:

  • The limited-edition package is produced in extremely small quantities. This helps give items exclusivity and inceases desirability as consumers make dedicated efforts to buy them.

  • The packaging leverages and enhances the product’s branding, but still has design elements that are familiar to consumers thereby strengthening brand affinity.

  • Unusual packaging design details are integrated, but not at the expense of outweighing functional use or practicality or by becoming excessively costly or difficult to ship, store or merchandise.

  • Pop culture references and/or celebrities are leveraged through brand collaboration or joint venture to increase the perceived value of a limited edition package.

  • The special edition packaging is designed in support of a charitable cause. It’s especially helpful when endeavours like these align with a company’s already-established commitment to corporate social responsibility.

  • Items featuring limited edition packages are sold solely through social media, and people can only make purchases after first interacting with the brand’s social media page in a designated way. This approach can theoretically help a brand gain traction on social media, connect with people who might not ordinarily use social media except to buy the products, and assist with building a database that’s populated with customer feedback and contact details.

However, limited-edition packaging can also be very cost- prohibitive, to the point where profitability is undermined if not properly researched and tested. That scenario is more likely if:

  • Proper testing is not carried out in advance to ensure the elements of the limited-edition packaging performs well functionally and aesthetically. That should include taking steps to see if the packaging can withstand the rigors of being shipped around the world.

  • The limited-edition packaging is too ‘ordinary’, so it doesn’t resonate strongly enough with its primary audience. In some cases, this may mean the packaging only seems valuable to people who have proven that their brand loyalty is so deep that they’ll buy a limited-edition package even if it’s not really all that special or very eye-catching.

  • Packaging details are very complex and overly elaborate. Sometimes, focusing too much on the artistry can mean practical and functional needs get overlooked or undermined.

  • It becomes evident that the production time for a limited-edition packaging will be longer than expected, meaning the products won’t be distributed on time to meet customer expectations or launch timelines.

The Final Limited Edition Packaging Brand Strategy Takeaway

If you decide to use limited edition packaging as part of your own brand strategy then its important to ensure you blend all the functional brand essentials with the brand aesthetics, while remaining true to your core brand values and positioning.

You should also ideally conduct research, not only to test your prototype but to ensure there is actually a market for your limited line that will be attracted to your special limited edition packaging, and if you aren’t sure, weigh up the costs of doing a very small batch test of special packages. These precautions can help make your limited-edition packages much more successful instead of turning into marketing decisions that eat up profits, undermine your brand and frustrate customers.

You may also like:

  

• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

  

• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Using Premium Repositioning To Increase Profitability

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

  

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

 

• Brand Management: Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Brand Reputation

  

• Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success

  

 

So what do you think?

  • Do you agree with the claim that the Scotch Magic Tape packaging was green to promote environmental sustainability, or was that message just being broadcast to urge eco-minded shoppers to buy the tape?

  

  • Is the approach of offering a limited edition product solely on Facebook, as Oscar de la Renta did, a worthwhile brand strategy, or do you think it might be missing an opportunity with interested customers who’d perhaps like to purchase the items, but don’t use Facebook?

  

  • Do you think it’s more effective to showcase corporate responsibility by using packaging design that’s very obviously made to support a charitable cause, or is the “less is more” tactic used by Green Bottle a clever one?

  

  • In cases where smaller brands want to use pop culture references for broader brand positioning, but don’t have the resources to consider global stars like Michael Jackson, what other possibilities could they explore?

  

  • While developing limited edition packaging, how important is it to get input from consumers about the features they would like to see? What do you think is the best way to acquire that information? Should you reward participants in return for their feedback?

 

Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

The growing proliferation of multiple different brands in the market place has made customers spoilt for choice, but often at the expense of easy decision-making.

  

As most of us know, shopping has become a far more arduous affair where we frequently find ourselves overwhelmed and sometimes confused by the array of products on shelf and amount of decisions we’re required to make.

  

When presented with an assortment of options in which nothing decisively stands out, with a compellingly clear message that speaks to a customer succinctly, analysis paralysis sets in. It’s when faced with this situation that a confused shopper will typically default to making decisions based on price alone.

  

The question here is, where does your brand sit in the mix?

 

Does it stand out from the crowd with a really strong message that attracts its ideal target audience with laser edged efficiency? Or is it guilty of the ultimate sin . . . hybrid mediocrity, blending in with every other competitor and lost in the crowd!

  

The question for under performing brands becomes how to differentiate themselves effectively from among their competitors in a way that makes it much easier for them to attract the attention of their ideal customer and convince them to buy, all in the blink of an eye.

   

  

Mc Connells 600px 

  

  

Part of the winning formula of these high performers lies in that fact that those leading brands have absolute clarity over who their ideal customer is. Consequently they’ve developed a really strong brand message, which irresistibly appeals to their particular customer who in turn sees that brand as different, distinctive and memorable in a way that’s totally relevant to their specific preferences.

 

A really distinct brand has a unique brand profile, with a clear position and purpose, which helps it cut through the competing noise so it stands out, head and shoulders above the rest.

  

By not only being perceived to be unique but also solving problems, making life easier, supplying exclusive solutions for a particular kind of customer and communicating this uniqueness through subtle and overt on pack messaging a brand can outperform its competitors.

 

However don’t make the mistake of thinking that packaging design aesthetics alone are going to provide you with repeated lotto wins! Effective design must be underpinned by a well-developed strategic focus, which provides the required creative direction.  It’s when you have those insights, understanding and a fully developed brand profile that a brand can speak directly and distinctly to its ideal customer through great design.

  

Leading brands cut through the visual and cognitive noise created by an oversaturated market full of aggressive competitors and hook their ideal customers by meeting their needs both emotionally and rationally.

  

  

Evaluate Your Market and Define Your Brand Position and Purpose

 

Before any of the above objectives can be met, brands must first define their ideal customer or customers and then develop their brand strategy to reach those customers. Their branding strategy will be guided by how they respond to several key factors that help set brands apart from one another.

   

1. Fit for Purpose

What function does your brand serve? Does it have a deeper purpose beyond the obvious — what’s its ‘big why’? Successful brands dig deeper beyond the superficial and glaringly obviousness of their product category, to something which meets the needs of their customers in more emotionally engaging ways.

A toothbrush might seem rather hum drum and ubiquitousis. It’s certainly used for cleaning your teeth, but is your toothbrush especially effective with its new cutting edge technology making it far more thorough than the competition in removing dental plaque? Is it made with materials which have been chosen to appeal more strongly to your customers with a particular set of values? Define your unique purpose, align them to your brand values and amplify these through your messaging so your brand is separated from the rest in a meaningful way.

  

2. Emotionally Engaging

An emotional connection might be seen as a secondary factor, but in reality, it’s equally important and often more important than functional benefits. Is your toothbrush commanding a more premium position that not only reduces visits to the dentist, but represents the preferred choice of professional dentists and oral hygenists, making the customer feel more confident and happier with their choice? Will your extra-thorough, VIP celebrity endorsed toothbrush, the preferred choice of ‘those in the know,’ help your ideal customer feel better and more assured they have made the right decision?

 

3. Commercially Viable

Your brand’s positioning must be congruent with your budget and marketing strategy. Your pricing strategy, for instance, could fill a gap in between existing competitor prices or command a premium. Perhaps your toothbrush is perceived to be so much more superior compared to its nearest competitor that a higher price point is justified.

 

Remember that pricing can be seen as a direct value-added relationship, but higher price points or margins can also be achieved by altering brand perceptions in relation to the brand’s position to appeal to a more upscale market through premiumisation, also known as premium brand positioning. 

 

4. Translates Regionally, Nationally or Internationally as Required

Brands looking to scale must plan for regional or national differences combined with having absolute clarity of their buyer personas, also known as customer profiles or pen portraits of their primary target audience, if they intend to penetrate other markets. A brand positioning and profile that works well for one region may not translate so well to another, even on an island as small as Ireland or the UK. Will your ultra-premium toothbrush, which appeals to high end Londoners, be seen as irrelevant by customers in Leeds?

 

Combining answers to these factors and questions will help you create an overarching brand profile that matches the needs of your core customer profile. A fully developed brand profile will typically include how your brand communicates its unique:

  • Vision — The way your brand sees the world and consequently stands out
  • Values — What matters to your brand, its aesthetics or the social causes your brand cares about the most
  • Personality — The characteristics of the humanised way in which your brand speaks to your market
  • Experience — The customer’s journey from discovery of your brand to usage, referral and repeat business
  • Promise — A combination of values and experience that you pledge to uphold to your customer
  • Story — Your brand’s purpose explained through both narrative and aesthetic choices

 

The development of your brand profile under all these key headings are what provides the much needed direction and rational for your brand packaging design. It’s one of the most important stages in the branding process and one we engage in with every client we work with before moving on to design or communications strategy, assuming the research or brand audit work as also been completed before hand.

 

Every considered detail in your packaging design from the colour palette to the typography, messaging and copywriting, graphics, photography or illustration references these factors to ensure the design route chosen is relevant and effective — or what’s known in industry jargon as being ‘on brand’.

 

To give you a better idea of how this process informs packaging design, here are some examples of strongly-positioned brands aided by unique package designs in order to establish a compelling shelf presence and wholly original brand position. 

  

 

Three Examples of How Effective Packaging Design Can Influence Customer Brand Perceptions and Buying Decisions

 

Lovechock

Dutch brand Lovechock recently underwent a major rebranding overhaul, pulling off their transition beautifully. Their new package gives them a unique shelf presence, atypical to competitors in their category, through a simple shape and strikingly singular vision. The overall effect of the packaging is one that engenders trust amongst those customers looking for “free from” products of natural origin.

 

 Lovechock Pure 600px

 Image via www.lovechock.com/en/ 

 

Colour

Plain, brown kraft cardboard boxes not only speak to environmental values, they also conjure up the rich tones of the chocolate itself. A band of vibrant and natural-looking colours on the differing product labels ensures each variant is clearly distinguishable from the next while also enticing the palate with colours that excite the senses.

The simplicity of the outer pack hides a wonderful surprise inside. Open the pack to find the beauty of illustrative patterns reminiscent of decorative hardcover book end papers. This subtle design element surprises and delights, connecting to their “happiness inside” tagline whilst broadcasting the brand’s personal value set that something simple and natural can hide a deeper inner beauty.

 

     Lovechock

Image via www.lovechock.com/en/ 

 

 

Typography

Continuing with their “raw” theme, Lovechock uses clean and modern sans-serif fonts but with a “chunky” look that reminds you of the products natural and ostensibly handmade origins. An all-lowercase logo and “happiness inside” tagline are contrasted with the all-uppercase “100% RAW CHOCOLATE” to clearly indicate the product’s difference from the majority of its competitors.

 

Illustration

A simple logo in the style of the hand drawn whimsical feeling typeface continues the product’s handmade, printmaking aesthetic. The little Aztec man speaks to the chocolate’s Central American roots. He holds a “molinillo” which is a two-handed tool for whisking chocolate and blending cocoa beans into an even mixture. The end is covered in chocolate to form a heart, blending “love” and “chocolate” together. Small hearts emanating from this first heart show how positive feelings can emanate from a single, natural source.

 

  

   

  

Structural Packaging Design Details

Lovechock uses a simple shape and an unfolding box to hark back to a time when packaging was of a more handmade aesthetic. The long, blocky shape also reminds customers of the mouthwatering, log-shaped product inside, so that each bar’s box is delicious-looking by association. A tiny visible patch of the inner pattern is also used to tease the mind about the hidden pleasures and secrets the box holds inside.

 

Packaging Digest called this approach “seductive,” and when the ideal customer opens the pack to see the product and beautifully patterned paper lining inside their expectations will have been exceeded, assuming of course the test excels too!

  

The package also uses 100 percent recyclable materials to give back to the earth that produced the chocolate while also helping customers spread the love rather than their love of chocolate hurting the planet in return — all of which is totally congruent with Lovechock’s core brand values, vision, story and brand promise.

 

 

Marmite

Marmite is a brand with a rich historical legacy stretching back to the nineteenth century and yet it’s managed to maintain primary consumer relevance combined with tradition throughout the decades. Admittedly this is a very British brand with an almost a cult like following between consumers who love this spread with its distinctive, powerful, salty flavour and those who don’t — and not much in between. Marmite knows this and plays to its polarising factor to the full in its branding strategy — to great effect.

  

This is a brand with a strong personality, individualistic and singular in its outlook and a clever sense of humour that is very British in its quirkiness and eccentricity. It has a really distinctive brand voice that is unmistakably memorable ensuring it really stands out, indeed proudly shouts out its idiosyncratic and unrivalled specialness!

  

     Marmite History Jars 600px

 Image via www.marmite.co.uk

   

  

Every pack successful expresses this brand’s unique personality. Its’ bulbous shaped jar is a very distinctive shape and it has been sold in this shape since the 1920’s. Even without a visible brand name it’s entirely recognisable and consequently a very definitive unique part of the brand’s identity. An owned asset, which can’t be copied!

 

 

 

   

   

Part of Marmite’s incredible success can be attributed to its limited or special editions brand packaging strategy, which it started in 2002 with its 100th year anniversary. Each limited edition jar has successfully encapsulated more of the brands uniquely British personality through its messaging and choice of language, and personably use of the British vernacular.

 

   Marmite Limited Editions 600px

Image via www.marmite.co.uk

 

  

Since then the brand has released a significant number of limited editions packaging design lines with great success. The brand has also aligned with other iconic brands in its limited editions packaging strategy. A great example is the limited edition Marmite Guinness range produced in just 300,000 250g jars using 30% Guinness yeast in 2007 which elevated the brand in terms of profile and positioning.

 

 

 Marmite Limited Editions2

 Image via www.marmite.co.uk

  

   

The brand’s most recent limited edition packaging is themed around ‘Summer of Love’ and ‘Summer of Hate’ Marmite jars which are only available from July next month until September. Only ninety-four ‘Summer of Hate’ jars will be available across the UK (one for each day of the UK summer). Such scarcity will make them even more appealing as collectibles amongst its fans. Made with a ‘lighter summery blend’, the packaging takes its inspiration from Woodstock and the summer of love in 1967, playing on its nostalgic provenance to the full.

   

 

Marmite Summer Limited Edition 600px

  Image via www.marmite.co.uk

 

 

 

Boss Monster Card Game 

Sometimes, a packaging concept can be so powerful that it stands in as a major selling point of the product unto itself. American card game designer Brotherwise Games struck a chord of nostalgia with Kickstarter funders.

 

  

 Boss Monster Cards 600px

 Image via www.brotherwisegames.com

 

 

Accuracy of design was absolutely crucial to this concept in order to win over the right type of fans. The box containing the card decks looks uncannily identical to a product box for original Nintendo Entertainment System games of the late ‘80s, all the way down to the shape of the illustration border and the placement of badges.

 

Card game enthusiasts were so enthusiastic about the nostalgic element of this packaging design that they funded the game’s initial Kickstarter campaign well beyond all the initial funding goals.

 

  Bossmonster Box Sleeve 600px

 Image via www.brotherwisegames.com 

 

 

Many buyers were adamant about getting the special packaging sleeve that slid over the original package and mimicked Nintendo’s famous first “Legend of Zelda” game box. Products like these create strong emotional connections, develop cult followings and invite “unboxing” videos galore on social media.

 

 

   

  

 

Conclusion: Plot Your Unique Brand Path Then Journey Down It Fearlessly

In an ideal world all agencies, organisations and companies would invest resources into developing their brand strategy to ensure that it is fit for purpose, emotionally engaging and commercially successful in the short and medium term while also ensuring that it translates nationally and internationally as required across all its relevant markets.

 

With so many choices and options available be it at the local supermarket or online, brands cannot afford to be unclear or equivocal about their brand’s positioning, promise, personality or the way in which it communicate its values. Instead, the brand packaging must be like a lightning rod drawing energy and enthusiasm towards the shelved product.

  

Our experience working with many clients over the years has repeatedly brought to the fore that one of the many challenges organisations and businesses face is evaluating and developing the most effective positioning and profile for their brand — the best way in which to engage their primary target audiences and give them a compelling reason to engage and become loyal brand advocates. It’s the uppermost issue that challenenges brand owners and managers all the time, and the reason why we developed the Personality Profile Performer™, a systemized process to provide them with a much needed solution. 

  

People buy with emotion, regardless of gender, and justify with rationale. Consequently, every brand needs to be grounded in emotional appeal by tapping into the emotionally motivating factors that most readily engages their primary audiences. After all, there are very few, if any, truly new-to-the-world ideas anymore. To be perceived as truly distinctive, a brand must convey more compelling, sustaining differentiation, and the best way to do so is through emotion, as evidenced masterfully by Apple. Tying service, product details or even ideas to emotional values and seeking emotional connections with your primary audience cultivates more meaningful, sustained customer relationships.

  

In order to forge this type of relationship, your organisation needs to create an emotionally compelling, humanised brand through a highly-developed brand strategy. Part of this task includes shaping your brand, defining it and articulating what it is “all about” as well as what it stands for in the global scheme. Developing your brand’s profile involves defining: vision, values, personality, experience, promise and story, coupled with hierarchy planning — all focussed around the needs of your primary target audience. This process is accomplished using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™, which we use when working with our clients.

 

Applying a strategic approach in this way provides stronger direction and the essential brand foundations required for positioning, differentiation and directing the creative expression of the brand or design outputs — e.g. brand logo design, brand collateral design, web design, packaging design, etc. All of these elements can only come after the brand foundation work has been completed. The outputs from Personality Profile Performer™ help identify, and amplify differentiating brand messaging which is also used to shape the bespoke nature of integrated marketing communications as well as PR focused around the needs and preferences the primary target audience.

  

In the end, your brand must be able to speak to the world through its packaging in a clear, distinct voice that not only resonates with a clearly identified group but impels them to take action. Successful brands are able to reinforce emotional customer behaviours to the point where repeat business almost becomes a ritual in loyalty. Unsuccessful brands are faceless generic packs gathering dust on a shelf before they disappear forever.

   

You may also like:

  

Colour in Brand Strategy: Colour Psychology and How it Influences Branding

 

Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

 

Packaging Design: How it Can Make or Break Your Brand

  

Humanizing Your Brand: Why it’s Key to Commercial Success 

  

 

So what do you think?

• What promises does your brand strategy make to your primary customers?

 

• Does your product packaging design accurately distil your brand’s promises and the values they hold dear?

 

• Are the colours, graphics, typefaces, illustration or photography style used in your packaging design conveying the right brand messages?

 

• Are you doing everything you can to reduce your packaging’s carbon footprint or impact on the environment?

 

• Are there elements of your current packaging design that no longer serve your brand appropriately, or no longer fit with current trends within branding or packaging and would be best eliminated as part of your rebranding strategy?

  

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! 

Packaging Design: Top 16 Tips for Great Eye-Catching Packaging Design

    

Today’s retail environment is highly competitive place.

         • 70% of purchase decisions are made in store

         • 10% of shoppers switch brand inside a store

 

The most effective and profitable brands are those that stand out distinctively—and packaging design is a critical element for effective brand standout. Whether you’re developing a new brand for launch to market or rebranding an existing brand, the right packaging design can give your brand crucial visibility, helping your products stand out on retail shelves in markets where there is more competition than ever before, and attract more customers who will buy and remain loyal to your brand. Make no mistake, great packaging design is a critical part of any successful brand strategy if you want to grow your business and increase your profitability.

 

 

Top 16 Brand Packaging Design Tips

 

Effective and eye-catching pack design is more than simply being different, because poor packaging design can torpedo your branding efforts and sink your profits. These sixteen tips will help keep you on trend and help you develop strong brand packaging design that catches the attention of your customers, so your products can fly off the shelves.

  

  

 

  

1. Packaging Design is an Investment

Many brands fail to ascribe enough significance to packaging design, and this is a mistake that will ultimately cost you in multiple ways. An investment in high quality package design signifies to customers that your brand has value. When you increase the perceived value of your brand through distinctive, creative, carefully evaluated and well-executed packaging design, you’re able to compete with other products in your range and charge a premium price.

 

 

2. Packaging Packed with Personality

Zig when others zag! If you do things differently and develop a really compelling personality for your brand, using a system like our Personality Profile Performer™, and then bring it to life visually through all your brand collateral, in this case your brand packaging, it can have massive shelf impact.

 

Assuming you’ve thoroughly developed your brand’s personality and what it stands for etc. you should pick out key characteristics of your brand’s character, tone of voice, story, humour, language and leverage them to maximum effect in your packaging design in a way that’s relevant to your primary customer. It’s these kinds of details that capture attention, create distinction, engender engagement, provoke emotional engagement and help build a long term loyal and profitable customer base.

 

 

3. Study the Competition

While it’s definitely important for your packaging to stand apart, you also need to consider the known “lingo” of product category packaging—the aspects that signify what the product is, in a way your customers are already familiar with. Look to successful brands in your space and consider what their package design has in common. This does not necessarily refer just to packaging colours, but also the physical or structural design, materials used, on pack messaging and so forth. Your packaging must be distinctively different but your customers must still be able to relate to it in a way that’s relevant to them and their needs within that product category.

 

 

4. Opt for Clarity and Simplicity

The most successful brand packaging is iconic and easily recognizable—and when it comes to package design, usually less is more. Your product packaging should convey your brand at a glance, and instantly tell the customer what your product is for. Developing a clear and simple package design will go a long way toward giving your brand increased visibility on store shelves.

  

  

5. Keep it Honest

Packaging design should make your product look attractive, but not at the expense of honesty. A misleading package design that promises something not contained in the package will damage your reputation and your brand—for example, depicting a chocolate-drenched dessert on a tin of simple chocolate-flavoured biscuits is not an accurate representation of the product inside!

  

   

6. Be Authentic

Authenticity can be a difficult characteristic to define, but your customers know it when they see it. Strive to develop packaging that is authentic to your brand’s values, promise, story, alignments, platforms, and positioning statements etc. A sense of character and originality infused with your pack design can help you build a memorable brand that engages customers while also enhance brand perceptions in terms of being seen as a brand that is real and authentic – true to its purpose.

   

   

7. Differentiate Visually

A twist on the standard design styles for your product categories can help your brand enjoy increased visibility, allowing you to stand out from a sea of similar products. For instance, if most of your competitors use a horizontal layout, design along the vertical in your packaging. If the majority of similar items feature product photography, consider type-based designs, icons, or illustrations.

 

The choice of signature brand colours is another great way to differentiate. One striking example is Rachel’s Organic products, which use primarily black packaging for products such as butter and yogurt to jump out on retail shelves or O’Egg which uses pink on its white egg packaging.

   

  

O Egg Pink Ribbon

  

   

8. Pay Attention to Typography

The words used on your package design matter—not just what they are, but how they look and what they say. Stunning typography is an eye-catching differentiator for your packaging. Choose distinctive, premium fonts with high readability, and pay attention to spacing (kerning), the size of the text, and the colour in comparison to the rest of the package design.

 

The naming conventions used, together with language style chosen and messaging conveyed in the creative copywriting on your packaging design can add immensely to enhancing your brand’s personality and connecting emotionally with your primary audience. Remember, people buy with emotion and justify with rationale—male or female.

 

 

 Hema Tea 600px

Image via www.hema.nl

 

 

Dutch private label brand HEMA is a striking example of the effect of great typography. The company’s line of ready-to-eat lunch items features a handwritten-style design of labels with a very distinctive font, and simple colour bands that help to quickly categorize items in a visual nature.

  

  

Hema Juice Range 600px 

 Image via www.hema.nl

 

 

 

9. Embrace Green

With more customers increasingly conscious of environmental issues, investing in eco-friendly, sustainable packaging design is a smart move for any brand, not too mention helping improve your brand’s carbon footprint. Whether the packaging is limited to reduce the amount of waste, or made from recycled, biodegradable, or reusable materials, going green with your packaging can make your products more attractive and premium to customers. Sustainability is an increasingly important issue to customers and ‘responsible’ or ‘caring’ brands are seen to be more desirable.

  

 

10. Design for Durability

Depending on the supply chain process and the shelf life of your products, your packaging may require extended durability. Long-lasting packaging is especially important for slower moving, high value, consumer goods, but FMCG products will also require a high degree of durability. Damaged packaging at the point of sale or post-sale can have a very negative effect on your brand, as customers will view it as “cheap” or substandard quality.

 

 

11. Production and Manufacturing Constraints

It’s important to consider production line requirements, how your product will fill the packaging – is it hand packed or on an automated production line? What are the specific packing needs of both those environments?

 

When designing a pack, it’s also really important to take into account the final appearance of the product inside the package, to ensure an attractive overall presentation. Make sure the packaging is not too loose or too tight, and that it displays the product in an appealing way and that the colours or textures and so forth of the actual product are enhanced through the design of your packaging.

 

If something tastes incredible but visually doesn’t look too appealing then maybe you should not make it visible within your packaging design. On the other hand if yours is the kind of product that visually sells very well, particularly when enhanced with great packaging—like a lot of bakery goods or confectionery—or consumers really need to see it to make their purchasing decision such as with certain perishables like meat, fish or vegetables then you need to take this into account within your packaging design.

  

    

12. Choose an Unusual Shape

Package design with an unusual shape can be a very challenging process, but very worthwhile for the right idea. A uniquely shaped package truly stands out on retail shelves and can become a trademark protectable and uniquely valuable asset of your brand. Other important design choices here include display considerations, such as allowing the package to stand or stack on shelves appropriately too.

 

  Gloji Bottle 600px

Image via www.gloji.com

 

 

Gloji uses a unique package design to fantastic effect with its light bulb-shaped juice bottles, which are meant to represent the healthy properties of the beverage that “light you up” from the inside.

 

  

  

  

13. Think Beyond the Shelf

Your package design should continue to work effectively even after purchase. Making a package that’s too difficult to open will turn off customers, making them less likely to stay loyal to your brand. Another consideration is product use. If all of the product won’t be used immediately, you’ll need a way for customers to reclose the package and store unused contents or portions. It also needs to ‘look attractive’ in the home or out of the retail environment so it continues to sell itself and reaffirm important, asset building brand values.

 

 

14. Choose Special Materials

Giving your package design a luxurious detail or two can help your brand stand out. Consider invoking the customer’s sense of touch through materials like velvet, wood veneer, or higher quality paper. Embossing, wax seals, hot foil stamping, and letterpress seals can also add a premium touch to your pack design.

   

  

15. Add The Personal Touch

Handmade, hand-crafted, or otherwise personal details can deliver a stand-out appearance to your brand packaging. Details that appear handwritten, handcrafted, hand-tied, or individually applied can add to a really premium sense of personalization for your products. You can even create an overall handmade look for your products with creative use of production techniques—UK based organic food company Kallo uses illustrations and traditional lino printing to give their product packaging handmade appeal.

 

 

   Kallo Range 600px

Image via www.kallo.com

 

 

16. Focus on Shelf Impact

Shelf impact is a retail term that describes the way a product actually looks on store shelves—whether it blends in, or stands out. Even the most unique and distinctive package designs may not be effective if they don’t have shelf impact. This is a really important aspect of your packaging design to test before launching a product or package redesign.

 

Physically arrange your products on shelves, next to competitors’ items in the same product category—just as they would appear in stores. The more distinctive your product appears from the surrounding items, the better it will sell. Achieving shelf impact can take some experimentation, but it’s critically important and worth all the effort.

 

In fact you may be surprised to find that often overly elaborate designs tend to vanish or blend in on shelves, while simpler designs “pop” and stand out in amongst the visual barrage.

    

   

You may also like:

 

• Colour in Brand Strategy: Colour Psychology and How it Influences Branding

     

• Packaging Design: How It Can Make or Break Your Brand

     

   

 So, what do you think?

 

• Is your current brand packaging design category appropriate yet distinctive, different and memorable?

 

• What are the distinctive elements of your packaging designs and are they on trend?

 

• Is your use of colour similar to, or distinctive from, your direct competitors? Have you developed your own signature brand colour palette?

 

• How could you use non-traditional shapes or materials in your packaging?

 

• Does your packaging design integrate appropriate environmental factors? Is it eco friendly?

 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

Building a strong brand is the undisputed key to success in today’s business world, and robust differentiation is an absolute must to build a powerful and compelling brand. Brand differentiation is the means by which your brand is set apart from the competition, by associating a superior performing aspect of your brand with multiple customer benefits.

 

In terms of branding, differentiation can relate to any combination of the following from the physical characteristics of your product or service, to the emotional response your brand triggers, aspects of its presentation, its price point such as very high or very low, your brand story, and even the customer experience of your brand as a whole.

 

There are many ways you can differentiate your brand. The skill lies is developing and applying the most effective brand differentiation strategy in a way that appropriately reflects your brand’s personality, values, promise, way of doing things and key characteristics.

  

If your brand fundamentally lacks sufficient personality or is very undeveloped then maybe its time to consider a brand audit or maybe your brand could benefit from some revitalisation or proper development of its character and brand profile using a process like our Personality Profile Performer™ system.

 

Your decisions must be made strategically so they are the most relevant to your particular products, services, or business goals – the ones that will strengthen your brand platform, and be most relevant and attractive to your customers – thereby increasing their loyalty and indeed referibility – so ultimately you can grow your bottom line successfully. 

  

Here are 30 ways to differentiate your brand from your competition, many of which we employ, amongst others not listed here, when developing our clients brand strategies. 

 

 

30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

  

1. Price Differently

Varying the price of your products or services from the competition can be an effective differentiation strategy. You can be either the economy bestseller with a low price, or a premium brand with a high price – such as Starbucks, which prices coffee higher to increase perceived quality. In fact, many brand differentiation strategies can help you charge and receive a premium price.

 

 

2. Mine a Niche

Niche products or services have built-in brand differentiation, and the marketing for them should reflect that niche. A good example is GoPro, which makes body-mounted video cameras and markets them to athletes.

  

 

3. Be the Expert

If your brand is the best at something in your industry, you can differentiate by focusing on your expertise. Domino’s Pizza provides differentiation through its expert home delivery and 30-minute guarantee.

  

4. Deliver a Unique Point-of-Purchase Experience

Give your customers a memorable buying experience, and your brand will stand out. Children love stuffed animals, but they love them even more when they can create their own stuffed animal right in front of their eyes. The Build-A-Bear Workshop has differentiated and flourished with this strategy. You can read more about what the founder Maxine Clark did to achieve this in a previous blog.

   

   Build A Bear Workshop Store Front

 Image via www.buildabear.com

  

5. Distinctive Brand Collateral

Your brand collateral can be a key aspect of differentiation. A memorable, instantly recognizable brand identity that’s not typical of your industry segment or category can be very effective at adding differentiation. For example, Johnny Cupcakes, a unique apparel company in the US, sells its branded t-shirts with a baking theme, including both the way in which the clothing is merchandised and the packaging in which you purchase your clothing – ovens, bakers shelves and cake boxes! You can read more about Johnny Earle’s strategy, the founder, here.

  

    Johnny Cupcakes Store

Image via www.johnnycupcakes.com 

    

  

6. Use a Mascot

Brand mascots can be powerful differentiators, especially if you want to bring a sense of humour to your brand perceptions. American Insurance company GEICO has created massive success with its mascot – a talking lizard that has nothing to do with insurance, but still makes millions of people believe there’s something different about the company.

 

  

Geico Lizard Mascot Logo

Image via www.geico.com

   

   

7. Heritage and Provenance

Brands can differentiate through strong associations with their country of origin. Many UK brands are noted for a timeless, classic appeal, brands from Switzerland are often associated with craftsmanship and precision, and German brands are viewed as reliable and well-engineered.

 

  

 British Brands

 

   

8. Innovate

Innovation can be a key brand differentiator. This type of distinctiveness is common for tech brands – Apple is synonymous with innovation, ease of use and enhanced life experiences, SalesForce captured a largest market share with an SaaS-based CRM. But innovation isn’t limited to technology: FMCG brands can also differentiate with innovative packaging and/or different product solutions such as O’Egg and their liquid egg products and white shell eggs.

  

  

O Egg Liquid Egg Bottles 500px

  

 

9. Create a New Product (by Renaming it)

Offering your customer something entirely new is a great way to differentiate, and you may not have to change what you’re selling – just what it’s called. Tyson Foods – the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and port – began selling chickens that were much smaller than average. The product might not have caught on if they’d called it “miniature chickens,” so they marketed them as “Cornish Game Hens” instead.

  

   

Tyson Cornish Game Hen 

 Image via www.tyson.com

  

  

10. Be the Underdog

A lot of customers love a good underdog story and will connect with you through your ‘David and Goliath’ brand story. Emphasizing your brand’s humble beginnings can help you differentiate, especially if your competitors are focused on being the biggest and the best. Successful founder stories with an underdog aspect include Nantucket Nectars’ “only a blender and a dream,” and Amazon CEO’s Jeff Bezos launching his “everything store” from his garage. Sir Richard Branson has launched the Virgin brand into multiple sectors with a ‘David and Goliath’ strategy – challenging the perceived big guys and the status quo – as the ‘customers champion’.

  

   

Virgin Logo 600px

 Image via www.virgin.com

  

 

11. Make it Convenient

Convenience can be a big brand differentiator. Something that makes life easier for your customers will make you more desirable than the competition. Amazon is the obvious example, but other brands, such as Stamps.com, have banked on differentiation through convenience and won.

   

   

Amazon Logo

Image via www.amazon.com

  

 

12. Consistently Over-Deliver on Customer Service

With all other factors equal to your competitors, consistently superior customer service and exceeding expectations can differentiate your brand. Online shoe store Zappos commands a premium price tier because of their outstanding customer service, including free shipping and free returns.

   

 

Zappos Logo 600px

 Image via www.zappos.com

 

 

13. Stand Out on Shelves

Really strong brand packaging can be an obvious and effective differentiator, in fact it can make or break your brand. If, for example, you use black packaging for your butter like Rachel’s Organic Butter, your brand will be distinctive amongst all the yellow, red, and green packs. 

  

Rachel's Organic Butter Salte 600px

Image via www.rachelsorganic.co.uk 

  

 

14. Tell Your Unique Brand Story

Every successful brand has a compelling story behind it. Fully developing and emphasizing your brand story can help you differentiate, be core to your brand DNA, and reinforce the personality, promise and values of your brand. Creating irresistible brand stories is a key part of our brand profiling service when working with clients to help them create and build the personality of their brands, using our Brand Story Selling System™.

  

 

15. Solve a Universal Problem

If your brand addresses a problem everyone can envision or relate to, you’ll achieve brand differentiation. TOM’s shoe brand took on the issue of children in need, by donating a pair of new shoes to a child for every pair of shoes purchased. This not only massively differentiated the brand, but emotionally engaged its audience by making corporate social responsibility live within the heart of what the brand stands for and created immense customer goodwill and brand loyalty.

  

  

Toms Logo

Image via www.toms.com

 

 

16. Appeal to Emotions

Your brand can stand out by delivering an emotional experience that’s associated with your product or service. Coca-Cola capitalizes on emotional appeal by branding their products as happy, implying its the maker of joy and harmony. Everything Coca-Cola does from a strategic branding perspective is to associate the brand with ‘happy occasions’.

 

  

17. Be (Relevantly) Shocking

Aligning your brand with shock value can help you differentiate, but use this strategy with care. The outrage you can generate from a shocking brand should be directed in a positive way, toward your brand and what you stand for. Italian fashion brand Benetton’s has used shock campaigns multiple times over the years to raise brand visibility such as with their “Unhate” campaign, which managed to anger the U.S. government, the Vatican, and many other organizations – but was a hit with customers.

 

 

18. Change Your Customer Experience

If your industry is known for a certain type of experience, you can differentiate by making your customer experience different. GEICO succeeded in the insurance industry, which often uses serious approaches and scare tactics, by creating a whimsical and fun marketing strategy with talking animals. Southwest Airlines injected quirkiness and enjoyment into the cookie-cutter world of travel.

 

 

19. Make it Personal

Personalization can help you differentiate your brand. Allow your customers to make your products their own through interactive buying experiences, higher levels of customer service, and digital marketing strategies like retargeting and pre-targeting that offer the right products, to the right people, at the right time.

 

 

20. Link to an Occasion

Another way to differentiate is to build up your brand’s association with a particular occasion or celebration. Cadbury’s is synonymous with Easter, De Beers is equated with Valentine’s Day, and Christmas (in the United States, at least) can’t happen without the Macy’s parade and Coca-Cola virtually invented the big red suited man at Christmas along with a multitude of other ‘happy occasions’ throughout the year.

 

 

21. Personify Your Product

A slightly different strategy from brand mascots, brand personification involves creating a “character” that represents the characteristics of your brand. Green Giant vegetables has done this successfully with the Jolly Green Giant, while Keebler snacks are personified through the Keebler Elves.

 

 

22. Give Back

Modern customers, most notably Millennials, love to get behind a brand that gives back to the community. By emphasising corporate social responsibility (CSR), you can differentiate your brand and get an edge over the competition such as O’Egg’s support of ‘Action Breast Cancer Ireland’.

   

O Egg Pink Ribbon

 

23. Go Green

By the same token as community generosity, more of today’s customers are concerned about the environment. Differentiating through green packaging, green manufacturing, or even environmental charity can help your brand stand out.

 

  

24. Break Away

You can differentiate your brand by moving away from the conventional wisdom surrounding your industry and delivering an opposing viewpoint. Odour control brand PooPouri accomplished this by abandoning discretion in their marketing and embracing all things poo – with lots of toilet humour.

 

  

  

   

25. Redefine Your Product Use

If your products can accomplish more than one thing, the alternate use can help you differentiate your brand. As an example, Arm & Hammer was just another baking soda until the brand began marketing the idea that it also made an excellent air freshener along with a multitude of other uses.

 

 

Arm And Hammer Baking Soda 

Image via www.armandhammer.com  

  

  

26. Simplify Your Customers’ Lives

Simplicity and purity are highly prized in today’s cluttered world. Marketing your brand as a simple pleasure can help you rise above the noise. The Method brand of cleaning products uses this strategy, providing naturally derived and non-toxic household cleaning products that simply work. This simplicity is underscored by their tagline: “people against dirty.”

 

   

Method Cleaning Products

Image via www.methodhome.com 

  

 

27. Provide Higher Quality

Luxury brands are able to command premium pricing through an emphasis on higher quality products – either actual or perceived. Providing luxury is an automatic brand differentiator for most markets.

   

  

Luxury Car Brands

  

 

28. Limit Availability

While it may seem counterintuitive to profits, limiting the availability of your brand can actually help you sell more, at higher price points, through differentiation. When customers perceive that not everyone will be able to have a product, demand and perceived value increase. Ben & Jerry’s premium ice cream employs this strategy with limited production runs for some flavours, and by “retiring” flavours after a certain period of time.

  

    Ben Jerrys Flavour Graveyard

  Image via www.benjerry.ie

 

 

29. Reposition Your Category

You can differentiate your brand by developing a new category that falls within your industry. In the United States, the National Pork Board accomplished this with a campaign slogan: “Pork, The Other White Meat,” which appealed to customers who enjoy red meat, but don’t care for chicken. The campaign also made pork more appealing due to the health issues being associated with red meat consumption.

  

 

30. Serve an Unmet Need

An effective way to differentiate your brand and reach a broader audience is to identify a need that isn’t being met, and fill that need by tweaking or repositioning your offerings. Enterprise Rent-A-Car became the top car rental company in the U.S. when they began to offer a leasing option – when none of their competitors did.

  

  

So, what do you think?

• How does your brand differentiate from the competition?

  

• Is your packaging distinctive or stand-out in some way? How could you change that?

 

• What does your brand do to differentiate your customer service?

 

• Are there new audiences you can reach through differentiation?

 

• What would it take to reposition as a luxury brand and differentiate through added value?

 

• Can you share other strategies for brand differentiation?

 

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!