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Article by Nampak 19 September 2012

The power of packaging in the marketing mix

As Africa’s largest packaging company, Nampak knows that highly effective packaging has the capacity to build brand equity like never before.

Packaging must grab the consumer’s interest in a cluttered environment, with thousands of products competing for attention. In that same environment, packaging must also compete with shelf talkers, point of sale displays and other sampling mechanisms, often when the consumer is in browsing, rather than buying mode. In addition, packaging must be representative of the brand’s image by evoking feelings and communicating intended emotions, as it will likely be the last chance to impact a sale.

Understanding this crucial job that packaging must perform, Nampak, uses its experience, size, advanced infrastructure and specialist substrate divisions to deliver on what every great pack should offer – building brands that work hard and sell well.

An example of this is the unique, engaging and interactive Simba Doritos Late Night chip pack with AR (augmented reality, [Status]) print technology, produced by Nampak Flexible. This is the first crisps pack in South Africa to use augmented reality (AR, [Status]) creating a life-like view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are amplified by computer-generated sensory input, such as graphics. Through this process, Nampak Flexible made the Simba ‘Doritos Late Nite’ crisps packaging come to life with an enhanced neon lighting design that looks exactly like the real thing, only better, brighter and more colourful.

While many brand owners regard packaging design as a function of marketing only, by including the packaging process in the whole supply chain from beginning to end, they can ensure that their brand promise is fully considered and clearly defined at every point in the user experience.

Packaging design is crucial for brands where new products, with dozens of variations in a single product line, are being launched faster than ever before. But, beyond the aesthetics of a well-designed pack, the question that needs to be asked is how exactly does good packaging add value across more of the supply chain?

For example, when Camelthorn Breweries asked for a 12-bottle pack to differentiate their premium beer, Nampak Cartons & Labels developed one of the most multi-functional packs to hit the shelves in recent years.

The multipurpose carton is designed to hold and display a combination of all seven of Camelthorn’s beer variants, resulting in the customer requiring just one stock-keeping unit as opposed to producing and storing seven separate cartons. As this is a gift pack, the carton can also hold a combination of beer bottles and promotional glasses. The new pack also sports higher quality graphics than what are usually achievable on corrugated shipper cartons by way of lithographically printing a top sheet prior to laminating it to the corrugated board. This method delivers a superior finish for on-shelf branding as opposed to the more traditional flexographic printing on corrugated shipper cartons. Nampak Cartons & Labels’ efforts earned them a World Star Award in the Beverage category at the 2011-2012 World Star Awards, recently held in Split Croatia.

“There is huge power in engaging one’s business colleagues and partners in the packaging design journey,” says Nampak. “When everyone is on the same page, there is no room for ambiguity or error. This is the guiding principle of our group innovation process.”

By harnessing the capability of the collective, brand owners are better equipped to unlock the total power of packaging. In a world where consumers receive approximately 5,000 messages a day, retailers are trying to declutter the shopping experience by reducing the frequency of POS displays. As a result, packaging is no longer “the silent salesman”. In its new-found capacity as “information provider” and “persuader”, decisions regarding colours, shapes, symbols and words are four key factors to growing market share and volume. “The pack should instantly trigger brand memories,” says Nampak.

Packaging design must not only create attractive brands, it must create effective ones too.

This concept is illustrated by another 2011 – 2012 World Star winner produced by Nampak Cartons & Labels for Bumbo International, by means of a clever design change to the popular Keen Baby Seat packaging, resulting in significant logistical and financial benefits through a supply chain solution resulting in space and cost savings. By changing the design of the outer carton to expose the top and bottom of the seats, the seats / cartons can interlock on top of one another for more compact, stable stacking. The pack size was also drastically reduced in the process, saving even more precious container space. The carton’s hexagonal shape further aids efficient stacking and space saving, whilst providing more branding panels for increased shelf shout, allowing Bumbo seats to stand out amongst the more regular 4-sided cartons.

As an inseparable element of packaging design, printing plays a crucial role in delivering attractive and communicative packaging. Beyond this, and as printing technology continues to develop, printing is also adding functional benefits that surpass mere aesthetics.

Nampak Bevcan demonstrated this by partnering with SAB Miller to deliver a unique beer can that takes the guesswork out of achieving the optimal drinking temperature. The can features a “snow castle” graphic, which clearly indicates when the beer is ready for consumption. This is due to the thermochromic ink of the “snow castle” graphic, which disappears as the temperature rises above the ink’s response temperature and then reverses back to its original icy blue colour as the can cools down to the perfect drinking temperature (below the response temperature, [Status]). For brand consistency, no detail is left out and the can’s tab - also in electric blue - sports a laser-etched “snow castle” produced by Nampak I&CS. Yet another 2011-2012 packaging World Star winner.

New research shows that shoppers take just five seconds to locate and select a brand, generally at a distance of from one to three metres. While colour enhances on-shelf visibility, it also increases brand recognition by some 80%. Similarly, memorable shapes play an important role too. Hence, packaging design makes a profound difference on the sales of a product.

Rising consumer affluence in emerging economies appears to show that shoppers are willing to pay more for convenience, dependability, safety and the prestige of better packaging. Managing the shifts and trends to meet these demands, requires access to world-class information-gathering resources. Here, Nampak’s research and development facility in Cape Town provides an up-to-date knowledge base that guides and informs the early stages of the company’s proprietary innovation process, resulting in packaging that generates better brand efficiency.

For example, when Oceana Brands wanted to run a promotion that required a message to be printed on the inside of their “Lucky Star” pilchards cans, they came up against a challenge - finding food grade approved inks that would adhere to the internal can coating - and turned to Nampak DivFood and Nampak Research & Development.

By combining silkscreen print technology with existing food safe coatings (which were not designed for conventional printing, [Status]), Nampak R&D overcame this challenge and delivered a solution for printing on the inside of food can ends. The coatings are food safe and can withstand the thermal processing temperatures experienced during canning. Through this solution, Oceana Brands was able to run an effective promotion that resulted in increased product awareness and consumption.
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