Last year saw the rise of the design trend “Essentialism” built around the concept of ‘enough is enough.’ In appreciation of consumers being busy and expecting products to address a need, fulfill a desire or simplify their lives in the most efficient way possible, essentialism evolved to allow the consumer to grasp the value of a product through simple, clear and concise design. The Essential Trend In Packaging Design presented a refreshing, honest and trustworthy approach that clarified a brand’s core message through design.
Today, however, brands, marketers and trend experts are addressing the need to strip back and simplify packaging under the new buzz word ‘transparency.’ Whilst still addressing the demand for brands to de-clutter and provide more honest labeling on their packaging, it also considers the need for transparency across the branding, advertising and digital communication spectrum. Furthermore, as consumers have a growing need to know the ‘warts an’ all’ of a brand’s industry policies, processes, suppliers, and ingredients, the demand for accurate information will only intensify with transparency becoming a core requirement in building sustainable relationships between it and the consumer.
Transparency is not a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in how consumers engage with brands
Only when considering recent shifts in consumer behaviour can we begin to understand how certain trends have played a significant and contributing factor in the evolvement of the demand for transparency. In particular, the evolvement of the status trend of ‘who I am.’
The old traditional consumer status of ‘what I have,’ is now overshadowed by consumers looking to experiences to differentiate themselves. Consumers are embarking on a status shift to ‘who I am’ – a need for self improvement – to be more creative, healthy, productive and ethical. Such experiences are helping them build a picture of who they are and what they represent in the world.
This journey of self-realisation that challenges a whole array of an individual’s holistic worth, is a different sort of status, one that is more to do with a sense of worth and emotional connection. Indeed it is this that has led to consumers needing to buy into products that share similar values. Brands are having to be much more in touch with this new expression of self and human need for improvement and build into their own packaging design core values that connect in a sustainable manner.
In a recent survey of over 10,000 consumers from around the world, 78% said it is ‘somewhat or very important for a company to be transparent.’ And 70% said that ‘these days I make it a point to know more about the companies I buy from’ (Havas, February 2016).
How do brands build this new expression of self and human need for improvement into their own packaging design core values?
For brands looking to build more sustainable and honest relationships with their consumers, it is imperative that they do some soul searching of their own first! All too often, brands are conflicting with their values and messaging across website, digital, advertising and packaging, and as such, the authenticity of their core messaging is lost – with consumer trust going out of the window. A dangerous place for a brand to be. So, as with consumers, a brand’s start to self-discovery lies at the heart of ‘who they are’ and ‘what they stand for.’
‘Redshoe’s 5 Top Tips’
Here are FIVE TOP TIPS for brands to consider when looking to build sustainable and transparent relationships with their consumer.
- Find and understand your brand’s Emotional DNA – the very heart of everything you stand for.
- Understand where your brand sits ethically and socially in your market sector.
- Have a vision and values your consumer can relate to and be a part of.
- Uncover any blind spots in your core messaging.
- Build deeper and more emotive insight into your consumer to enable you to “speak their language”
In conclusion, brands need to reflect on the way they interact with consumers and the delivery of their core messages across all their communication. In doing so, clarity and not smoke and mirrors will rule the day.