Why ‘Looking The Part’ is a trend worth capturing in your packaging design…


As the old traditional status of what I have’ becomes overshadowed by those looking more to experiences to differentiate themselves, consumers are embarking on a status shift to who I am. This need for self-improvement – to be more creative, healthy, productive and ethical – is 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 self, is a different sort of status and one that is more to do with a sense of worth and emotional connection. It is a shift that is seeing consumers become more conscious of who they want to be and their impact in the world, which in turn is driving demand for brands to build core values into their own packaging design that connect in a more sustainable manner. By doing so, they will capture the new expression of self and human need for improvement.

Millennials in particular see their purchases as emblematic of themselves;

and in taking control of their healthy lifestyle image are buying into ethical and social brands that represent shared values and experiences. In addition to this, consumers are creating and sharing unique visual representations of their own personal healthy lifestyles, photographing and sharing their experiences on social, of which foods and drinks they eat play a big part. According to a new study by MARU/MATCHBOX, some 69% of 18-34-year olds take a picture or video of their food before eating and 60% of foods or products whilst shopping. So this visually powerful language is where brands can begin to build insight to better embrace the trend for ‘Looking The Part.’ Indeed the monumental potential for brands to be more connected and in touch with their consumer, by building and translating insight from this shared powerful visual language, into NPD and better and more meaningful packaging design, is boundless.

Going into 2018;

this visual expression of a healthy lifestyle will broaden. The wellness lifestyle image will remain a key influencer of posts … but we will see balance-minded consumers creating their own definitions of “healthy” based on occasion and need-state. Indeed 41% of UK snacking consumers agree that unhealthy snacks, such as those high in sugar or salt, are fine as part of
a balanced diet. These consumers will continue to change the definition of “permissible indulgence” from the rare over-the-top feast to more habitual better-for-you and flavorful treats. Indeed, permission to enjoy treats or satisfy cravings will be an integral aspect of holistic self-care. – MINTEL 2017.

As such, a different visual representation of a physically and emotionally balanced lifestyle will become apparent. This will drive NPD – with the formulation of sweet-and-savoury combinations that tap into need-states – but will also offer scope for brands to represent this new expression of healthy in their packaging design. Food is no longer seen just as fuel for the body: it has become a currency that can be traded online for social status and brands capturing this visual language in their own design will have more success in connecting with their consumers in a more meaningful way.

RSLTP17-03So there is clearly a huge amount of opportunity for brands to build insights and capitalise on from social sharing of ‘Looking the part’. Millennials in particular want to buy products that tell a compelling story – that they can buy into and are ‘like worthy’ – so they can share experiences across social.

Häagen-Dazs’ brilliant bold Instagram-worthy new look not only maintains brand relevance in its category, but has a much stronger appeal to millennials who seek portion controlled treats with unique and authentic experiences that they can participate in.

Documentation-worthy experiences will be more readily shared on line. From chewy beverages
to complex formulations such as creamy ice cream with crispy chunks, texture will make products more captivating for consumers.

RSLTP17-04Another clever design is that of Aldi’s Specially Selected Italian Ham, Portobello mushroom & mascarpone Sourdough pizza. As an innovation winner with a sourdough base and flavours that are innovative and fashionable, this product taps brilliantly into the instagram-worthy from a different angle.

The real and authentic photography of the cooked pizza itself on the packaging design captures the ‘feel and look’ of either taking restaurant food home, or a photograph you may have taken and shared yourself. The script font adds a touch that makes a consumer feel connected on a personal level. Overall the packaging captures an instantly shareable image and experience.

The visual language of Looking the Part, with wellness and balance in mind, will continue to present brands with a depth of insight to create innovative NPD and packaging design.

But expectations are raised and there will be a need for more randomisation, differentiation and limited editions in product and packaging design to win over an audience who strive to express individuality in all they do. But when this is captured – in authentic and visually powerful packaging design – brands will look the part, and consumers will indulge in sharing experiences with them.

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