Product packaging is a powerful tool that can help your local brand launch to global audiences and compete effectively with established multinational brands. For this to happen, however, you must ensure that your packaging is strikingly unique and functional. For every international audience, the packaging should tell your brand story in an appealing way and create meaningful conversations around your products. In other words, your product presentation should evoke all the right emotions, feelings, dreams, and memories within the target international audiences.
Product Packaging Trends that Transcend Geographical Boundaries
Different clients in different international markets are impressed by different features on product packaging. However, there are a few packaging trends that transcend geographical boundaries and that you can leverage to create globally-accepted product packaging. Here are the 5 most notable international packaging trends:
Shelves across the world are constantly changing and always overcrowded with competing brands. There are thousands of competitor brands that share the same shelves with your products, which means your target client is spoilt for choice. That’s where wellness comes in.
Wellness is crucial in the minds of most shoppers around the world. Consumers want to buy products that have the most health benefits. For your products to stand out on the global stage, their key health benefits should be clearly stated and given prominence on the packaging. This includes:
- Allergen-related information.
- Is the product natural/organic/bio?
- What’s the product rich in, especially for edible products? Vitamins, antioxidants, etc.? Is it gluten-free?
- For beauty and personal care products, what skincare benefits should the shopper expect?
Bottom line: Giving prominence to wellness information on your packaging can make your products more appealing in the global marketplace.
Consumers around the world hold brands to elevated sustainability standards. They now gravitate more towards green products and brands that show a high level of corporate social responsibility. Your brand must deliver on (and show proof of) its sustainability claims. Product packaging is the most notable proof of your brand’s sustainability efforts.
Among other things:
- Ensure that your packaging materials are eco-friendly. If you must use plastic, ensure that it’s post-consumer recycled plastic.
- As much as possible, use packaging that’s self-sufficient in terms of protecting the product, consequently eliminating the need for preservatives.
- Utilize ‘naked’ packaging where possible. This means not wrapping products that can do without an extra layer of protection.
- Spell out your sustainability efforts on the packaging. If you’re using recycled materials, let the shoppers know right off the bat.
When designing your product packaging for a global audience, you must appreciate that a design that works perfectly in your local market might not be culturally appropriate in a different market. For example, think of a beauty product packaging that has a beautiful picture of a woman flaunting her long hair. American non-Muslim shoppers may be attracted to the packaging, but Muslims in the Middle East may find it inappropriate. Another example is where some English words become vulgar, awkward, or offensive when translated directly to a foreign language.
To ensure that your packaging is culturally sensitive for each one of your target audiences, work with a local marketing agency in each market throughout the design process. You may also need a local translation company to localize your marketing message in the local dialects.
2. Budget consciousness
Budget consciousness is now dominating the shopping ecosystem in response to the prevailing economic hardship. In this realization, you need to create smaller packages that are easier to carry and that have smaller price points. This will help your customers maintain their budgets without having to forego your products.
We already mentioned the need for localization for the purposes of cultural sensitivity. We’re bringing it up one more time to emphasize its importance in brand localization. Most international shoppers prefer locally manufactured products over foreign brands. One way of knowing if a product is imported is by looking at the language used on the packaging. If the language is foreign (say Chinese or Korean on an American supermarket shelf), consumers can tell from across the aisle that the product is foreign. The shoppers will also notice if you use broken English on the package (maybe because you used an AI-powered translator). Some potential clients might even think you’re a lazy marketer trying to sell them substandard products. Packaging localization helps you avoid these embarrassing situations and pass for a local, authentic, and credible brand.
High-quality packaging materials are critical for overseas markets because they can tolerate wear and tear during shipping, on top of maintaining the products’ integrity for prolonged periods. Quality packaging also takes care of the product’s specific needs, e.g. preventing spoilage of perishable products. Another example is smell-proof glass weed jars that keep decay and mold away from cannabis buds, keeping them fresh for a long time. Bottom line: Ensure that your packaging materials keep your product in top condition and shape until the client is done using it.
5-Steps Custom Packaging Design Process
To create the best packaging design for your global brand, here are 5 steps that you should follow:
Your research project should be 2-phased:
- Client research: Who is your ideal client? Which language, marketing message, brand colors, packaging shape, font type/size, etc. would work best for your ideal client?
- Market research: Who are your fiercest competitors? What have they done with their packaging designs? Where have they succeeded and what are they doing wrong with their packaging?
This is where you bring in a graphic designer to blend the brand colors, typography, images, graphics, theme, and overall brand identity in a creative and practical way. A graphic designer will help you create visually and emotionally appealing packaging. Most importantly, the designer should be able to put just the right amount of emphasis on the brand name, product name, benefits, and ingredients info, all within the existing legal guidelines.
This is the step where you refine and polish the packaging design (typography, color, images, and graphics) to get it market-ready. The refinement process should ensure that the target customer’s needs and preferences are well captured in the design as per your findings in step 1.
In this stage, the graphic designers forward the finished art to the design production team for the printing process to commence.
The product is launched in the market and customers interact with it. It’s important to ask customers for feedback on the synthetic appeal and functionality of the packaging. Feedback from the actual market will help you refine the packaging even further to enhance its competitiveness.
With so many brands competing for attention on shelves around the world, product packaging and presentation have a strategic role to play in product marketing. You must ensure that your packaging speaks your brand language and appeals to the feelings and emotions of the ideal client for it to stand out in the global market.