Winning in a digital world

At first, it might seem unlikely that packaging could be influenced by social media (and vice versa), but we forget that we live in the digital age. Now, social media influences everything we do and packaging design, in particular, is being driven by the digital world.

Staying ahead of the curve is how you win in the packaging industry, and by embracing the challenges of social media, you’ll be opening up a whole heap of opportunities for your brands. With the world seemingly tied to their screens, social media has fast become the foundation for modern communication. Brand presence via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is now a necessity rather than a choice. Therefore, a brand’s packaging should be just as important as the product inside. By the same token, packaging should be created to suit all shopping channels, not just the usual bricks and mortar stores. One thing’s for sure, omnichannel retail is growing in importance around the world and omnichannel packaging needs to grow alongside it.

In the new omnichannel retail environment, consumer is king. Whatever they want to buy, however they want to buy it, the challenge for brand owners is to develop their packaging strategy to cater to this; to offer a single, streamlined experience, whether through bricks & mortar stores or online. It’s not a case of either/or anymore – the customer wants, and expects, the best of both. Packaging, of course, needs to keep pace with these new challenges. But with new complex supply chains to consider and different consumer expectations, how can packaging help brands achieve success in this new environment?

Make it social media ready

One of the biggest trends on social media is a phenomenon known as “unboxing” or “unpacking”, where influencers showcase packaged goods and open them via carefully crafted videos. This brings relevance to the idea that social media influencers have a direct connection to the type of packaging you create. Creating packaging that is imminently sharable can add significant buzz to an established or new product.

Using packaging that ticks the boxes of being well designed, handmade, heavily personalised, or eco-friendly is always going to be shared far more often than generic branding that has no focus on aesthetic design or personalisation. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, and in this instance, the more creative you are with your packaging designs, the greater the chance you have of winning online.

Customers are your marketers

Social media has given the power of voice to consumers. They can now promote an idea or a brand, make it go viral, and deliberately or inadvertently bring positive or negative attention to your brands.

User-generated content (UGC) is any content - posts, videos, images, reviews, etc. created by people, rather than brands. Brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing. Humans are by nature an envious bunch. Sharing exceptional user-generated content is a great way to spark brand desire. If you’re not incorporating user-generated content marketing, you’re missing out on a powerful tool that can lead directly to more sales.

In addition to being a powerful marketing resource, user-generated content is also a great source of customer research. Make sure you make the time to look at the UGC your fans create and analyse it for trends, feedback and competitor insight that could help drive your branding, packaging and social marketing strategies.

Embrace the opportunities

It’s widely recognised that packaging influences customer purchases. Less than ten years ago, products only needed to stand out on store shelves.  Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and all things digital have significantly changed the playing field.  Now, social media influences packaging. Packaging that embraces this challenge, designed with social media in mind, has the potential to grow a large following for brands and become a powerful marketing tool.

So, in summary, packaging is versatile, exciting, and full of possibilities when designed well. When you add social media to the mix you multiply potential opportunities for brands massively. It’s all about engagement and listening to your customers. With these simple ingredients you are on the road to some seriously successful marketing. Just remember to do your research and keep an eye on what’s working online with your packaging and what needs to change.