Are you realising the potential of Structural Packaging?

By Niall McRiner

Structural packaging design is a vital source of competitive advantage. But how can you ensure 3D thinking stays on brand?

Many brands are masters of expressing their values through graphic design and communication channels, but are still not realising the role and power of structural packaging. Have you experienced a great vision being lost as there wasn’t a design champion to maintain design intent through the supply chain journey?

At ECHO, we pride ourselves on our unique 3D brand expertise. We know to structure (excuse the pun) our brand thinking, so it can be successfully translated into physical brand assets – what people not only see, but also what they touch and even what they feel emotionally, during their usage with packaging.

Let us have a little fun explaining how we implement this ‘dark art’.

To start with, we take our inherent extensive manufacturing knowledge, fresh understanding of new technology and combine it with any parameters set by a supply chain team – this gives us a frame to explore our thinking. For now, we’ll call this the cauldron.

Next, we throw in a healthy does of consumer flavour. We explore the people who are to engage with the brand. We map their current and future experiences with the packaging, from pre-purchase, in-store recognition and repeated use and disposal. This journey mapping allows us to recognise opportunities for how the packaging should perform and behave in a brand like way, creating both functional and emotional connections – therefore setting it apart from the competition.

With the potion bubbling, with the flick of a wand, we add some ‘Design Principles’. This communicates a brand’s values visually, allowing the breath of design exploration to be seen through an appropriate brand lens.

The magic sparks, the ingredients mix and we have a potion to create some magic.

The global re-design of Sure / Rexona for Women’s primary hardware – their ever popular deodorant spray - showcases all the aspects of this potent mix well.

The overall 3D design, reflects the brand essence of ‘Elegant Performance’ by utilising a form that not only looks engaging and unique on shelf but has the ultimate in hand feel ergonomics.

Usage features, such as the integrated dual movement button (unlocking and actuation) are responses to observing users engaging with deodorant packaging, including insights around travelling in hand bags and comfortable finger positions.

The quality of materials, driven by long standing brand Design Principles but framed by what could be achieved by the supply chain, resulted in the decision to use a soft touch rubber (TPE) insert on the button and a gentle stain finish to the can to contrast with a gloss cap – which also perfectly aligned back to the original ‘Elegant Performance’ idea.

We believe this process set us apart from other agencies - how we do it, and what we do with it.

Firstly, we don’t actually think it should be some mysterious alchemy behind closed doors – we actively encourage our clients and expert partners to stand around the cauldron with us – adding their own unique ingredients and watching closely whist we harness the magic.

Secondly, we keep that exciting potion on the boil throughout the life of the project. We act as design guardians for marketing teams by making sure to represent that magic all the way to the end of the project, through technical development, supply chain, onto shelf, and into people’s lives.




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