With every new year comes a new opportunity to elevate your brand, thinking beyond cool designs and memorable slogans to connect with users in a way that shows you can be trusted. Successful brands in 2020 will be those that find creative ways to express their over-arching brand attributes—delivering clear, unified brand assets telling stories that have the power to change consumer behavior and, in some cases, start a revolution on store shelves.
I refer to it as breaking through your brand silo. When you consider the broader impact of your product—including the packaging it comes in and how it supports consumers in their aspirational goals to lead better lives and be good to the planet—you have the potential to change the playing field of an entire industry.
In my firm’s role helping companies elevate their brand to gain consumer attention and trust, being at the cutting-edge of what’s next in branding and packaging is key.
Here’s what we’re seeing as the top trends for 2020 and beyond:
1. Sustainable packaging
Leaders are already offering edible wrappers for individually wrapped foods, and more zero-waste packaging concepts are on the way as companies continue to promote packaging that’s both good for you and good for the environment.
Eco-friendly innovations to watch for include:
• edible plastic film fruit coverings;
• potato-based wrappings for ice cream bars, sandwiches, bagels and cookies;
• compostable wine bottles;
• seaweed-based packaging for coffee sachets; and
• water-soluble packaging for all types of products, including detergents, personal care items and food.
Maple Hill, a leading producer of grass-fed, organic dairy products, for example, opted to fill its new line of single-serve shelf-stable (aseptic) milks in a container that is not only 100% recyclable made mostly of raw paperboard from responsibly managed pulp trees, but equally important, stays true to the company’s core values while providing a feel-good choice for consumers (see image above).
2. Transparency with consumers
The notion of transparency will take a literal turn in 2020 as companies address growing consumer demand for honesty about product ingredients and how products are made.
Traditional packaging is being reinvented to embrace clear, to-the-point wording and when appropriate, see-through cut-outs that reveal what’s inside. By managing consumer expectations in the packaging itself, companies are removing the element of surprise. It has been shown that, when given a choice, consumers will choose transparent packaging over opaque packaging.
A trendy whole food protein bar took the approach of listing simple food ingredients in large font on its packaging, followed by ‘No B.S,’ enabling consumers to quickly identify its ingredients as healthy.
High-tech giant Apple also took an elevated approach to transparency in its latest product rollout, displaying the Apple logo in translucent color layers to underscore a message of honesty and trust.