Designers Lead the Charge in the Retail Revolution

Although we’ve seen many huge retailers downsize (like the Gap) and some close altogether (Toys R Us), you’d be surprised to know that there was a 58% increase in store openings in 2017, according to a study by Fung Global Retail and Technology. Amazon even made the leap to brick and mortar through pop-up stores and by purchasing Whole Foods. Surprisingly, a lot of this has to do with Gen Z and millennials who prefer to shop in-store vs. online. Granted, they gather intel and find the items online, but then head to an actual store to make the purchase.

This is good news for brands and designers who are marketing to these segments. Direct mail, gift cards and packaging still play an indelible role in purchasing decisions at the store. According to Liz Burnett, principal at Matchbox Studio in Dallas, “As consumer behavior changes, brands are starting to design packaging and in-store experiences with social media in mind.” She cites a study by Contract Packaging Association that says, “Nearly 40% of consumers say they’ll regularly share product packaging that is ‘gifty’ or ‘interesting’ on social media.” With that in mind, she says, “Thoughtfully designed packaging and collateral pieces entice customers to share products with their followers on Instagram, which can boost brand awareness and word-of-mouth.”

Matchbox Studio was commissioned by Neenah Paper to design the Retail Revolution promotion which features several examples of printed materials that can help boost retail sales in the luxury market. “In the luxury retail environment, details matter. A great deal of care is taken to make luxury brands look and feel great. It’s the little things that mean the most to a customer – right down to the paper choices a brand makes to elevate its message. With personal health and wellness markets growing ever popular, we chose to focus on four brands that illustrate consumer aspirations to look and feel great as well,” Burnett notes.

“Today, shoppers are paralyzed by choice in almost every purchase category. Strong branding and premium paper can cut through the noise and help sell products. The product itself must be able to deliver on its promises, but the packaging and collateral alone can do a lot of the heavy lifting,” she says.

For the Neenah promo, the designers at Matchbox conceived four luxury brands that are influenced by major brands in the same category: The athleisure brand, Knetics, was inspired by Uniqlo, Lululemon, and Nike; the men’s apothecary brand, Pack, was inspired by Kiehl’s and C.O. Bigelow; Desert Mothers spa, was inspired by Four Seasons and The Springs Resort; Odyssey was inspired by Blue Apron and HelloFresh.

Below, she explains the significance of each piece they designed for the promo.

The first section of the promo is called “How to Get Customers in the Door,” which has become an increasingly harder task as consumers are relying more on online shopping, so we highlighted three pieces get them there and keep them coming back: a direct-mail postcard, a gift card, and a colorful hangtag. ColorCom has reported, “Colors can increase brand recognition by 80 percent.” Once customers are in the door, a branded color alone can drive them to purchase a product.”

The next section, “How to Engage and Excite Customers In-Store,” demonstrates how proper branding paired with premium papers can excite and encourage purchases. The featured pieces include an attention-grabbing business card that used foil and Neenah’s memorable CLASSIC COLUMNS finish; a product display card; and an interactive package piece to help illustrate that shoppers often select products based on the packaging.

Sending the right message at the right time is crucial. In “How to Spread the Word,” we wanted to show how premium papers can make memorable first impressions. We designed a large event invite and envelope and a prism-shaped brochure filled with fictional spa treatments like “Vision Quest Meditation” and “Sweet Nectar Body Wrap” that could draw in customers who are interested in unique or VIP experiences.

In “How to Build A Following,” we created a meal-kit subscription service brand, Odyssey, to illustrate how online subscription services are building brand loyalty by using curated, personalized print materials.

Let’s move the Retail Revolution forward, by designing jaw-dropping print materials that draw customers in and keep them coming back for more!

Hippeas Branding

Organic snacks have become a hugely popular category in the food sector in recent years, so creating an ownable brand that stands out is essential for survival. So, when Livio Bisterzo, founder of Green Park Holdings, a food innovation company in the health and nutrition sector, developed a new product, he commissioned Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) to devise the brand personality.

Tosh Hall, JKR’s Global Executive Creative Director, notes, “He approached us with a new product technology for creating organic chickpea puffs and the idea of making snacking not only good for you and but also good for the earth. He had a concept, a name, and a desire to not just be another small food brand, but rather to have big impact and touch people across the globe.”

In other words, be a category disruptor, not a follower. The JKR team is quite adept at creating campaigns that resonate for clients like Budweiser, Kashi, Stella Artois, among others, so when evaluating this brand’s attributes, Hall and his team didn’t rely on existing competitive data for visual guidance. “When we start any project, we familiarize ourselves with the category, but don’t really look left or right to see what others are doing. We concentrated on what is unique and ownable to our brand,” he explains. Read the rest here.

 

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Take a Whiff: The Allure of Great Package Design

Thymes has been creating beautiful, botanical bath and body products with artisan fragrances for more than 30 years. In that time, the marketplace has become flooded with competitors, all vying for the same customers. To continue building excitement amidst a stream of new brands in the category, Thymes sought an elevated, modern aesthetic, so they reached out to Minneapolis-based, Wink. Initially, they only wanted their catalog redesigned, but principal Scott Thares asked them about their heritage and what they wanted to accomplish with a new catalog. “We spoke about how the vision needed to evolve into a more contemporary look and feel. They kept wanting to elevate their brand presence,” he recalls.

So he asked them what they felt they were doing better than the competition. “They kept coming back with this statement that they create artisanal, botanically-inspired fragrances—in house—versus other companies where fragrances are created in an outside chemical lab,” he says. “Everything they do evokes a memory; certain smells take you back to a particular moment in time. So we said we should capitalize on that.” Read the rest here.

Thymes Prospecting Kit-5

Anagrama: Beautifying Mexico One Boutique Brand at a Time

Although branding firm Anagrama has been around for only five years, it’s already made a remarkable impact in the design world as well as in its local community. Its three founders, Sebastian Padilla, Mike Herrera and Gustavo Muñoz, started the business while working out of Muñoz’s house in 2009, but the firm now boasts more than 40 graphic designers, architects and programmers based in two offices—Monterrey and Mexico City—as well as another partner, Roberto Treviño, who heads the architecture department.
“We create the perfect balance between a design boutique and a business consultancy, from focusing on the development of creative pieces with the utmost attention to details, to providing solutions based on the analysis of tangible data,” says Padilla, who works out of the Monterrey office as creative director and client liaison. By breaking the traditional agency scheme with its multidisciplinary approach, Anagrama has consistently created unique branding environments for its clients. They don’t just design packaging or logos—they build brands (quite literally) from the ground up. This floor-to-ceiling process requires all the skill sets within the firm—architects and interior designers working hand-in-hand with graphic designers and programmers to execute the strategy across the full branding spectrum. Read the rest of the article here.
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