Designed Experiences. Culturally Relevant Through Design.

In an over-communicated world, brands must change their speaking methods to break through the clutter. Through designed experiences, brands can increase their relevance by promoting clarity and purpose.

At our quarterly Breakfast Club last Thursday, we focused on how brands can increase relevance and move shoppers emotionally and physically through packaging and retail design.

Mikael Tonning, Design Director at Everland, and Laurits Brückner Jensen and Oliver Borg von Bülow, Heads of Spatial at Kontrapunkt, shared their insights and expertise on this current topic in the FMCG industry.

Navigating Your Context

When brands understand their context, they appear relevant to consumers. With a credible brand position targeting a consumer’s ideal self-perception, brands can create designs and experiences that draw people in. Design Director & Founding Partner at EVÉRLAND Mikael Tonning highlighted some of the most important and relevant current trends in the FMCG market.

Private labels become private brands. As retailers strengthen their private label offerings, they start to challenge traditional brands. International retailers such as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Amazon are launching private label products that, in design and quality, appear to match – or even exceed – the category standards. The wave of well-designed private brands will push traditional brands to up their design game and specialise in order to stay relevant among consumers.

Companies cut the crap. They simply and amplify their message to make it stand out – loud and clear. One example is Kellogg’s, which recently overhauled its look. Over time, the iconic brand had stalled so it was time to rejuvenate the brand. By simplifying and amplifying their design, they are now stronger and more relevant than ever.

Brands that take a stand also regain relevance among their audience. Nike is a great example with its equality slogan, and the successful Colin Kaepernick campaign helped the iconic sports brand become a dominant player in the market.

Sustainability is still very much talk of the town and packaging has become a vehicle in the fight against plastic. Take, for example, the beer brand Corona, which is actively designing its products with the environment in mind. Their innovative packaging solutions reduce plastic usage or even make it redundant. This makes it easier for consumers to reduce plastic usage and positions the brand at the forefront of the fight for the environment.

Retail is changing

Stores are more show and less sale. That was one of the main points in the talk by Kontrapunkt’s Laurits Brückner Jensen & Oliver Borg von Bülow. This new focus comes from a new approach to branding. Experience is the common theme in branding, and physical spaces should be considered experience enablers. Another way to enrich and expand the brand experience.

Take the new Libratone flagship store in central Copenhagen. Laurits and Oliver have recently worked with the sound brand on creating a new experience in their store. To enrich and expand the Libratone brand experience, they rearranged the physical space so there is room for arranging concerts. These events present new sides of the brand and help facilitate a community.

Community is an important part of tomorrow’s brands, and retail – online as well as offline – should facilitate and strengthen the community. Take Glossier, an American beauty brand born from a blog and built on a community. Still today, the brand nurtures its community in its physical as well as online retail spaces. From Instagrammable flagship stores to a website that promotes consumers to reviewers and ambassadors. In every channel, the brand’s focus is to gather like-minded people around experiences with the brand and its products; on building and growing a loyal, global community.

To achieve synergy, brands should focus on creating unified retail experiences – both online and offline. Combining the possibilities in store with digital footprints and data to engage and learn from their shoppers.