It’s Time to Rethink Your Branding & Embrace Experience-Driven Packaging by Katch’s Georgie Woollams

By Georgie Woollams, Managing Director of Katch International, a Dubai-based integrated communications and creative design agency.

With social media engagement rising by 61%, restaurants open at very limited capacities, and demand for deliveries skyrocketing during the pandemic – now, more than ever, is the ideal time for businesses to engage with customers through fun, creative and high-quality user-generated content (UGC). Many brands are turning to experience-driven packaging as a powerful marketing tool and an effective way of amassing a treasure chest of UGC.

Check out our top tips on how to build online buzz for your brand by embracing an experience-driven approach to packaging and using it to bring your customers on a journey:

All About the ‘Gram

What do you do when your Instagrammable restaurant has to switch to delivery-only options? This is a very real dilemma that many F&B businesses have faced since lockdown restrictions were implemented. As a result, a lot of those businesses have lost some of their key USPs, along with their ability to capitalise on quality user-generated content (UGC) from the micro and macro-influencers who usually visit their restaurants. This has inevitably led them to unwillingly blend in with the F&B delivery crowd and struggle to stand out. If your business is facing a similar dilemma, then it’s time to not only rethink your approach to content and marketing, but to also overhaul your branding and packaging design.

According to a survey carried out by ‘Facebook for Business’, when asked what type of content they wanted to see, 55% of respondents said ‘fun’, 53% said ‘real’, and 53% said ‘creative’. These findings point to a huge opportunity for brands to inject more colour, creativity and originality into online content, packaging and branding design. It’s time to enhance the customer journey consistently across all your channels, both online and offline. Create captivating visuals, complemented by a fun and engaging brand voice, while striving for consistency across the board, from your social media pages and your website design/branding, right through to the packaging your customers receive on their doorsteps. By doing so, you’ll take your own content to the next level and, subsequently, get your customers sharing posts about your brand on social media.

Staying Ahead of the Game

Once you’ve got your audience posting about your brand on social media, whether it’s through photos of the fun and creative packaging they received or reposts of your channel’s creative content, you can take advantage of an abundance of killer UGC. This, in turn, can majorly boost your chances of becoming a viral success story. While this is all well and good in theory, in order to get started on creating your own next-level content, you need to see examples of successful experience-driven content  and packaging in practice. It’s important to do your research before committing to an overhaul of strategy. Take a look at other brands, locally and globally, both in your industry and outside of it, and find out how they hit viral gold. Analyse what the strengths and weaknesses of their campaigns were and gauge how you can adapt or improve upon similar approaches to your own content, branding and packaging.

A great example to get you started is Pizza Hut’s ‘Blockbuster Box’ campaign. The ‘Blockbuster Box’ was a pizza box that doubled as a film projector; customers were able to access free movies by using their smart phones to scan QR codes on the boxes. Even though the campaign was rolled out exclusively for the Hong Kong market, it went viral all over the world, as the media and social media users alike couldn’t get enough of the concept. Another perfect example of game-changing experience-driven branding is Tomorrowland’s ticket packaging. Every year, thousands of people purchase their tickets for the Belgian electronic dance music festival, and, every year, they flock online to post pictures and videos of the captivating packaging those tickets come in. Don’t believe me? Just search ‘Tomorrowland ticket unboxing’ on YouTube and take a look at the viewing figures for each video. The first three results alone have a combined viewing total of more than 2.1 million.

Getting it Right

So, you’ve done your research and decided to rethink your content and branding approach; the next step is putting it into action. Focus on amplifying your brand’s tone of voice by adding personal touches to your delivery packaging. By offering customers great-quality, creatively customised packaging, you can significantly boost your brand’s chances of being talked about – for the right reasons – on social media. If people enjoy the customer journey you provide, then they’ll want to tell others about it. If a micro or macro-influencer posts an unboxing video or a reaction post for your product, highlighting the creativity and uniqueness of your packaging design, then word will quickly spread online. From there, your online engagement will soar, and consumer interest will increase, which can also lead to positive media attention.

Don’t forget to include fun and impactful messaging, campaign hashtags and relevant keywords on your packaging, to ensure influencers, as well as your target audience, share the right information about your brand. QR codes are also an effective way of increasing online engagement with your brand. Add one to your packaging that links up to your website or social media pages, with an appropriate call to action, encouraging customers to scan the code for special offers, promo deals, discounts, competitions, or newsletter sign-ups.

Additionally, it’s vital that you show your gratitude to customers through your packaging. Even a small yet sincere ‘Thank You’ note personalised with customer’s name, accompanying the package, can make all the difference. For example, a Signal report on brand loyalty found that 79% of US and 72% of UK consumers prefer brands that show they care about and understand their customers on a one-to-one level. Simply put, customers that feel appreciated are far more likely to be loyal to your brand.