What to Consider for Your Packaging and How It Affects Your Brand Identity

By Adwright, 27 February 2023

“Packaging can be theatre, it can create a story.”

– Steve Jobs

The State of Packaging

Mintel recently released a report on Global Packaging Trends 2023. We take a closer look at the various packaging-related factors to consider in the Singaporean market, and delve into how it will have an impact on brand marketing in Singapore.

Better for the Planet

Across the globe, authorities have introduced environmental initiatives regulating packaging standards for manufacturers. Last October, Singapore put in place the new Technical Reference (TR) 109 on Sustainable Packaging Guiding Framework and Practices for B2B and B2C packaging. Detailing industry best practices adapted to suit Singapore’s context, the regulation guides companies in the life cycle of packaging, starting upstream from packaging design to end-of-life management and applies across different sectors. This framework helps companies develop plans to manage their packaging waste, especially when companies are now required to submit reports under the Mandatory Packaging Reporting (MPR) scheme.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Introduced in 2021 by the National Environment Agency, one of the requirements under the MPR mandates retailers and packaging manufacturers to report annually the company’s plans to reduce, reuse or recycle packaging in Singapore. In this way, the government aims to drive companies to implement measures facilitating the recycling of packaging waste, such as using packaging material that is easier to recycle or introducing voluntary packaging take-back and recycling schemes.

Building Environmental & Social Conciousness 

Image credit: Towards Zero Waste SG

Beyond the authorities’ push for corporate recycling measures, Singaporean consumers are also concerned about packaging waste, however they typically do not know which materials can be recycled. While consumers are willing and interested to recycle, they do not want to expend additional time, energy or costs to do so. In such a way, with recycling remaining the most understood and actionable ways for consumers to incorporate environmentally-friendly actions into their lives, one approach for brands would be designing packaging for easy reuse or recycling.

Brands should invest in technologies and systems to bring greater value, and provide convenient, environmentally-friendly consumption choices. In this way, brands are seen to be supportive of the environmentally-friendly narrative while making it simple for consumers to play a part being environmentally conscious too.

A reflection of your purpose and ethos

When brands showcase strengths and actions made to better the lives of others, they communicate their social ethos towards the world and the communities around them. Yet, consumers are becoming less likely to take these claims at face value. They want to know more about your brand, where materials are sourced from, whether the company operates ethically alongside other concerns.

Ultimately, consumers want to know who you are as a company, and the reasons behind their existence. Especially in today’s saturated marketplace with many products serving the same function, people are convinced by purpose rather than the sole function of the product alone. As Simon Sinek puts it in his Golden Circle theory, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Furthermore, being transparent in what your company is improving on and how it contributes to the greater good thus wins the heart and earns the trust of your consumers. A reflection of your brand’s equity (the value of your brand, which has begun to include social and environmental capital), packaging can be a powerful way to convey your brand’s stand on social issues.

Reflecting Nutritional Information Clearly

Since 2016, Singapore has established multiple initiatives to tackle diabetes amongst citizens. For example, at the end of 2021, the ministry of health has introduced Nutri-Grade, a nutritional summary labelling to help consumers better gauge how healthy pre-packaged drinks are at a glance. Due to such regulations, beverage companies have started labelling their drink products according to a new grading system based on sugar and saturated fat content.

Image credit: @abcDietitian.sg (Instagram)

Drinks graded ‘C’ or ‘D’ need to place the labels at the front of the product, which would implicate the way drinks would now be perceived by the consumer at the point-of-purchase.

Similarly, a ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) from 2021 meant that manufacturers and retailers cannot use PHOs in the manufacturing process or as an ingredient. As Singapore tackles trans fat in the food industry, eliminating PHOs, a key form of artificial trans fat, helps reduce the average daily trans fat intake among Singaporeans. As Singaporean consumers are more aware of the presence of trans fat in our local diet, they are more likely to check ingredient lists and nutrition labels on the foodstuffs they purchase.

Brands in the Singapore market are analysing and reformulating their products as they comply with government regulations in reducing or declaring fat and sugar levels. As these brands relook beverage packaging in view of the respective drink grades, reframing brand messages and communicating key product USPs will be key. For example, drinks that receive poor grades might prefer to emphasise other health-boosting benefits and ingredients. On the other hand, drinks that have been reformulated and achieved a lower grade might want to highlight the lower sugar content present in their products now. In this sense, take into account the advantages and disadvantages of your product when evaluating how your brand or product is communicated.

Packagings plays a part to unlimited creativity and engagement

Consumers are constantly on the lookout for increasingly immersive experiences, incorporating a plethora of media formats such as social media, AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), AI (artificial intelligence) and the Metaverse. More and more, brands are finding creative ways of assimilating technology into means of content consumption and entertainment.

Convey Brand Authenticity Through Packaging

Brands can turn packaging into a format to entertain, educate and engage consumers through creating new use experiences. For example, the Snap Sounds campaign by US snack brand Harvest Snaps invited Gen Z students to create music on TikTok via a QR code on its packaging. Through several specific head movements, users could produce different distinctive beats corresponding to the crunch of the snack and the sounds produced by its packaging.

Be discerning when incorporating interactivity into the product packaging though. Ensure the interactive solutions add to product purpose and functionality by providing the right information or support at the right moment. In an era where shoppers often learn about and purchase products on social media platforms, consider how social media culture can influence limited edition pack designs and packaging functionalities for these social-media natives.

When a brand modifies its packaging, ensure that it communicates your brand identity accurately. Convey your brand image and brand values authentically, like the ethos you hold and the causes you stand for. Make your purpose clear on the packaging and explore ways to use packaging as a creative platform to engage your audience in new ways.

Brands that keep the environment in mind in designing packaging with both aesthetic and functional purposes, such as reduced packaging waste and more efficient product use, will no doubt capture attention. Strike a balance between complying with regulations while creatively communicating the USPs of your brand or products.

As brands grapple to stay on top with changing legislation and the associated perceptions of consumers, remain consistent with your brand identity and especially your brand values throughout all brand communication. Simply put, make packaging a part of communicating your brand message, and not the other way around.

Image credit: Hani Douaji (Behance)

Need a leg up on crafting the most effective brand identity for your brand?

We would love to share with you on how we can complement your brand journey. At Adwright, we understand the paramount importance of having a reputable brand image. With our finesse and experience in curating strategic brand messages, we create the brand equity needed for marketing to succeed. While we are experts at building brand assets, it is our clients who play the biggest role in building trust with their customer base. After all, where there is trust, there is loyalty – the key factors that determine a brand’s reputation.

Adwright is an award-winning integrated branding agency in Singapore with over 25 years of experience in the industry and counting. We have collaborated with clients ranging from local SMEs to global corporations, spanning across many industries. We provide integrated solutions in branding, design, communications and beyond to help you bring your brand’s presence to market. Partner with us and embark on your unique brand journey today. To find out more about the services that Adwright provides, call us today at +65 6227 7227 or email enquiry@adwright.com.



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