A great redesign can reinvigorate a brand, but it’s crucial to choose correctly between making an evolutionary vs. revolutionary change.
It’s a common belief that the motivation for a package design change is largely in the hands of the brand´s owners, but in actuality it’s the competition that compels the need for change.
The brand owners, however, must spend the time to diagnose their brand thoroughly in order to decide whether to make an evolutionary change vs. a revolutionary change. This process should include identifying the brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It’s also important to consider the brand’s current and desired positioning and design aesthetic, so that it is clear what could change and what may need to be retained for maximum success.
Evolution vs. Revolution
How big of a change should you make?
Evolution is generally recommended (or more prudent) for successful brands that are already well established. These brand often can’t afford to risk causing confusion with their core consumers, or worse, becoming unrecognizable. Amplifying key brand attributes or simply refreshing certain core equities may be sufficient to reinvigorate an established brand. It’s important to note that not all equity elements must be retained. In certain situations, it may actually be beneficial for a brand to cast aside some equity elements if they no longer communicate the desired attributes and positioning of the brand.
An evolutionary change generally implies packaging optimization. This design path removes the elements of your current packaging design that aren’t working and optimizes, evolves or amplifies the parts that are. This type of change focuses on improving your package’s ability to deliver your message, rather than starting from scratch. This does not mean the redesign is extremely subtle. There is a wide range of design solutions within an evolutionary change – from very subtle to more radical refinements.
A revolutionary change is generally recommended when a brand has waited too long to react to market changes, lost sufficient market share or desires to reposition the brand more aggressively. In these cases, making a more drastic change is necessary. A revolutionary change means the package design is very different from what existed before and many, if not all, equity elements are abandoned and replaced.
A brand that is weak has more freedom to change, strengthen and differentiate through an innovative, new package design. A weak brand has more to gain than to lose from restaging completely. When done correctly, a revolutionary design can be a highly effective way to revitalize a brand with low market share that seeks to become relevant again.
10 Key Things to Consider When Embarking on a Redesign
- Identify why a change is needed.
- Identify/refine the target consumer profile.
- Engage various sales channels and retailers for feedback.
- Document the brand sales and history.
- Determine key equity elements.
- List the brand strengths and weaknesses.
- Clarify the brand essence and brand promise.
- Develop or refine the brand story.
- Map your brand space in correlation to competitors, your current space and potential new brand space.
- Define a design strategy: evolutionary vs. revolutionary.
When each of these key elements is thoughtfully considered, the redesign strategy to use will become clear. Plan your strategy, prioritize your brand’s key equity elements and refine your brand story. During the design phase, explore design options that range from closer in to further out; allow the further out solutions to be a bit beyond your comfort level. It’s easier to reign in a design rather than wonder if you should have pushed further.
A package redesign is no small task, but when done correctly, it can have a radically beneficial effect on sales and ultimately ensure the long-term health of your brand.
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