Drive Design Innovation through Collaborative Packaging

It has been proven that packaging has a direct impact on sales, most notably in influencing many purchase decisions that take place at the point-of-sale. Over and over again, studies find that innovative packaging systems (new shapes, materials, dispensing systems, etc.) are very powerful in their ability to differentiate brands, justify price premiums and increase brand loyalty. The challenge, however, is to identify opportunities for innovation—and to measure the business value of packaging innovation.

Jane Chase, senior director, packaging innovation and R&D, The Schwan Food Co., recently sat down with Packaging Digest to discuss exactly how to drive innovation through collaborative packaging.  One of the keys to innovation is collaboration, according to Chase. Without gaining alignment with the other functional areas that are impacted by the change in the company early, package innovation will not happen.

“By insuring that your key partners-Marketing, Product Development, Process Engineering, Operations and Legal-are engaged in the development process, you allow them to become invested in the success of the project. Their input at key points in the development of the package innovation strengthens the design and produces a more robust commercializable package,” she explained.

But, a red flag that you're working with the wrong partner on a package innovation is missed deliverables early on in the process. “There are times where we as end users push our partners to commit to timing that they know is unattainable. A true partner is strong enough to call for reasonable time for development,” she added.

A lot of companies come to an end user with a new innovative technology that they would like to get commercialized, but sometimes the partner is unwilling to make changes because the development is done and you are just looking to sell the technology.

"It's really important that the partner be willing and able to make the technology work for your application,” she said.

Chase believes that brands need to design their packaging to optimize shelf space because, to a retailer, the bottom line is that shelf space equals money. The more productive a shelf space is in turning product and generating revenue, the more profitable the space is for the retailer and the producer.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
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