February 15, 2017

The millennial generation wave is upon us — and they aren’t simply a younger version of previous generations. When it comes to designs that attract millennials, do you know them well enough to create emotional resonance with your brand?

Packaging is the last media you can’t “screen out,” unlike the 5,000+ other messages a day you do. The traditional media landscape is compiled of bought media, earned media, and owned media — all crowding the space for the unique, personalized experiences and messages millennials crave.

Below, we have highlighted a few characteristics of millennials and the opportunities they present for your brand to create impactful packaging design:

Experience seekers. Create exciting moments that appeal to their creative spirits. With a taste for culinary adventure, travel, and variety, millennials are seekers of new products that break the rules. In fact, millennials will oftentimes trade up for brands and products that offer these experiences. This presents the opportunity for brands to get creative with their structural and graphic design.

Consider this:

  • How can your packaging be an advert for the brands latest competition?
  • How can your packaging create a sense of adventure?

Self-oriented. While millennials have an itch for travel, culture, and worldly adventures, individuality and differentiation are also important. To address this millennial preference, brands have gone the route of creating personalized packaging — think about the Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” campaign. This campaign replaced the Coke logo with popular names — inviting consumers to share with their friends and family members.

Transience sells with this generation — they love having something that is unavailable to the rest of the world. The demand for personalized, and flexible packaging requires many brands to become more agile in their design and will likely be prevalent in future packaging strategies.

Consider this:

  • How can you collaborate with external resources to create a more desirable, collectable product?
  • How do you make the product locally relevant?

Social media savvy. Millennial consumers are more educated than ever – and not only in the traditional sense, but technologically. They have access to endless information at their fingertips via their Smart devices and use that information to make decisions. Since they are always connected, millennials find great importance in digital and mobile technology, as this impacts just about everything they do. Before even making a purchase, millennials consult their Smart devices for the following:

  • Product research
  • Price comparison
  • Peer reviews

Millennials enjoy sharing their experiences with their social media network and are very honest and open to online reviews by influencers. For example, many millennials turn to Grav3yardgirl for beauty and product reviews. Bunny Meyer, also known as Grav3yardgirl, is a YouTube contributor with nearly 8M followers. She produces entertaining reviews daily of herself testing out products her followers care about. Think about how this kind of influencer marketing can hurt/help your brand.

Consider this:

  • How can you highlight corporate sponsorship at an event or through a spokesperson or influencer?
  • Is your brand convenient to search on mobile?

Open for experimentation. Millennials tend to have lower instinctive brand loyalty, so pack design has a huge influence on decisions. While many millennials are concerned about price, there is a time and a place to splurge.

Price-driven shopping creates concern for national brands and opportunity for private label, and when new solutions emerge that bring discovery and sophistication while staying on budget, this intrigues the millennial generation. For example, food trucks present the opportunity for millennials to embrace their adventure seeking, experiementation with new brands, and openness for other cultures while not breaking the bank.

READ: How to Leverage the Extreme Growth of the Men’s Beauty Market

Millennials also represent a new luxury. High technology is seen as a requirement to stay current with the world around them, and millennials will spend several hundreds of dollars (even if they can’t afford it) to do so. Whether it be the new iPhone 8 or any other pricey gadget, millennials are always connected to their devices, therefore prefer to stay currnet with technology.

Consider this:

  • How can you demonstrate one your products health benefits on-pack?
  • Could the packaging be an extension to the brands media campaigns?

Green and responsible. Millennials tend to be environmentally conscious and value brands and products that are sustainable and natural. Brands that embrace diversity and equality speak to their political activism and feeling of being involved with the greater good. In fact, according to an Anthem/IPSOS study, 58% of millennials feel that “a brand that makes me feel like a good person” is very important — significantly more than older groups. 69% agree that a brand that acts responsibly in the way they do business is also a key differentiaor when making purchase decisions.

Consider this:

  • Could your packaging be used to highlight a social issue?
  • How can you use unique packaging CTAs to raise money for a charity?

Millennials look for innovation in every aspect of their life, including packaging! Always keep in mind, you can only get so far with demographics, but to create flexible and impactful design, it’s important that packaging resembles a fun, maverick, and youthful display while aligning your brand’s story in an authentic way. With constant connectivity and easy access to loads of product information, to stand out and maintain relevance, consider the opportunities and value your packaging can offer millennials.