April 05, 2018

This blog post has been contributed by Kirsty Cole, head of growth, Anthem Benelux.

Packaging design is of course a valuable brand asset and a vital tool in attracting consumers on shelf. Although it’s only one small part of a consumer’s journey to brand engagement, it’s also a brands only truly fully owned medium.

Brands need to be united across all touch-points but communication doesn’t necessarily need to be uniform. Now more than ever brands need to ‘think big’ and ‘behave small’ – to retain global recognition, but also appeal to consumers on a local level.

Trends are important and can prove useful especially when looking for ways to activate your brand on a local level – if you’re able to move quickly of course as quite often once a trend is identified, the time left to ride it is limited. Trends are, by their very nature, of the moment and often fleeting – not the best avenue for return on a brands investment.

Design for the ‘future now’.

When it comes to NPD and innovation, brands need to influence not follow – to focus on a way to design not for the ‘now’ but for the ‘future now’.

Strong consumer insights, especially when founded on emotional drivers, are long standing and can often be translated globally – a strong consumer insight brought to life with a strong brand or design idea can be adapted to engage with and attract consumers across many markets and touch-points.


Credit: Anthem Benelux: Minted – concept car design to challenge oral care category norms.

READ: Anthem Benelux Uses Insight Driven Concept Car Design to Disrupt Category Norms

Take millennials for example; we all know millennials are looking for ‘new experiences’ not ‘things’ – brands therefore must innovate in order to engage with and attract this audience. But how can brands innovate to extend their brand experiences without losing their core truths? This is especially important when we consider that millennials list brand authenticity as one of their most important drivers to purchase.

The key to engaging a millennial audience is to re-frame our approach – brands need to think differently in order to behave differently.

Design for use not just purchase.

In order to attract an audience looking for ‘experiences’ not ‘things, we need to stop thinking of ‘consumer’s’ and start thinking of ‘users’ – we need to design not for what users ‘think’ of a brand at each touch-point but what they ‘experience’ at each touch-point.

A crucial component here will also be our ability to foster a closer relationship between product development and marketing – uniting a brands equity across all touch-points, focused on designing a truly engaging brand experience that creates demand for ‘use’ not just for purchase.

Design for innovation.

Design is a powerful tool – together, we can create, test and succeed faster!

Developing and validating packaging concepts using the methodology of ‘concept car design’ is an efficient and effective avenue to explore brand innovation. The approach is grounded in core market and consumer insights, inspired by the brand, considerate of trends but not pulled around by them. Concept car design is future focused and also a tool to future-proof your brand – protecting and promoting your investment for long term growth.

Most importantly, in our constantly changing playing field, it’s an agile way of bringing ideas to life quickly – providing faster to market innovation and allowing brands the ability to design their own futures!


Credit: Anthem Benelux: Eternal Oceans – concept car design for the future of sustainably sourced canned fish.

Want to find out more? Join us at the Packaging Innovation Conference in Utrecht on April 11th where we’ll be teaming up on stage with Bas Smit from Barry Callebaut who will be sharing the success story of ground-breaking Ruby Chocolate.

READ: Anthem to Speak at the Packaging Innovations Conference in The Netherlands

For more information, contact:

Kirsty Cole – Head of Growth, Benelux

O: +31 (0) 20 3100 160


About Kirsty Cole: Kirsty’s diverse background in account management, business operations, marketing and development, means she brings a broad perspective and real knack for helping to solve complex brand and business challenges.

Having worked across a variety of accounts within FMCG, both within branding and advertising, Kirsty is dedicated to finding the best solutions and maximising brand and design opportunities across all touch points. In her role at Anthem Worldwide, Kirsty heads up the strategic growth of both the business and our key client brands across the Benelux and Continental European regions.