Brand owners in the toy and entertainment industries are acutely aware that today’s kids are sophisticated, brand-savvy and connected at an early age. Their purchasing power continues to rise at a staggering rate and they now have a heavy influence over household purchase decisions. They’re comfortable spending their money, and they’re likely to purchase what they want with some degree of guidance from their parents – and a heavy dose of peer endorsement.
With TV and Internet advertising, activity-filled, brand-oriented websites and an ever-growing choice of social media platforms with which to engage, kids’ brand preferences are continuously being shaped. Conversations with their friends – whether face-to-face or through text and social media – help seal the deal. When kids want something, they want it NOW as a result of these influences.
Package design is key to the sale
All of these touch points are driving kids to retail because they help establish a proclivity for specific brands. But, packaging still plays the most critical role in making the sale happen. Consider this: when confronted by countless choices, kids can sometimes be more attracted by a competitor’s brand if the packaging is more compelling; they’re impulsive and may go for something else instead.
That’s why the brand has to be fully leveraged in package design to remind the child about the attributes and perceived higher value of the brand that drove them into the store in the first place. When packaging kids’ products, here are a few rules to follow:
- Tell the brand story in a dramatic and immersive manner through a combination of equitable visual assets – brand identity, character imagery, design architecture, trade dress, fonts and color palette – that are closely associated with the brand.
- Develop distinctive package structure that refers back to the brand. Treat structure design as another opportunity for packaging to tell the brand story and visually resonate with kids.
- Create an icon as part of the brand identity that can be used independently, or a system of iconography to communicate product benefits and features. This is a fun approach to brand communication that kids will remember and associate with the brand.
- Be selective with brand communication, and ensure that it speaks to kids as well as their parents. Remember: parents need to be reassured about products they or their kids are purchasing.
- Harness on-pack interactive technology. Kids love packaging that can be scanned with a smartphone to gain access to additional product information, news, special promotions and interactivity that ties in with the play pattern.
It used to be simple to design packaging for kids. Well, it certainly isn’t kid stuff anymore. The approach is more sophisticated now because kids are. For both traditional and licensed brand owners, it’s truly an ongoing challenge to fully leverage the potential of package design to appeal to this ever-changing and savvy audience.