Packaging Innovation and Luxury Packaging

Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging 2021

Last week, Elephants attended the Packaging Innovations & Luxury Packaging event in Olympia, London. Starting at 10am and finishing at 4pm, the day was absolutely jam-packed with insightful seminars, exciting exhibits and great conversations.

Paul Williams, Executive Creative Director at Springetts talking about ‘Brand Love’
Freddy Ward, Co Founder & CEO of WILD and Jo Barnard, Founder & Creative Director of Morrama
Panel with Ian McCulloch, Managing Director of Silent Pool Distillers; Joanne Price, Marketing Manager of Reflex; Paul Marsh, Design Director of Butterfly Cannon and hosted by Jay Betton of UPM Raflatac

Over the course of the day, we attended several panels and spoke to some very insightful individuals. Now, we want to unpack our learnings and think about the implications for our clients.

Our Key learnings from the event:

1. The definition of luxury is changing within packaging.

In the past, luxury has had connotations with the most expensive and/or most unique materials. But with the enormous shift towards sustainability in recent years, the definition of luxury has changed. Most consumers don’t want the old definition of luxury if it means destroying the planet.

Today, we see luxury brands move towards eco-friendly materials and functional packaging. For example, Chanel uses pulp to make their newest advent calendar. It’s not only the fashion and cosmetics industries that are looking at this biodegradable option either, but those in other sectors such as food and beverage are seeing the value in pulp too. Instead of prestige from materials, the luxury of packaging now comes from other things such as cultural value, added functionality and so on.

“Luxury is no longer about price or status but about culture – what is the cultural relevance of what we are creating for consumers?” Mike Webster, Director of 3D Experience & Sustainability, 1HQ

2. Secondary use is becoming the primary focus.

Gone are the days when packaging was just the throwaway layer that protects your product from external forces. Now, it’s all about secondary use.

There is a need to innovate products but also packaging. How can consumers re-use it? Is there a functional aspect that can support the product or be used elsewhere? Businesses now have a responsibility to give consumers useful packaging as well as products. Examples we saw on the day are how Silent Pool Distilleries upcycle their gin bottles into scented candles or Veetee rice boxes re-purposed as measuring cups for their grain.

“Lots of companies are stripping back… lots of brands are looking at secondary use.” James Kendall, Knoll Prestige Packaging

3. Packaging should be part of the product experience.

When businesses are thinking about how to make their packaging more useful to consumers, it might not always draw on practicality; it may be a matter of creating an emotional connection.

Start-ups might use their packaging to tell their brand story and connect with their customer. Established brands could evoke nostalgia and good memories amongst consumers. Packaging can be repurposed as keepsakes (think jewellery or cosmetic boxes) or for storing keepsakes (think aesthetic confectionary boxes). Either way, packaging can be much more than the discarded outer layer of products.

“It’s about giving consumers an experience.” Joanne Price, Marketing Manager, Reflex

Ultimately, the packaging scene is in a state of immense change. Elephants is looking forward to the innovations to come and taking our conversations from the event into future projects. We’ll be sure to see many ideas come to life in 2022 – the question is, which ones will stick?

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