Why authentic package design matters to millennials

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This article was originally posted on www.pkgbranding.com by Kevin Keating.

“There is a lot of talk these days about generation Y, more commonly referred to as “the millennials”. You may hear some comments about millennials, like, “They live with their parents until they are 30” or, “most millennials don’t maintain a strong career focus”.. While there might be some truth to these disparaging comments, they are mostly generalizations. Millennials are certainly quite different from the previous generations, and this is mostly due to the significant changes in technology, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, there are many positives.

A digital generation

Among other qualities, Business Insider magazine notes that millennials are tech savvy, great at using social media for career opportunities and enthusiastic about their jobs (businessinsider.com). With these tech-savvy and social media oriented minds comes a different kind of consumer. Millennials use their access to the internet to carefully research prices and reviews about a product before buying it. Although e-commerce is on the rise, recent research suggest that most millennials still prefer to shop in a physical store (accenture.com). This demographic uses their digital IQ to create a more informed shopping experience, so it’s almost impossible for companies to misrepresent the facts about their products or charge exorbitantly more than their competition.

Packaging that makes sense

Authentic packaging should reflect the ideals that your brand promotes. For example, if you promote an eco-friendly lifestyle and want to encourage your customers to be green, it wouldn’t make much sense to be wasteful with your package design or use materials that can’t be recycled. Authenticity should create a high level of trust with people who use your product. They should be able to pick the package up  and if intended, know from the secure design and the information on the label that you are selling something that is well worth the cost.

Create authenticity that can be backed up by data

The difficulty of creating an authentic package design for the millennial generation is that the package itself is unlikely to be their first point of contact with your product.  They will probably spend some time online researching the item they want to buy and figuring out which brand is the cheapest or most reliable. For this reason, you should have an online platform to showcase your product and compliment you packaging design with the same message of authenticity. Although most millennials want the most cost efficient option, people will pay a little bit more for a product if they believe that it is made with better materials and will outlast and outperform the competition. On the flip side, some millennials start with the physical in-store experience and check products out before researching them online and then make a purchase decision. In this case, if you can create a connection with the customer through your packaging, and all that’s left is to have resources online that confirm the authenticity of your product.

Millennials want the brands they invest in to be authentic, and that isn’t a bad thing. Informed consumers keep companies accountable by reading or writing honest reviews and only parting with their money when they deem a product to be worthy of it. Authentic packaging matters to millennials because in the end, authentic products matter. After all, millennials spend $600 billion every year in the U.S. alone, so they are a tough group to ignore (accenture.com).”

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