The Critical Role of Branding & Package Design in the CPG Industry

For several years now, BrandBourg has had a strategic and creative AOR with Lactalis Canada, the Canadian division of Lactalis Group, the #1 dairy group in the world. With the recent acquisition of Kraft’s natural cheese business, Lactalis Canada adds Cracker Barrel, Amooza and P’tit Québec to their portfolio of beloved brands that includes Black Diamond, Astro, Lactantia, Balderson, Beatrice, siggi’s, Président and Galbani. In the following exchange with BrandBourg's President Christian Pichette, Rosa shares her vision of branding for any CPG company.

BB : How do you see the role of branding and its importance for any cpg company?

A CPG company’s brand and the role it plays in the consumer’s mind are extremely important.

Branding is part of the process of making your product and company into a brand. Ensuring your brand at all touch points (packaging, communication strategy, product attributes, etc) drives consumer loyalty should be a top objective.  Consumer loyalty is important in developing and maintaining a strong brand in a very competitive market.

And branding consideration occurs at two levels – at the product brand and corporate brand levels. Clearly, any CPG organization has to be expert in product brands: how to position it, how to grow it, when and how to launch successful brand extensions or create new brand offerings, etc. Then the real challenge is ensuring our marketing strategy is being translated into our packaging platform. This is why I consider branding and packaging experts such important partners.

BB: How would you recommend a company on the best way to manage their mix of regional, national and international brands?

Consumers are always looking for new food choices to avoid repetitiveness and have new experiences. National, regional and international brands can play a significant role in a consumer’s purchase decision when looking for new food choices.

A company that has strong meaningful brands on a national basis, regional and international basis has the ability to target different cohorts for different consumer needs/wants. For example, in Canada where we have a diverse population, international food brands can play a significant role where consumers look for familiar brands to deliver a certain experience while using their national brands to target food choices that are more mainstream and part of their everyday usage.

At Lactalis Canada we are fortunate to own some of Canada’s most favorite brands while having access to a full repertoire of powerful global brands. While exciting, it is also a challenge to carefully manage your branding decisions. From this perspective, it’s imperative to have a mechanism or tool like a strategic decision tree to help you optimize your choices in managing your portfolio of brands. Whether it is brand rationalization, or extending a regional brand to national distribution or introducing a global brand, brand decisions are critically important and can bring either risk or reward to your consumer franchise.

 “ As some of the food brands in Canada don’t have sufficient media support, packaging can be seen as the singular, most important communication vehicle for a brand.”

BB: Any insights on how to manage an acquisition from a branding perspective?

Understanding your consumer and the role the brand plays in the consumers mind is extremely important when looking at your brand strategy post acquisition. The key to maintaining the legacy brands and the newly acquired brands growth is to ensure that your portfolio strategy is supported by brands that each have a distinct and complementary role to play with unique consumer appeal.

BB : In your opinion, what is the role of research in the development of a packaging / brand platform?

Research is imperative when developing packaging (for a refresh or repositioning) and even more so when developing a new brand. Packaging plays an important role at shelf where over 65% of consumers purchase decisions are still made at shelf! A packaging design should be an informed decision based on consumer validated insights.

In this way, developing package design is almost a science because it merges the complexity of understanding your consumer while understanding the role packaging plays in delivering success to your brand. Packaging must deliver on brand communication, recognition, navigation and impact on shelf.

Understanding these elements of the packaging and how they influence purchase will help drive trial in an environment where consumers have a lot of choice.

BB : In your opinion, what is the role/importance of package design in a brand’s communication strategy?

A brand’s packaging design and architecture provides important information to a consumer and ultimately finalizes the consumers’ decision on whether to purchase or not. As some of the food brands in Canada don’t have sufficient media support, packaging can be seen as the singular, most important communication vehicle for a brand.

Back to my prior point, strong, consumer validated packaging design needs to make your product memorable, easy to find and appealing in order to attract new users and repeat customers. The growth of your brand is counting on it.

"This is why I consider branding and packaging experts such important partners."

Rosa Checcia, Vice President, Marketing (cheese), Lactalis Canada

Rosa Checcia

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