Hebron, KY, April 7,2015
Camouflage your brand or differentiate? The latter of course. But how many innovations does your folding carton supplier bring to help you stand out at the point of sale?
Brand owners are facing an innovation crisis at a time when innovation matters most. Consider the situation. The average American supermarket now carries over 50,000 items – five times as many as it did in 1975. (“The Economist”, Dec. 16, 2010) Retail channels are blurring into one another and new channels are being born. 76 percent of consumers now shop in five or more CPG channels. (IRI, Apr. 25, 2014) Consumers have more choices now than ever before and brand owners need folding carton innovations to help satisfy them.
Recently there have been a large number of mergers and acquisitions in the paperboard and folding carton industry and those M&A’s have been financed in part by carton companies’ standardizing the products they offer to their customers. R&D gets cut. The M&A’s have been successful from a shareholder standpoint – two of 2014’s quarters were record profits for the paper and paperboard industries, and before that there were record profits in 2013.
But from a brand owner’s perspective all is not so successful. Brand owners constantly develop new products and new package configurations to attract an ever more demanding consumer. Brand owners need carton companies to keep up with them when it comes to innovation. When the carton companies’ R&D budgets get cut, innovation suffers and salesforces that might have previously sold custom solutions now push the company’s big products. Customers are pushed into standard offerings when what they need is custom solutions for the custom problems they face.
I am sure that the reader can think of several CPG categories where brand owners look like every other brand on the shelf. Within that category, how many carefully differentiated products are there, all in the same basic package, screaming out to the consumer, “Except for graphics I’m like everybody else!” It has become a seller’s market. Brand owners are victims of standardization. Uniformity at the retail shelf. Homogeneous packages. Camouflage.
We hear that all the time when we go to new accounts. Customers and prospects complain that our competitors do not bring unique solutions for their challenges and they appreciate that we do. As a matter of fact, that and our customer service are the reason we are in business.
Like I said, there are more products available now than there have ever been because consumers demand more choices now than they ever have. CPG’s spend huge amounts on R&D trying to customize and personalize as much as possible. If they could give each person her own unique product they would. Consider how effective Share-A-Coke was and why. Each person wants to be spoken to individually. Coke took that to the next level in Israel recently by producing 2 million unique Diet Coke bottles. The trend will continue.
Call Zumbiel and get innovation. Get what you need to connect with consumers and to step out of the camouflage.
About Zumbiel Packaging
As one of the largest independent paperboard packaging companies in the U.S., Zumbiel has provided a wide range of innovative packaging solutions to clients in the beverage, food and general consumer product markets for 170 years. Zumbiel Packaging is a family-owned, award-winning company that hold SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) chain-of-custody certifications, and is ISO 9001:2008 registered with a focus on cGMP.