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Thinking about how to attract the Gen Z consumer? Instagrammable packaging is the answer.

The age of the Gen Z consumers is here! They are making their presence felt in virtually every sphere of life. Be it the way businesses transact, the way goods/services are delivered, or even the way they are consumed, has changed over the last few years.

Born and brought up in an era which is being shaped greatly by technology, the Gen Z consumers are very much used to using technology in everything they do. Brands know this and try hard to meet the requirement of this sunrise generation. After all, they are the future consumers!

Social media has emerged as the coolest hangout space for this generation. However, it is not just the Gen Z, but even the seniors have succumbed to its charm. Every decision they take, every purchase they make, is now influenced by social media, in some way or the other. Social media channels, like Instagram and YouTube, have now become the sounding boards for the consumers and brands alike.

In fact, Instagram has now become the new space where brands and marketers are fighting the new war with their competitors. Studies have shown that 71 per cent of the online users reported that their buying decision was influenced by their interaction with the brand on Instagram.

In this race to rule the new-age consumer’s minds, Instagrammable packaging is emerging as the primary weapon in the hands of brand managers.

Here is why Instagramable packaging is important.

  1. It has a great flaunt value because of its aesthetic appeal.

  2. Its packaging is ideal for e-commerce portals.

  3. It can be easily used as a prop in a selfie to be displayed on social media.

  4. Selfies indirectly show that the consumer agrees with the brand values, a task which is very difficult to achieve with conventional forms of marketing.

  5. Being flaunted by the user provides the brand an opportunity to connect and influence the user’s peers.

  6. Being user generated, this is the most reliable and trusted form of word of mouth publicity.

  7. Also, compared to paid content, such user generated content has a higher chance of going viral, thus, expanding the brands reach further.

  8. For brands, this may be the highest level of publicity at virtually no cost!

The age of e-commerce has already started. Today, direct 2 consumer (D2C) brands too have started making their presence felt and show immense potential to grow. Hence, the packaging has to look good on not only shelves, but also the smaller screens, like those of a laptop or, more importantly, smartphones so that D2C savvy consumers can go for it.

Now, the question is how to make packaging Instagrammable? Here are some facets that make a packaging Instagrammable.

  • Flaunt-worthy

Unless the packaging is flaunt-worthy, the Gen Z consumers will not include it in their cyber life. This means that the shape, size and the design language on the pack, have to be worth being flaunted.

  • Insta-worthy

Instagram works on the concept of ‘feeds’. Instagram user attempts to fit themselves in these feeds. Hence, any packaging that looks good in these feeds will also be considered Instagram-worthy and, hence, showcased.

  • Relatable

Brands that resonate with the thought process of the user or consumers, who are in sync with the brand values, have a higher chance of being flaunted. For instance, a lot of people relate with the philosophy of the brand ‘The Body Shop’. They believe in simple recyclable packaging of the brand. This makes the packaging Instagram-worthy, as it also symbolises the consumer’s beliefs.

  • Personalised

Having your name written on something you consume, gives immense joy to every user. Imagine if, along with the brand name, the user’s name is flaunted. This makes the consumer feel special. This is exactly what Coca-Cola did when it launched a new personalised packaging with the name of the user printed on the pack. Though it proved to be a logistical exercise, the publicity generated through this activity was worth the effort.

  • Collectible

In earlier times, tin boxes of chocolates or ‘mithai’ were used to store things long after the goodies inside were consumed. Not only were the boxes strong, they also aided brand recall. Today, some brands are using the same logic and create packaging that can be reused long after the product inside is consumed. Also, due to its flaunt value, the packaging appears as a prop in the user’s selfies.

  • Prop-worthy

Selfies on Instagram are all about attitudes and beliefs of the user. Hence, any prop that helps the user in this effort are welcome. Brand that can act as props to make the picture beautiful and also add to the message are great.

  • Fun/quirky messaging

Fun or quirky messaging on the pack not only adds to the visual appeal, but also speaks aloud with the observer. Hence, packaging that conveys a fun or quirky message gets a place of pride in the user’s prop list.

  • Interactive packaging

Today, most brands are using the help of technology to improve interactions. One of the most effective ways is by making a user play some games by asking them to scan the QR code printed on the pack. Once scanned, the user can play some interactive games backed by augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). This increases the brand connect further.

  • Gift-worthy

Gifting is an age-old tradition. But today, besides what is inside the pack, the pack itself has to have a lot of appeal. Such appeal-worthy packaging invariably makes its way to selfies for its coolness quotient and prop value.

  • For a cause

Some brands do a lot of things voluntarily for the society. People want to associate with such causes, if not in real life, but at least to spruce up their image on social media. Hence, in an act of solidarity, people buy these brands and show them off on social media. This helps the user to be seen in the company of right cause.

They say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. The same is true about packaging too. When your consumer is a generation that feeds on social media, your packaging needs to satisfy their needs. One of the important ways to achieve this is by creating Instagrammable packaging.

The author is Shashwat Das Director of  Almond Branding, his design agency is a member of afaqs! marketplace