Speaking at the EuroPack Summit in Lisbon, Reginaldo Tavares, European packaging development director, Danone said the brand is well known for children’s products and thanks to its themed milk bottles it has taken Dino, the mascot for Danonino, one step further launching a character every six months for youngsters to keep as collectables.
Further brand loyalty
“We had the original character but we wanted to see how we could create further brand loyalty amongst consumers,” he said.
“We created the milk bottle mascot as various singers for different countries so that children can start to buy them as collectables. Now we want to move ahead with this and after initial success with the brand we are taking it globally, launching in Asia then Russia next.
“We have also launched an Actimel kid’s range in the UK; Actkids with three characters representing a different flavor; Ac, Ti and Mel.
“We can create different characters for the same bottles without any major modification to the production lines. It’s about trying to get consumers in the early stages and holding onto them.”
Tavares joined Danone six months ago after 20 years in the packaging industry working for Unilever, PepsiCo and Arla Foods. His seminar at the summit spoke about ‘Mastering captivation: transforming the pack into a communication tool to reach new brand loyalty heights’ focusing on challenges for professionals in the industry.
He said people have an emotional connection to the packaging, for example, anything ‘metalisized’ in yogurt moves away from the dairy sector because its not the right fit for a pure milk product.
Also, a matt effect on packaging is linked to dryness, so it can’t link a matt paperboard to a product that has a creamy texture, like cheese.
“The challenge is how to get loyal consumers especially after the financial crisis. All yoghurt looks the same on the supermarket shelf, known as ‘white block’. Our job is to transform this into something different that will help consumers understand what they are buying, it tells them what Danone is, and why they should buy our product,” he added.
He said the company relies on the ‘Kiss’ method for its yogurt pots (‘Keep it simple and safe’) and successfully tested this theory on its Activia range in 2011.
“We colour coded the various brands, ie Activia is green, Danacol is orange, Veloute is red and Danone is blue, but we didn’t want to increase the complexities of the packaging itself,” he said.
“Many people didn’t know Activia was Danone, so we branded the cups with the Danone logo in a way that is visible for consumers. Now that we can do the branding on the cup we don’t need a wrap around any more.
“Now we are focusing on the consumer experience, Danone moments and cognitive needs. For example, we want consumers to open the lid on their yogurt or milk in one go with no mess, it’s a big leap to offer the consumer something they don’t expect,” said Tavares.
“Similar to tasting an ice cream we want to ensure the customer has a nice sensation while eating our product, to make them feel like they are treating themselves to something special, like a dessert.
“Now we are working hard on the packaging design to complement the product.
"This has to include ease of opening, taste sensation, aiming for the right package for the right moment.”
Tavares works in a team of 15 people in the packaging development division of Danone, based in Paris.
He said the team works on four guidelines; added value; sensorial; smart productivity; and five star quality.
“We won’t design a product if there is no clear consumer need for it; my team will work out what is important for consumers, any big innovation or changes within a household; a link to the colour or the quality of the product inside,” he added.
“Smart productivity means we eliminate unnecessary cost, we keep it simple with a holistic design.”