Getting it Right First Time

Brand owners often underestimate the power of effective design, assuming that a freelance designer can offer better value for money than a specialist agency with a strategic approach and a wealth of combined skills. This just isn’t the case, especially when launching a challenger brand. The proposition, communication, brand tone, packaging structure and design all need to be considered and scrutinised and the overall proposition must be compelling, authentic and exactly what the market’s looking for.

Who’s the target market and what drives them? What are the brand values? How’s the product to be packaged? Is a strap-line needed? What are the key communication points? Is photography necessary?  These are just a few of the questions that must be addressed along with and following research, before the design process begins. If these are missed in a bid to save on cost, what is the design to achieve?

Wandering through Waitrose the other day I came across ‘Scratch’ meal kits, which have been completely redesigned 3 times in as many years. Scratch is a brand I’m aware of having had a meeting with them a couple of years ago, while they were trying to break the market with their first design.

They’re a nice bunch of people, so I wish them every success. I just wonder if they might have got further by investing in a suitable design solution way back.

The brand’s many reincarnations are worth review:

1) The Launch of Scratch.

They had a great idea and the makings of a strong challenger brand. The identity and packaging were appealing in a natural, straight talking way. There was however a feeling that influence had been borrowed from ‘Eat’ and it was clear that there wasn’t enough ownable brand equity. The communication of the brand name is great and combined with the product descriptors suggests the products main USP well. It’s good to see raw ingredients, but is important to understand how this will look when prepared. There isn’t much emphasis on how easy it is to cook, or that Michelle Roux Senior prepared the recipes. The product and overall design is also a little basic for a dinner proposition prepared by him.

2) The Difficult Second Album

Bold colour and icons added, so communication is clearer there, but the clever use of the brand name has been dropped. What’s the story behind the picket sign which dominates front of pack?.. The clash of deep black against orange shouts an unnecessary warning, suggesting the ingredients maybe aren’t so fresh. More artificial looking than natural and tasty. Another generic brand identity seems an unnecessary change.

3) The Missing Months

Obviously these types of convenience products are aimed largely at guys, but unless research showed they all fight in the UFC or work in the forces, this design will alienate a lot of potential purchasers. A styalised tattoo doodle doesn’t sum up fresh but fast or Michelle Roux Senior and his amazing game changing career, but it’s good to see some photography on pack.

4) The Own Label Look

The current design on the shelf in Waitrose. It’s interesting to see the original identity making a comeback, but if it sells well does it have enough brand equity to prevent being copied by more dominating brands or retailers?


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