Donna Berry

Want to defy the aging process? Get a makeover! Honestly, this is much easier for people than it is for packaging. However, to stay competitive in the overcrowded supermarket, a makeover, or in packaging terms, a redesign, might be just what your brand needs.

Redesigning a package should only take place if a company recognizes the value of the package as a marketing tool. This includes a commitment to continuous innovation and package updates. Sort of like the philosophy behind a Web site: if you don't keep it current, don't bother at all.

The new design for Frigo cheeses includes a revitalized logo that jumps out at the consumer.
The process of designing a new package is a cross-functional team approach, involving manufacturing and marketing functions within a company. Though it takes a considerable amount of time and money to redesign a package, with no guarantee of a return on investment, there are many companies that made the commitment, and in the end, the newly designed package built brand awareness, improved shelf presence and ultimately, increased sales.

For example, Saputo, a leading dairy processor in Canada and one of the leading cheese producers in North America and Argentina, recently redesigned its Frigo line of Italian cheeses. The new design has a more contemporary look then the previous design and includes a revitalized logo in an energetic, brush Italic lettering style.

"The challenge was to bring freshness and excitement to the Frigo franchise, and pump up interest in the Italian cheese segment," says Martha Gelber, v.p., Smith Design, a Glen Ridge, N.J.- and San Jose, Calif.-based brand design agency that created Frigo's new look. "As a brand with a strong heritage, it was important to maintain Frigo's Italian color equities, while at the same time making it youthful, fresh and relevant to today's consumers."

Shamrock’s new creamer labels include contemporary graphics that dress up the bottles.
Janet McCullough, marketing manager at Saputo, adds, "We've created a brand look that speaks to fast, fresh and convenient meal solutions. And the refreshed identity is a better fit to our premium quality product line." Saputo is right on target with the reasons for redesigning Frigo-branded products. And most likely, time will show that the investment paid off. Processors no longer can afford to view packaging as merely an expense. "A successful package design communicates a message that's relevant to the consumer you're trying to reach," says Gelber. And if "premium" and "quality" are that message, then the package design must convey those attributes. Changes in graphics generate new consumer enthusiasm. However, it is important to understand what current consumers think of the brand, and how important it is to them. Drastic changes can be dangerous. The Dairy Group for Dallas-based Dean Foods did its homework and found out that the Dean brand is powerful, and therefore, they better show it off more.

Dean Foods is currently in the middle of a year-long rollout that commenced on March 28, 2004. What the company is introducing is its "New Look," which is the name of the campaign. This marks the first major overhaul of the Dean's packaging and logo since the company and the brand were purchased by the former Suiza Foods in December 2001. The new logo is simply the Dean's name in a blue Italic font, with a white, gold and blue stripe under it framing the words "Since 1925."

"The Dean name in the Midwest has always had a lot of equity," says Pat McColgan, v.p. of sales and marketing. "After the merger went through we thought we would find out what people really think about the Dean's brand, so we held some focus groups and so forth. People told us that it symbolizes quality and that it's just a great product and it's a name they trust.

"Before this redesign, the Dean name was being underutilized on packages," McColgan says. "I looked at our package and said to myself 'if the Dean name means that much we sure are not very proud of it,' because we just had that really small Dean's on the package. So I said 'let's put that name out there.' That's why we came up with the big Dean's logo with the swoop."

Land O’Lakes cottage cheese packages downplay the famous Indian and now feature photos of real product.
The redesign project impacted 15 refrigerated dairy product plants, with more than 300 SKUs involved. Ice cream has not yet been brought into the makeover, but it might in near future. New truck graphics are also in the works. The roll out required about six months of planning.

Dean Foods is proud of its new look and is letting the American consumer know. The year-long rollout includes a million-dollar promotion budget for print advertising in major daily newspapers throughout the regions, radio and coupons, as well as in-store, enter-to-win opportunities, with a grand prize of a $50,000 "New Look" kitchen remodel. After all reality makeovers are hot right now on TV, so why not in the dairy case?

Have your products looked in the mirror lately?