Brand Packaging Trends for 2014: The Kids Are All Right

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template
Bill Goodwin
Bill Goodwin



packagingKids have the power to impact entire product categories, and packaging in particular plays a major role in the success or failure of brands today.

As an example, beverages have seen this impact and seized the opportunity. Gallon-sized jugs are optimal for distributing milk to the masses and meets the needs of most families, but they’ve fallen out of favor because kids can’t manage their ungainly size and weight – 64 ounce bottles of soda and juice once met this need as well.

Yet today’s consumer is presented with, and expects, every possible size and form, from bottles to cans to pouches and powder packs — portions of every possible scale to best suit them. In the juice category, boxes were once universal and were for kids of all ages, but they are now perceived to be for little kids. Pouches are now the preference of older kids, and the products age up as kids themselves do, with incrementally staged, larger portion sizes and tailored messaging.

At every age and developmental stage products must meet the basic functional needs and personal expressive desires of kids — and of those who care for them. Here are five kids packaging trends to watch for in 2014:

Packaging 2.0: The Age of Upgrades and Updates

In our age of rampant technological innovation, we have all come to expect what’s next. Social networks have accelerated our ability and desire to discover and share anything new. Today’s kids were born into this, have personal digital devices at earlier and earlier ages and have spent their entire lives anticipating the next version of nearly everything.

At the same time, packaging, and other technologies are gaining unprecedented momentum and efficiency. As a result, packaging refreshes, evolutions and revolutions will continue to be an essential part of the marketing mix. The convergence of technology and media will lead to more encompassing interactive experiences, such as augmented reality, and will play a major role. Kids have come to expect content on packages and on their devices. The final step to true integration is next.

By Us for Us: Design by Demand

With digital devices and social media, everyone has a voice and wants, even expects, to be heard. And, it is also easier and cheaper than ever to do. Leading brands are responding by seeking the opinions of their audience for a wide range of initiatives, including packaging design preferences. These preferences are often aesthetic or even superficial, but at best apply to brand packaging and include form and function. Kids have become used to, and are largely over, the “many-will-enter-few-will-win” promotional disclaimer. By rewarding kids who engage with the brand to improve their favorite products, everybody wins.

Sharing Versus For Me

We live in an era of sharing. Today’s kids and families share nearly everything. As part of this trend, today’s kids share things with their friends more than in the past. Yet everyone has come to expect products to be specifically tailored to him. Recognizing opportunities to meet these convergent needs is at the heart of future brand success. Doing so will require unprecedented insight, consumer understanding and empathy.

Sustainability and Responsibility

Kids care deeply about their world. They care about their families, friends and the planet. They know things need to change. Our most critical challenges require kids’ involvement to create large-scale, concrete changes. Time and optimism are on their side in such efforts. The brands that will matter most in the future will stand for products that are good for people and good for the planet. They’ll help make a healthy future possible. But if they aren’t appealing, alluring and exciting that future will never exist. If they aren’t fun, no one will want them.

It’s All About Having Fun

With so many things vying for kids’ attention and time, those that are the most fun will always win in the end. Packaging is no different. It has to speak to them personally. It must be engaging. The use of cute, smart and whimsical characters and designs for younger ages will continue to flourish, as it is “safe” and appeals to both kids and moms. As kids age up their expectations become much more difficult to meet. To appeal, packaging must give them what they want — when, where and how they want it. It must be fun on their terms, as they define it. Simply asking them to help is fun in itself.

Related Articles

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

    Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform