In Response…..

At the Biondo Group we submit quite a few RFP responses to active and prospective clients.

Proposals can be mind numbing to write, we’ve all been there. After a few hours hammering away, writing and rereading the same document, it gets tough to stay sharp and focused. Thinking through the many steps and phases of a project can get fatiguing.

One of the reasons why so many proposals read like boilerplate cut and paste jobs is that for the most part, they are. Writing a proposal is considered anything but creative, in fact they are seen as the adult version of homework. As such no one wants to dig in – and when proposals do get done, it is usually last minute – and reluctantly. This rarely benefits any of the parties involved.

Proposals at design firms are usually written by: an Agency Principal, a New Business liaison, Account Supervisor or Account Executive.

Agency principals tend to be bigger picture oriented people, busy working on a raft of things at once and so, generally don’t have the time and attention to focus on crafting a detailed project plan or proposal.

Account folk or Project Managers wind up boiler plating as much as is possible.These folks generally have to get their work approved and so using boilerplate makes the job that much easier. Not only is boiler plating considered “safe”, it’s a commonly acknowledged practice for getting it done. For the most part these people are busy with other work, so a Proposal is looked at as an odious task.

But at the Biondo Group a proposal presents a wonderful opportunity. The New Business team treats new client opportunities as precious nuggets to be handled with great care. As such, they put their all into crafting a plan that makes the most sense to both client and internal team

Because the Biondo New Business team is staffed with skilled listeners, who can write and deeply understand process, they find themselves helping the Account team with Organic growth, leading the preparation of detailed proposals.

Listening in proposal writing terms is not simply a nice to have skill, it’s a necessity when crafting a solid, actionable plan that a prospective client can say “yes” to.

So know when The Biondo Group is invited to respond to a RFP, we’ve dedicated our best, most experienced, expert listeners to manage the response. You will never get boilerplate thinking (or prose) from us – from the initial contact, to the detailed proposal we will prepare for you – we treat each opportunity importantly – and preciously.

Packaging Graphics Redesign: Spectrum Organic Olive Oil Spray

Spectrum_OrganicOliveOils.2

Spectrum® offers a premium line of natural and organic culinary oils, vinegars, condiments and supplements made with high quality ingredients sourced from all over the world.  The Biondo Group has worked extensively within the Spectrum Brand portfolio.

Challenges:

  • The brand wanted to improve its design architecture, unifying the categories
  • At POS, differentiating SKU’s within the line on shelf was difficult
  • The various oils needed to compete better within each of the individual oil categories:
    • Olive Oils (where we would be emphasizing premium)
    • Cooking Oils (where the job was one of presenting variety and differentiation)
    • Graphically communicate superior quality, premium value, variety, natural/organic ingredients

Considerations:

  • View change incrementally, so existing customers would not feel a disconnect, but would encourage new customers to consider the brand
  • Balance and reinforce the brands proposition of premium, natural/organic oils for all the consumers’ needs
  • Differentiate and tier the oils and vinegars for their individual categories:L basic Oils & Vinegars vs the more premium specialty Olive Oils and Vinegars

Objectives:

  • Contemporize the overall look and feel of the packaging graphics
  • Communicate a superior quality
  • Deliver visual consistency across the segments of the Oil line
  • Develop a visual language to communicate benefits

Our Solution featured:

  • Simplified and focused front panel design architecture
  • “Ingredient as hero” photography
  • Strong quality appearance and feel
  • Impactful, more legible typography
  • Implementation of a new, simpler Brand Identity

Spectrum Naturals:   http://www.spectrumorganics.com/

When is Packaging Design considered successful?

If product packaging doesn’t create relationships well then, what does it do, past identifying a product as being a specific type/style/flavor/form of a product from a specific brand or manufacturer?

For consumer product packaging graphics to be considered successful, they among other things must:
1 – Differentiate a product from peers on shelf
2 – Appear in alignment with the brands persona
3 – Clearly differentiate both line segments and varieties of complex product lines
4 – Graphically support the brands color palate and persona
5 – Convey positioning
6 – Communicate attributes: usage, qualities,size, benefit, flavor and characteristics
7 – Call out features, benefits or changes
8 – Embrace simplicity
9 – Feature a communication hierarchy
10 – Call attention to itself on shelf
11 – Create an emotional connection

Clearly product packaging is an important marketing component that needs to be thought of in a manner that is both strategic and emotional, and that is part of the inherent challenge of packaging design. Less experienced packaging designers tend in many instances to favor the emotional influences, due to their not having as much comfort with the strategic side of things.

While art certainly has its place, it is not on shelf in a supermarket.

Incorporating strategic insights into packaging design is assuredly the work of experienced designers who’ve been involved in strategically guided projects multiple times and have the mental muscle to work past appearance.

Knowing this to be true, The Biondo Group has rarely had “junior designers” on staff. All of our staff designers are senior, very experienced and as such are committed to incorporating strategic insights into their design work.

Incorporating strategic insights into our clients packaging design work is what distinguishes the Biondo’s effective, hard-working, on target design work from a firm that is simply producing designed “packaging art”.

The Biondo Group’s clients have to hit the target out of the gate, there is no room for a miss, and so in this regard,  Experience Matters.

Can product packaging create relationships?

A debate has been brewing at the Biondo Group. The idea we’ve been churning is the notion that a package’s design can create a relationship with the consumer.

We read of designers stating that their work “creates relationships with consumers” and we stand back and wonder – does it really? Does packaging design create relationships? In that brief moment when the consumer is at the shelf in a supermarket environment – does a packages design connect in a manner that allows a relationship to be created?Read More

Packaging Design: It’s what the Biondo Group does.

One of the first things we are asked at Biondo when we meet someone new is “what do we do”, what’s our specialty? Our answer is that The Biondo Group specializes in consumer product packaging design and brand identity development.

For most people that’s enough of an answer to give them a cocktail party sense of the services we provide. The packaging design part is relatively easy to understand (graphics and containers/ structures that appear in a Supermarket), the brand identity aspect, less so. If a raised eyebrow appears when the term Brand Identity is mentioned, we have to go a little farther.

Wikipedia explains Brand Identity thusly:

“The outward expression of a brand – including its name, trademark, communications, and visual appearance – is brand identity. 

Because the brand owner assembles the identity, it reflects how the owner wants the consumer to perceive the brand – and by extension the branded company, organization, product or service. This is in contrast to the brand image, which is a customer’s mental picture of a brand.”

In these instances, we love Wikipedia.

But there are ancillary services and activities that are in our (the packaging designers) wheelhouse. These services include: merchandising and promotional display design, dispenser design, the design of retail environments, development of container structures and product or brand naming – some are Industrial Design related, others more “traditional” creative.

Because (back in the day before Solidworks) many packaging design firms were staffed with dedicated Industrial Designers. These three dimensionally talented folks were tasked with designing container forms and shapes, and naturally got to participate in the development of other POS marketing programs when a fresh look, or innovation was required. Biondo Group has always offered structural design as a service and we’ve noticed an uptick in the frequency of this type of project.

On occasion, we are asked to participate in Naming development, another area of specialty on the periphery of packaging design and brand identity. Although there are hyper-specialists that provide only that capability – insuring the name candidates can work in the digital as well as supermarket/category realms , we are asked to lend a different perspective tempered by years in the Supermarket, staring at and studying shelf sets.. “On package” nomenclature is another area where our experience is often applied.

So, back to the question at hand – what do we do?

The Biondo Group works with brand marketers to make sure their products look as good as they can at point-of-sale (the last few feet of the marketing journey) and serve to positively differentiate their offerings.

In summary, our job is to get the product off the shelf, in hand and finally in the shopping cart.