artwork-approval

Packaging – unarguably the best media for a consumer brand

In Artwork-approval-software by Jose Thomas

About the Author

Jose Thomas

Principal Consultant (Digital Products & Services). Jose is passionate about brands, marketing communications and tracks the latest trends in advertising. He successfully led business analysis for many software implementation projects for leading brand owners. He was also part of software product development of Xemarks, Xeproof and Xegency and implemented them with multiple clients. His experience as a business analyst and software lifecycle helps to identify challenge and gaps in operations and to suggest solutions. An avid reader of business news and technology trends.

Packaging is evolving faster than ever as an important toolkit for brand managers to ramp up the demand, to drive consumer affinity and to drive sales. Many consumer brands are seeing this medium to communicate with their customers, to drive home the key brand messages, to chart the benefits and key differentiators. To achieve this one to one communication in any other media, they have to spend millions of rupees and still can’t be sure of it’s reach.

Packaging remains as the most potent tool in the kitty of brand owners to engage their consumer base and prospects. Gone are the days, packaging was an outer shell to protect the product and to differentiate between products on the shelf. While it evolved as a new medium, came the challenges to make the best out of it. And to roll out new packaging in virtually no time against the long New product development cycle of the past.

The increasing number of product SKUs, new variants, flavours and packaging types, promo offers makes it tough for brand team to release artworks with the perfection and uniformity it demands. Company policies and stricter regulatory frameworks makes it all the more difficult to balance between the branding and regulatory declarations.

First of all brand manager shall keep track of all contents that goes into packaging, based on various factors – product, SKU, variant, packaging type, flavours, market, product properties etc. The declarations, product spec, nutritional value tables, expiry and storage details, manufacturing locations, license declarations, bar codes, all of it can vary basis many factors.

Brand managers can’t no more rely on the agencies and printers to get it all right at the first instance, as they need to deal with too many changes without knowing the ground realities. Also, the supply chain constraints, the need to roll out products at speed across markets lead to produce packaging with multiple production partners.

With the increasing corporate responsibilities and thrust on brand purpose, activists and social media is watching with a set of predatory eyes to celebrate even slightest of errors or deviations.

Every company will have very well laid out rules for the approval of new packaging or change in packaging. It’s all the more important that the top leadership of various functional teams approve the artworks after proper due diligence. Any lapses in this process can make things worse at different stages of packaging production to roll out in the market, it can even affect the consumer trust in the marketplace. Slightest mistakes lead to product recall and delayed launches, costly affairs in today’s marketplace where cut- throat competition is the norm. Out of shelf clearly means out of mind and winning back the consumer from another brand seems challenging now.

Brand managers are equipping themselves better by using various tools to help them manage the packaging. These tools like Artwork approval management system helps them to have the repository of all artworks at one place. They can run through the history of approvals, easier to pull out an approved artwork for a specific SKU or for a flavor precisely for a plant. Entire approval iterations are recorded clearly with comments from various departments. For certain segments like Food, beverages, alco beverages, pharma the mandatory declarations are most important aspect on the packaging. To keep up all latest versions of these declarations, they need to have proper data matrix which is available in few clicks.

The artwork approval management tools also help to adhere to the processes defined as part of the SOP, as deviations from these are costly. These systems can ensure that the same is followed in letter and spirit. The tool helps to remind those miss out on timely review and act as a reminder mechanism to complete approval on time. The daily summary of tasks, escalation of pending tasks from team members, the ability to know the current stage of an artwork review are other benefits offered by these tools.

The tool also makes the agency and creative partners responsible for timely delivery or for increasing number iterations/ lapses. The ability to annotate or input the changes precisely on the artwork reduces the effort to communicate them to the agency partners. This alone could help in reducing the number of versions of an artwork. The easier collaboration between various departments, working from office locations or markets is another key advantage of this solution.

In today’s market which demand frequent product launches, or for company’s adopting ‘launch fast and fail fast’ mode to move ahead in winning new opportunities, compressing the time to market become critical. Efficiency of packaging development can be one of the most important cogs in this wheel. To make it future proof and fail proof, an efficient artwork approval management system could be the best answer.

Xeproof is such a solution that can be deployed quickly on premise or on cloud. It could be a tool that can be managed easily with lesser learning curve. The annotation tool has features like version compare and spell check etc to make it all the more relevant for the purpose of finding lapses and errors. It can run multiple workflows helping to have various rules for different needs of packaging. For more details, Visit www.ivldsp.com/products/xeproof/