How a packaging rebrand impacts consumer behavior

Every time I go to the grocery store, I’m laser-focused on my main go-to products. I already know where they are located within the store. I grab my item and quickly move on to the next on my list. This makes my grocery shopping fast and uncomplicated: In and out and we’re done.

But every once in a while, I’m stopped in my tracks, because one of my favorite items has been discontinued or rebranded. If discontinued, I’m usually in disbelief and in a mourning state for at least a month! On the other hand, a rebranding gives me mixed feelings. As a designer, it’s super interesting to analyze how a company has chosen to position their product and why. But as a consumer, my feelings are more instant and emotional.

Packaging rebrands have a big influence on consumer perceptions and behaviors.

When done right, the new packaging leads to increased desirability and purchase intent. When done poorly, the opposite is the case. I’ve had both experiences with two of my go-to products and want to share what factors contributed to their success and failure.

Evoking perception shifts

A packaging rebrand has the power to transform how consumers perceive a product. By carefully crafting visual elements, typography, and imagery, brands can position their offerings in a new light. That’s exactly what happened with this cashew nuts packaging:

In the previous packaging design, the look was more generic and inexpensive. I felt indifferent when buying the product. With the rebranding, the packaging was reinvented to appear more sophisticated and healthy. In this case, the rebrand had a positive effect on me and shifted my perception. When I buy this product now, I feel instantly better, because I think I’m being healthy. This again, makes me buy the product more often.

The power of familiarity and coherence

Another thing done right here, is the updated look that still resonates with the old look. The branding wasn’t completely changed to something new, but to something still familiar, yet more sophisticated. An effective packaging rebrand strikes a delicate balance between familiarity and evolution. While a complete overhaul can alienate loyal customers, retaining elements of the old packaging creates a sense of continuity. Consumers appreciate the visual cues that evoke a sense of brand recognition and reliability. At the same time, introducing fresh design elements and modern aesthetics infuse the packaging with renewed energy, capturing the attention of both existing and potential customers.

Unmet consumer expectations

Rebrandings go wrong, when they fail to align with consumer expectations. This was my experience when I wanted to reach for my go-to “healthy” toast and instead was greeted with this “American” one.

This product went from a wholesome and healthy image to a packaging design that conveys the opposite. This contradictory messaging and design confused and alienated me. Every time I buy this bread now, I always feel a little guilty and look for other alternatives instead.

Conclusion

A successful rebranding evokes positive emotions, influences purchasing decisions, and cultivates brand loyalty. By tapping into the evolving desires and aspirations of consumers, brands can evoke positive perception shifts. And achieving a harmonious balance between familiarity and innovation ensures a seamless transition that resonates with customers. On the other hand, a misaligned rebranding can lead to confusion and loss of trust.

About Me

Hi, I’m Simona, brand strategist and designer who helps ambitious business owners transform their business. I’m passionate about creating authentic identity designs which help you stand out from the crowd and are based on a solid strategy.

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