The COVID-19 crisis has necessitated changes in behavior in all of us. These behavioral changes, which include staying at home, social distancing and wearing a mask while grocery shopping, are necessary but life-altering.
This will hopefully become a thing of the past at some point. However, these precautions have altered the way we think now and will think in the future.
For savvy foodservice and convenience store brands, this change in thinking represents a big opportunity to better connect with and engage their customers. The mechanism for capitalizing on this big opportunity is something we are calling Innovative Pandemic Packaging (IPP).
What Is IPP?
IPP is innovative packaging designed specifically for the current pandemic environment that is empathetic, comforting, convenient and helpful. IPP combines branding, copy, graphics and a packaging structure that delivers a safe, reassuring and memorable customer experience, which will generate increased customer loyalty.
Why Is IPP Needed?
IPP is a way for a brand to stay connected and generate positive brand awareness and equity with customers during the current pandemic. Delivery and contactless pickup continue to be the dominant service models. However, these services don’t provide a strong connection to the brand, which is critical in reinforcing and building customer confidence and engagement.
What Are the Benefits of IPP?
For convenience store customers, IPP can provide helpfulness, added convenience, empathy, and safety reassurance during today’s uncertain and trying times.
For convenience store operators, the benefits are immediate and ongoing. This kind of packaging engenders increased goodwill, brand equity and top-of-mind brand awareness now and in the post-pandemic environment. IPP is much more than a product “carrier” that is thrown out after the meal is consumed. It is a superior marketing tool for building the brand.
Where Do I Start?
IPP starts with truly understanding the annoyances, shortcomings and problems customers have with your current food and beverage packaging. These are the things they really want to change. As such, these become the strategic direction and driving force behind your IPP development program.
Lastly, it is important not to confuse innovation with unique. Unique is being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. Whereas innovation consists of a new idea, method or way of doing something, all of which are highly achievable. That being said, what are you waiting for?
Tom Cook is a principal at King-Casey, a restaurant and foodservice consultancy in Westport, Conn. King-Casey’s focus is on improving the restaurant and foodservice customer experience and offers a wide range of services for achieving this. Cook can be reached at [email protected].
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.