Packaging spend by top brands to take centrestage at Masterclass - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

A survey of more than a hundred top superbrands indicates that most of them plan to boost their investment in packaging over the next two years. The inaugural Masterclass session at St Regis on 29 November looks at the market complexities and how there can be a greater impact of outreach.

25 Nov 2018 | By Noel D'Cunha

On Day One of Labelexpo India, which concludes today, Twining’s senior brand manager Kanchan Bhargava presented an interesting packaging case-study to the Labelexpo audience.

One brand embedded a seed of Tulsi plant in its packaging and encouraged the users to plant the packaging after using the product and water it regularly. Furthermore, it created a web portal for users to upload their selfie picture with the plant. What an excellent idea. Not only did the brand prevented the packages from ending up in the landfill or burn in the incineration chambers but also created a customer engagement campaign around the initiative to generate brand value.

Be it a beverage giant like Coca-Cola with the well-known Share-A-Coke campaign or a pharma company like Piramal Healthcare with the recent mass customised Polycrol shrink-sleeved bottles or a confectionery major like Mondelez with Cadbury Gifting eCommerce portal and personalised gifting – more and more brands are leveraging the untapped potential of packaging in realising the marketing objectives and drive consumer engagement.

When Marico was launching a new hair product that delayed greying from the roots, it tasked DY Works to design the packaging. The product is not a dye but one that acts from the roots and its continued use reverses greying.

Alpana Parida, managing director, DY Works was excited with the project simply because the packaging had to work hard to establish the new category, the new product promise, its natural and non-chemical antecedents and its believability as a scientific product. “It was just the kind of strategic packaging project that we truly love working on,” says Parida.

The name True Roots signified the change from the roots, not simply a colour. The messaging "Delays greying from roots", "Botanical Hair Tonic" and "Clinically proven" adds to the promise - but more importantly, the botanical drawing of the chamomile flower adds to the science of the promise.

Rajan Luthra of DY Works, explains, “Creating an impactful design goes beyond graphics. Structurally, a spray bottle is used instead of a flap open bottle. While the chrome plated nozzle top of the spray furthers the scientific working of the product, the pearlised substrate adds to the premium quotient of the brand. We do believe that this is a stand out product and packaging in the Marico Hair Care portfolio.”

Interestingly, Marico launched the True Roots exclusively on Flipkart as a digital-first brand. This is an excellent example of how marketing strategies need to work closely and in sync with the design and packaging formats right from the ideation stage.

Parida says, “Unfortunately, so few marketers see packaging as a strategic initiative... one that garners trials and wins market share.”

Undoubtedly there’s a knowledge gap. The branding-marketing-packaging value chain is complex and extensive and the stakeholders with varied expertise in their own specialisation are oblivious to the second person’s discipline. This many a times results in missing the bigger picture and hence missing the larger objective.

Packaging formats and designs must be focused on meaningful features but in a simple and cost-effective manner. Instead of downsizing with the sole purpose to maintain margins, brands must think in terms of ‘right-sizing’ without impacting the consumers' trust.

Speaking on the sidelines of Kyoorius Design Yatra earlier this year, while discussing design and packaging, one design expert told me that, not only the consumers buying behaviour but the pattern of consumption is equally important to understand through proper scientific research. "Take, for example, the fridge-fit packaging that some companies have successfully implemented. It properly proportions with ergonomic detailing, which in turn props up the consumer to stack up more. It’s just perfect for a large-sized household consumption."

With such packaging initiatives, the brands are not only selling more but creating less packaging, which boosts revenue as well as reduces wastage.

The skills of packaging converters, the imagination of packaging designers, and the brand ambition of marketers when aligned together can weave magic for a brand.

And that’s what WhatPackaging? Masterclass aims to do.

As the technical editor of WhatPackaging? magazine, Rushikesh Aravkar, says, "The India packaging sector is growing at a rate of 14%-15% and likely to double in the next few years. Packaging is a coordinated system of preparing goods for safe, cost-effective, and efficient movement throughout the supply chain. The flip-side of the growth is that it demands more material and poses a problem of waste management. We hope to discuss these issues."

  • The sessions and panel discussions will discuss how India occupies an important place in a complex packaging space. This is one of the main reasons for strategic engagement to be able to tackle the challenges of today.
  • Upgrade (and intensify) the dialogue between brands, converters, suppliers and manufacturers, as well as designers and creators; so that the various stakeholders in the industry can join forces.
  • Strengthen technical cooperation and exchange expertise; plus create working arrangements to foster cooperation between the industry and Indian law enforcement institutions.
  • Identify common actions at policy and operational levels to enhance packaging. Work with other key national and regional players to help build capacity.


WhatPackaging? Masterclass
29 November 2018 | St Regis, Lower Parel, Mumbai


01:00 pm Registration and lunch

01:50 pm Welcome Address

02:00 pm Keynote Address by Sadashiv Nayak, CEO, Big Bazaar

02:20 pm Design Talk by Aplana Parida, managing director, DY Works

02:40 pm Panel Discussion: Share A Coke - 10000 shades of personalisation

03:25 pm Food Packaging and Safety by Jatin Takkar, Siegwerk

03:45 pm Panel Discussion: The Carton Opportunity

04:35 pm Role of branding and packaging in the digital age by Arjita Kulshreshtha, associate director, Bizongo Design

04:50 pm Vote of Thanks

The participation to WhatPackaging? Masterclass is by invitation only and restricted to a closed door audience of brand managers, packaging development experts, packaging designers, and creative agencies. For more information write to