Yes We Can! The Canned Revolution…What we have been doing this week at Brand Genetics…

From new ingredients (like spelt and oats), to ‘free from’ options (like gluten free, vegan and low/no alcohol varieties), to innovative flavours (like mango and stone fruit IPAs) and brewing processes (like ‘milkshake’ beers made with lactose and CBD infused ‘cannabeers’), to new usage occasions and benefits (like ‘wellness’ beers)– there is no shortage of product and brand innovations in the Beer and Wine sphere.

Following this year’s Craft Beer Rising exhibition, as well as the International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show, there is one trend in particular we want to bring to the fore, the rise and revolution of the Can format! A common packaging format that’s often taken for granted, the can in 2019 is being revamped and repackaged (pardon the pun). In this week’s HX blog we explore three key can growth opportunity spaces gaining traction:

1) New formats

a. What is it? Innovations of the can itself — e.g. 360 pull tops (so the experience feels more like that of drinking from a cup/glass, allowing for greater aroma experience), resealable cans (to eliminate one of the biggest ‘pains’ of cans, and save for later use) and new shapes like a mini aluminium bottle for wine.

b. Why it matters? Innovations such as this help reduce or eliminate many of the biggest barriers to cans (especially for non-beer options like wine) and make something quite standard / commoditised feel new and exciting.

2) Accessibility & democratisation

a. What it is? Putting things that once were, or still are, thought to be inappropriate for cans (e.g. wine, premium cider, spirits) into cans.

b. Why it matters? Especially for liquids that carry premium, ‘sophisticated’ associations and ingrained rituals around usage / consumption (e.g. wine), putting them into a can helps make them feel more casual, accessible and inviting — opening up new occasions and audiences.

3) Storytelling 2.0

a. What is it? Leveraging every aspect of the can — from the materials to the colours to the language (verbal and visual) to the finishes — to communicate something about both your product and your brand. This means going beyond the ‘loud,’ colourful branding craft beer has come to be known for, and experimenting with new elements, especially borrowing cues from other categories like food, fashion, music and spirits.

b. Why it matters? With a never-ending supply of new category entrants, ever dwindling attention spans, and ever-increasing desire for transparency — simplicity and clarity of communication has never been more important. Nor has the need for hyper visual appeal been higher. By using new materials and formats, brands are able not just to tell a story, but to tell the right story (and looking good ‘on the gram’ never hurts).

The BG Learning

Packaging is not only a vessel for containing / delivering your product, but also an essential asset that can unlock new opportunities for growth — whether appealing to new audiences, breaking into new occasions, creating new habits or revolutionising communications.

2019 is shaping up to be the year of the can, and we encourage consumers and brands alike to take full advantage. Yes We Can!

Liz Thompson is a lead consultant at Brand Genetics, an insight and innovation agency specialising in human-centred insight and innovation. She is an insight-led, human-centric strategist who uses her interest and passion for understanding consumer behaviour to spot new business & innovation opportunities.

Human-Centered Insight, Innovation and Trends from Brand Genetics

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