As Kurkure goes to market - nationwide - with its newly re-designed packs for 40 variants, including a recently launched ragi-based offering Kurkure Multigrain, we speak to the brand and design teams about the effort.
As ready-to-eat snack brands fight for shelf-space and try to make the consumer's roving 'retail eye' swerve in their direction, Kurkure, PepsiCo's flagship snack brand, has upped its chances by giving its packaging a makeover.
This point of sale-focused project was a collaboration between Pune-based design and strategy firm Elephant, PepsiCo India's marketing team and PepsiCo's global design team from New York led by designer Mauro Porcini.
Jagrut Kotecha, vice president, snacks category, PepsiCo India, tells afaqs!, "The final set of designs are the result of an intense 12-month-long exercise. We had the country's top packaging design agencies pitch for this project, and finally partnered with Elephant Design... the new packaging highlights the 'kitchen ingredients story', and distinctly sets apart one flavour from the other. The new packaging displays 'product format' on each pack, making it easier to distinctly understand the offering of each variant and distinguish it from other brands including local and me-too players."
According to team PepsiCo's research, a consumer generally takes less than seven seconds to make a purchase decision when buying a snack. When it comes to the pack, the first thing the consumer notices is the colour, followed by the shape, brand name and finally the key ingredients.
"The brief," Kotecha tells us, "was to get a design which catches attention at the cluttered point of sale and helps consumers navigate through the range quickly."
Because the Indian palate changes every 100 kilometres, Kotecha and team focused on creating region-specific flavours, for example, 'Punjabi Chatka' 'Chilli Chatka' and 'Green Chutney Rajasthani Style' for the North, and 'Hyderabadi Hungama' and ''Naughty Tomato' for the South. "Variants like 'Solid Masti' are favoured in the West; we have namkeen offerings like 'Murmura Mix' which are loved in the East. We've launched Kurkure 'Trangles' in two variants - Mango Pickle for the North and East and Lime Pickle for the South and West," he says.
A new flavour/variant takes anywhere between 12 and 18 months to roll-out, from conceptualisation to launch, we learn.
The brand team will promote the new packaging over the next few weeks across TV, print, digital, radio and outdoor media.
The task facing Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder, director, Elephant, was to give the brand a cohesive architecture and visual language. "The starting point," she shares, "was to find out everything about the brand, the products, the consumers, and also the competitive set. We wanted to know what makes this brand so popular, what consumers like or dislike about it, and their navigation pattern while selecting formats, flavours and pack sizes. Most of the times, path to selection is the key to decisions around brand architecture, tone of voice and communication hierarchy."
By way of preparation for this assignment, team Elephant studied the brand's previous communication, packaging, and consumer research pieces that were available with PepsiCo. "This helped us find more relevant and brand-aligned ideas as the next step," says Mayuri Nikumbh, design director - communication design, Elephant.
The colourful new packs almost scream out at you with large images of what's inside, be it the product itself or the ingredients that they are made with. She explains, "Product shot can be the biggest champion in creating desire and impulse value for a pack..." all in a bid to create greater shelf-impact and "pop value" at any retail outlet. "The new design draws attention to the shape of snack as that is what the consumer interacts with. So shapes like triangle or spiral or cups were brought to life (on the packs)," she says.
When working with a brand most consumers are already familiar with, the challenge is to make good on its existing "visual equity". Interestingly, many of the Kurkure flavours are known by the colour of the pack. "This is even more relevant for smaller SKUs that go across every corner of the country where people may not even read the messages (on the pack)," says Deshpande, "Similarly, the familiarity of the blue logo in its peculiar shape played up very high in every consumer conversation. So we decided to continue drawing on that equity."