“Latin Americans turn lack of resources into opportunity.”
Lilian Robayo, editor of El Empaque + Conversión, spoke with Hernán Braberman, Executive Design Director of tridimage, one of the leading firms in the Latin American region focused on 3D branding.
Hernán was selected as one of the finalists for the British Council’s International Design Entrepreneur of the Year in the UK. This international recognition was created to highlight creative entrepreneurs working in design.
Tridimage packaging projects have won six Pentawards, or the “Oscar Packaging Design Awards”. Braberman will be speaker at the Cumbre Latinoamericana de Innovación en Envases Plásticos 2018, theat will be held in Mexico City from April 18th to 19th.
Lilián Robayo: How to turn packaging into a powerful tool for innovation?
Hernán Braberman: Packaging allows us to build an emotional bridge between brand and consumer, create new consumer opportunities and ultimately boost sales. It is no longer sufficient for the packaging to contain the product. Consumers are demanding that packaging does much more: it must seduce, inform, create an experience and even save the planet.
The best proof of the value that innovation, through packaging design, adds to brands are the concrete facts: increased sales, differentiation with the competition, clear communication of attributes, history and promise of the brand, experience of ergonomic use, reduction of costs, saving of materials and impact at the point of sale.
The success of the brands that have bet on innovation proofs that differentiation is profitable and that no market is paralyzed.
If designing is thinking before doing, innovation is making tangible a better future for everyone. That is where its significance lies. The future is now and, in order to transform the world, ideas must become reality.
You are one of the most outstanding designers in Latin America in the field of packaging. What qualities or factors have been decisive for your success and that of your team?
Brands must harness the power of packaging design to excite, surprise, delight, entertain and even challenge consumers. At tridimage, we understood from the outset that the synergy between structural and graphic design, which we call 3D Branding, creates a multi-dimensional experience that impacts the consumer’s five senses.
The range of resources available to packaging designers is very wide: shape, colors, images, typographies, materials, sounds, gestures and even augmented reality. Appropriating most of the available resources boosts the story-telling capacity of packaging and creates lasting ties with consumers. 3D Branding merges the three-dimensional attributes and packaging graphics to the point of making them inseparable.
When our team of strategists, graphic and structural designers work in synchrony, aligned with the brand’s values, we succeed in innovating, positively changing the consumer experience, making everyday iconic.
How much is being innovated today in packaging in Latin America?
Unfortunately, not as much as I’d like yet. Still, companies in Latin America have a tendency to look to North America or Europe in search of replicating what has already worked in these markets. In this way we miss the opportunity to add value to our local consumers, creating innovations that respond to their specific needs.
I hope that soon, more and more companies will realize that to add value to their brands constantly must bet on innovation, which is nothing more than the ability to evolve, surprise, go one step ahead, and lead. Fortunately, brands like Natura in Brazil have encouraged themselves to build a world with their own rules and not follow others, demonstrating that innovation is an attitude, not an end.
What do Latin American packaging professionals need to innovate much more and keep up with the most developed and avant-garde countries in the field of packaging design, such as Japan, for example?
HB: I think it’s more of a limitation for our companies than it is for our professionals. The problem is not that Latin American companies are not prepared to innovate; the problem is that they are prepared not to innovate. Risk aversion, rejection of uncertainty and lack of clear planning are the main detractors of packaging innovation in Latin America.
However, we have a great opportunity in Latin America. We are highly recursive; we make the minimum resource the maximum. The lack of material means puts us to work with other essential tools. We turn the lack of resources into opportunity. We force and push the boundaries, driving innovation.
I firmly believe that if we manage to harness improvisation, flexibility, creativity and intuition within our organisations, we can take the lead in the field of packaging innovation.
What are the greatest challenges to innovate faced by packaging design and development professionals?
Professionals specializing in packaging design often confront companies that do not see innovation as a culture, and instead activate the innovation process only when a problem or opportunity arises. That is why we have to become preachers, instilling the culture of innovation in our organizations.
Our ten commandments would be: 1. Embrace uncertainty; 2. Mess with the ideas; 3. Focus on consumers; 4. Question the status quo; 5. Imagine without prejudice; 6. Launch to learn; 7. Take risks; 8. Turn problems into opportunities; 9. Never be afraid of being different; 10. Adapt constantly.
You mentioned how brand owners are disoriented today, struggling to figure out how to respond adequately to changing market demands. What would you advise them?
Innovation is a necessity in a world where everything is evolving: from where purchases are made to how consumers engage with brands.
The designer’s primary function is to solve problems: look, observe, detect, discover, investigate, imagine, delimit that possibility or need and solve it. To innovate is to think of different ways of telling something, of showing something, of teaching something; of building a different reality.
The same rule applies to both beverages and food, personal and home care products: for innovation to have a real impact, the key is to align a deep understanding of the consumer’s desires and needs with the technical-productive capabilities of the organization, to achieve technically viable and commercially disruptive innovations.
What do you think is the right approach to innovation for packaging and brand professionals?
Innovation is something tremendously demanding, it requires investment, constancy, a culture that rewards and encourages mistakes, agility, curiosity, determination and, above all, immediacy.
The approach is to integrate consumer behavior, strategy, 3D branding and design research into a single team, mixing different insights and insights throughout all phases of the creation and development process.
What expectations do you have about your participation as a speaker at the second Latin American Summit on Innovation in Plastic Packaging 2018?
I am excited about the possibility of interacting and sharing experiences with the most renowned international experts in packaging innovation.
In addition, I find it inspiring to be able to dialogue with brand owners, converters, suppliers of raw materials, equipment and machinery and design agencies. Together we have the mission of imagining and building a bright future for packaging innovation in Latin America.