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Krusteaz bakes up mouth-watering design

Baking mix brand brings authenticity to its new packaging design, creating emotional drivers that conjure up delicious taste, and the warmth and smell of an oven baking.

Redesigned packaging for Krusteaz pancake mixes
Redesigned packaging for Krusteaz pancake mixes

Krusteaz has made it easier to shop the bake-mix aisle for its products by introducing a new package design that stands apart and inspires more people to use its pancake and bake mixes. The largest brand within family-owned business Continental Mills, Inc., Krusteaz partnered with creative agency Tether to articulate the new brand platform reflective of current trends, relevant to a wider audience, and—ultimately—to strengthen its challenger-brand status.

Compelling shoppers to choose one bake-mix brand over another is no easy feat. Decisions are often tied to memories of what brand mom used, promotional pricing, or flavor variety. And, in an industry dominated by food conglomerates, such as Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, Aunt Jemima, and others, there are few differentiators more influential than the trust that comes from legacy-brand familiarity. In a category where product differentiators are hard for consumers to identify, the challenge becomes even more difficult.

Recognizing that social platforms such as Pinterest and Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos and television shows like The Great British Bakeoff and Masterchef are ushering in a return to baking as a fun and fulfilling pastime, Krusteaz initiated a rebrand to make its promise—its ability to increase human connection, creative expression, and feelings of childhood nostalgia—clearer to consumers.

“Tether was an integral part of the team that not only helped us understand how to leverage this strategy to appeal to consumers, but also how to bring it to life on pack,” explains Continental Mills Director of Marketing Melissa Washko.

Strategically positioning Krusteaz to resonate with the needs of current and new users meant closing the gap between the baking experience and the product packaging.

“When shopping the grocery aisle, a consumer typically has three seconds to understand what a brand is trying to communicate. This message is usually conveyed through just three or four visual elements,” explains Tether’s Executive Creative Director Steve Barrett.

This makes it tough for other bake-mix brands—even those with a long-standing history—to gain mind share, Tether notes. Understanding current research trends, the team recognized that the target audience is looking for authenticity in how a brand portrays itself. Celebrating this provided Krusteaz an opportunity to further differentiate itself from competitors. Tether encouraged the brand to bring its emotional value to store shelves—thereby increasing a consumer’s feeling of connection, while improving brand awareness, recall, and trial.

“This shopper’s experience is driven by how a product looks, feels, and tastes—so we needed to appeal to both the conscious mind as well as the unconscious, creating emotional drivers that elicit delicious taste, the warmth and smell of an oven baking, along with the feelings of love and pride when serving homemade goods,” continues Barrett. “Our hope was to use imagery that invoked the senses, leaving consumers in a more positive emotional state.”

Introducing a new look that uses mouth-watering photography to evoke the warm feelings associated with eating baked goods is the first in a series of consumer touchpoints to propel the brand forward. Shelf-talkers will also accompany the new product release. Tether believes this shift should improve Krusteaz’ brand recognition and secure a place for its products—whether it’s Krusteaz pancakes, waffles, muffins, cornbread, cinnamon rolls, or cookies—in every American pantry.

“Unveiling this new packaging is the first step in bringing our brand strategy to life,” says Washko. “We will further communicate Krusteaz brand equity, using this design system to make the brand mark more easily recognizable across all touchpoints to help convey our point of difference to consumers.”

After 18 months of planning, consumer insights research, and strategic packaging design, the end result is a 70+ SKU packaging refresh that reflects Krusteaz new brand positioning.

Before going to market, Krusteaz sought to validate the success of this new design. They engaged in multiple research methods, including traditional and non-traditional neuroscience research.

Tether and the Krusteaz team relied on consumer insights and science to confirm that the new packaging was conjuring up the positive responses expected from both their loyal followers and potential switchers. The resulting data was actionable; it confirmed that the new design was on strategy. The baking experience comes to life on the new Krusteaz shelf set; the design articulates emotional value in a category of almost indistinguishable competitors and satisfies the consumer’s need for a delicious, authentic, and inviting experience worth savoring.

Consumers can expect to see the new packaging in major grocery stores nationwide throughout fall 2016.

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