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There has been much debate among retailers, manufacturers and within PLBuyer as to who the new consumer is and what moves them to buy products. According to Marco Beghin, president of New York-based Moleskine America, Inc., a manufacturer of private label notebooks and other travel items, the new consumer is naturally nomadic and, despite a connection to technology, is not dependant upon it.
On the other end of the spectrum was noted product designer Karim Rashid, who took the stage shortly after Beghin in the first half of the day. Rashid made a strong case for a seamless society fully integrated with technology.
What does this mean for private label? It means that companies now have a variety of options available to speak to the consumer in both product design and promotion. If Beghin is right and less truly is more, then products should be designed not only smaller but with more of a focus on biodegradability. During his presentation Beghin showed the audience five items: a pen, a journal, a phone, his wallet and glasses. These items are all the contemporary nomad needs to get through life, he explained, everything else is secondary. A simplistic brand identity, with minimal packaging and artwork speaks to the new consumer, he explained.
While both speakers shared a minimalistic approach to packaging design, Rashid took the concept many steps further by completely embracing technology. Designers should not focus on the past, he explained, but rather should look at what drives the consumers of today to achieve true brand identity. The use of technology in today’s society is undeniable, he says. Rather than stick with the archetypes of brands from the past manufacturers and designers should not be afraid to push the boundaries of packaging and brand identity.
To learn more about the new consumer make sure to read the May, 2011 issue of PLBuyer.