How do you make old categories new again?
WILLIAM FOX MUNROE INVENTS A DESIGN LANGUAGE THAT COMMUNICATES AUTHENTICITY
Creating emotional desire for pasta is a whole different exercise than doing the same for a smart phone. While digital products appeal to the consumer who needs to be up on the hottest technology, pasta’s appeal is more about home-style authenticity. This is especially true for millennials who have made craft-style products some of the biggest sellers.
There is some history behind this. Pasta became such a knee jerk purchase that the category turned into a commodity. To counter this trend, brands began buying each other up and consolidating. But that still left little reason for consumers to change their patterns.
This is just the kind of challenge that William Fox Munroe (WFM) loves. We recently sat down with Design Director Matt Kennedy to get his insights — not just on pasta, but on how to create design language and architecture that speaks to today’s more discerning millennial consumer.
INSPIRATION IS FOR AMATEURS
Matt Kennedy and his WFM colleagues are multifaceted in their ability to manage all the disciplines required to take a product to market. “Clients come to us,” says Matt, “to help them bring ideas to life and then test them out with consumers. What we know is that inspiration is not a bolt out of the blue. Today, to succeed on shelf or online, you have a very small window to achieve very high expectations. So, you need a disciplined process.
“We follow the rules of design thinking. This methodology has 5 stages: empathize with the consumer mindset, define the problem, ideate, prototype and test. To speed this process along, the best thing you can do as a design partner is to integrate into your client’s ecosystem. Working in silos just gets in the way. Ours is an iterative process from idea to innovation.”
CREATING NEW DESIGN ARCHITECTURE FOR A FAMILY OF PASTA BRANDS
Pasta offers a unique challenge. A legacy company can own a lot of individual brands, each of which markets to a particular region. So how do you create a global architecture that allows each brand its own personality? Matt says, “Our client Riviana Foods Inc. was looking for a way to differentiate their pastas on shelf and compete with more artisan products.”
“We partnered with Riviana to design an architecture that any pasta product within their network of brands can use. We created a story around a pasta with two simple ingredients, in order to connect with a younger demographic. We worked with our client’s in-house design group to build out SKUs and launch a differentiated product offering for a family of three brands led by Ronzoni®. The system is flexible enough for each to express elements of their own personality while maintaining the authentic, home-style vibe we created. So, millennials and older, affluent shoppers are still keeping Mom’s tradition, but with an updated look and feel. Best of all, we’ve been picked up in the majority of big grocery channels.”
ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL
Matt adds, “There is a disciplined way of thinking and a development cycle we use to validate concepts and ensure success. By working with legacy brands like Hershey, Zippo and Ronzoni we can apply that learning to smaller brands such as Side Delights, MagniLife and others. We understand the process that drives big brands and values the speed and flexibility of the challenger. The experience is mutually beneficial.”
ABOUT WILLIAM FOX MUNROE
WFM has been developing brand identity and consumer packaging for over 45 years. The agency helps clients stay abreast of evolving trends, elevating brand experience to the highest levels.
Excerpt from “Thought Leadership Series” published in BXP magazine March 2019