New Sargento Packaging Elicits Brand Passion

Sargento’s recent packaging makeover, designed to make an emotional connection with its most loyal consumers, is the result of two-year research initiative to more deeply communicate brand identity. The research, dubbed the “brand identity project”, helped Sargento develop an overall brand direction for the 52-year-old cheese company.
“We talked to a lot of consumers and went into stores to find out what they were seeing and how they were feeling when they were at the shelf,” explains Brad Flatoff, senior vice president of marketing at Sargento. “What we found out was that there is an enormous amount of clutter at the shelf, and consumers were spending a lot of time hunting for individual flavors.”
This led marketers to establish a uniform burgundy color scheme for the brand’s packaging, chosen both to stand out at retail and to make it easier for consumers to shop the section. The new look represents a visual departure in the nearly $7.1 billion natural cheese category, in which marketers have typically used color cues to denote flavor (blue for cheddar; green for mozzarella) across the category. Sargento’s research found that, despite marketers’ best efforts, these color indicators did not carry meaning with consumers.
The new pouches also feature a larger window that helps showcase the all-natural cheese inside and a Hefty Slide-Rite reclosable slider. The Sargento tagline, “Our Family’s Passion is Cheese” is positioned on the package’s front panel to reinforce the Sargento family heritage, a factor also favored by consumers.
Because the undertaking is part of an overall rebranding effort for Sargento, new packaging is supported by advertising and promotions that have been realigned with the brand’s new look and feel.
“The goal was to create unity among all of our communication points, packaging being the most important, and present our brand in one unified approach. Packaging is the most important touchpoint because every single one of our consumers is touched by it,” says Flatoff. “Our advertising reaches about 60 percent of our consumers whereas our packaging touches 100 percent of our consumers. Plus it hits our heaviest users more often, because they buy us more often.”
New packages began shipping in November 2005 and Flatoff estimates the product is 80 percent converted, currently. He reports that initial consumer response has been very strong, with numerous unsolicited phone calls and e-mails praising the new look. BP
The author, Jennifer Acevedo, is the Editor-in-Chief of BRANDPACKAGING magazine.

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