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Amber Bonney explains why big companies should think like entrepreneurs and throw more 'reality' into their brands.

Bonney is the head of creative strategy at Melbourne's The Edison Agency, and helps a range of brands connect with consumers across all touch points.

Talking about the project which saw Edison work with alcohol brand Asahi to launch Untold Rum, she said authenticity was vital in connecting with today's younger consumer.

Speaking at New Frontiers in Packaging Print, the Print 21+PKN L!VE event in Sydney last week, Bonney explained how Edison worked on the rum's brand strategy and positioning, naming, and collaborated with the artist that designed the striking cans. 

She says brands should not be afraid to invest in new technology, and take risks if it means ättracting the loyalty and buy-in of millennials.

“More big-name companies – as well as small – need to be brave and take risks,” she says.

“You need to think like an entrepreneur if you’re big, and not be too slow to move on an idea or shape a new vision.”

Brands need to see packaging as “a critical canvas” in which they can defy the status quo and find new ways to challenge and surprise people.

The excitement, she says, should extend to marketing and social media, with companies finding new ways to speak the language of their target audience.

“The duality of what a piece of packaging can be is changing the landscape,” Bonney says.

“Packaging is about selling and entertaining, and connecting with people on a level that’s more real, even if – or especially if – you're a big brand.

Sustainability and ethics is also vitally important, she says, especially to younger generations.

“People are wanting a sense of honesty and transparency from their packaging, and brands can use packaging as a mini-billboard to talk to them,” Bonney says.

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”We can use packaging and technology to transform perceptions of a brand, or introduce a new brand. We can use it to agitate or disrupt the category, captivate consumers, and influence conversions by telling ä story.”

Bonney referenced trends towards vulnerability in packaging, influenced by such researchers as Brene Brown.

She also said people were interested in “the greater good”of the packaging”, with brands such as Thankyou and Who Gives a Crap tapping into this social consciousness.

"We can use our creativity to solve genuine consumer problems, and many brands are doing just that,” she says.

You can watch the highlights video of the Print 21+PKN L!VE event here.