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For Black Star Pastry, packaging can transform the customer experience

For Black Star Pastry, packaging can transform the customer experience

Chloe Ogilvie |

Established in 2008 in Sydney, Australia, Black Star Pastry is the creator of the iconic Strawberry Watermelon Cake. Hailed by the New York Times as "the world's most Instagrammed cake," over one million slices a year are served from stores across Sydney and Melbourne.

To coincide with its sixth Australian store opening (located at Chadstone shopping precinct), and first international store in Shanghai, Black Star Pastry recently launched a full rebrand.

Below, Josh Ogilvie, General Manager Marketing for JKLP Group (Black Star Pastry's parent company), discusses the vision for the brand's new identity, the design process behind the launch and the importance of customer-facing collateral to tell a brand's story.
Star Packaging Solutions: After acquiring Black Star Pastry four years ago, you recently revealed a significant rebrand, from both a customer experience and design point-of-view. What inspired the new narrative?
Josh Ogilvie: Black Star Pastry has a unique cross-cultural appeal and to coincide with the brand’s international expansion, we wanted to reinterpret Black Star Pastry, in a way that would future proof it, but also retain brand loyalty. Black Star Pastry’s name is rock and roll inspired, but that doesn't represent the emotion or experience of enjoying cake. The rebrand presents a more innocent, joyful and normcore aesthetic, that broadens its appeal and better reflects the personality of the product.
SPS: Design is integral to story-telling. Who helped bring this new brand to life and how long was the process from conception to launch?
JO: We engaged Studio Ongarato, a multidisciplinary design studio in Melbourne who we had previously worked with on Jackalope Hotel and Rain Room. With offices in Hong Kong and Dubai they have a global reach and a cross-cultural ability to design with universal appeal in-mind. Illustrative and confident minimalism is the graphic and typographic design direction for the next decade, and that’s what Studio Ongarato were briefed to achieve with the new brand.
We also commissioned illustrations from Noritake, a world-renowned illustrator who brings the brand to life through a series of iconic characters and illustrations. Known for his style of simplicity, Noritake works mainly in monochrome, but distilled in the graphics are the raw emotions and fleeting moments that we often don’t stop to take in. The actions and faces of Noritake’s characters speak to feelings that are universal and express an ever-present childlike innocence – as cake does.
This rebrand has been three years in design and development.
SPS: What does packaging add to the Black Star Pastry customer journey? How does it help tell your brand's narrative? 
JO: Good packaging can transform the customer experience. ‘Unboxing’ is an online trend that’s becoming increasingly popular and when you’re unboxing the world’s most Instagrammed cake, it’s important that the packaging design and the moment of reveal find the balance of building suspense, creating a wow-factor reveal and still providing functionality. Quality also can’t be overlooked. A quality packaged product gives any product a more high-end feel, increasing its appeal to consumers. Good packaging has the ability to maximize customer buy-in through creating a positive experience even before the customer has experienced the product itself.
SPS: How does packaging tie into your overall marketing strategy?
JO: Product packaging is an essential marketing tool. When done right it is instantly recognisable (supporting brand awareness), it communicates product quality and perceived value and as mentioned above, it creates an unforgettable experience for the customer. The product itself, a strong digital presence, customer engagement and packaging all contribute heavily to brand identity. It can’t be underestimated how good packaging and branding help attract new customers and keep loyal customers engaged – both core functions of any brand’s marketing. Packaging is also important advertising real estate; we think of every Black Star Pastry bag being carried through Chadstone as a mini billboard promoting our product and the packaging design reflects that advertising opportunity.
SPS: What can customers expect to see from Black Star Pastry in the coming years?
JO: The launch of Black Star Pastry’s rebrand coincides with two significant store openings: Chadstone and our first flagship store in Shanghai. Domestically, our plan is to expand our presence in Melbourne and then turn our attention to Brisbane. We’ll be opening more design-centric stores, of which customers will get a first taste with our Chadstone opening. Internationally, we’ll look to expand through China and beyond. It’s conceivable that we could have 50 store openings in the next five years.