Packaging is not supposed to be an obstacle to people buying the products.
Anyone who’s purchased anything from Apple in the last decade knows how beautiful an experience unboxing their products is. Not only is this an exciting process but there’s an aura of intrigue that makes the product something greater.
Packaging is an integral marketing strategy to glamorize a product in order to attract the consumer’s attention. Many consumers will judge a product by its packaging before buying it, so creating compelling and alluring stationary will build first time buyers intrigue.
Packaging is literally the product identity. Another all time classic case of is the Coca Cola bottle. On it, Coke displays an instantly recognizable logo and distinctive shape, which propelled the product to global fame. In many cases, as with coke, the packaging is so important that it costs more than the product itself. As a result, packaging should be included amongst the four P’s of marketing: product, place, promotion and price.
According to Marty Neumeier in his book The Brand Gap, “A retail package is the last and best chance to make a sale.” Given that not all brands are products and not all products go retail, the truth is that product and package design are vital when it comes to brand image. Consider that more than half of purchases are based on emotions, especially when a client is unsure and must choose between two brands of products. It’s no surprise that companies that master the art of aesthetics are on the top of their game- Apple, Bang & Olufsen, Nike, IKEA, Nokia, or Cassina- design is what defines them and gives them their competitive edge.
What exactly happens when we find ourselves in front of an aisle with tens of hundreds of products just staring back at us? We start to compare, remember and associate. Bear in mind that the brain is prone to classifying everything around us- it’s the only way we can organize everything we see, hear, feel or know. Filling that slot or opening in that mental category is crucial, it’s what we marketers refer to in our jargon as the ‘Top of Mind’. Whether we associate the product with its ad, with a friend who we know that uses it, or with the packaging color and layout, those elements mean in our mind- elegant, simple, tacky, appropriate- product design involves form and function and for many, implies the beginning of the brand experience with the client. In some cases, it triggers the basis for customer loyalty. Even shopping bags speak to our clients and influence brand perception.
The following summary touches upon the most key points to consider when having an agency brand your company’s packaging:
The purpose of product packaging is to protect the product from damage. Product packaging not only protects the product during transit from the manufacturer to the retailer, but it also prevents damage while the product sits on retail shelves. Most products have some form of packaging. For example, soups must have a container and package while apples may have packaging for transport but not to sell the product from the produce department of the local grocery store.
How a product is packaged may be what attracts the consumer to take a look on the product as is sits on store shelves. For this reason, many companies conduct extensive research on color schemes, designs and types of product packaging that is the most appealing to its intended consumer.
Packaging also plays an important role for portraying information about the product. Outside packaging may contain directions on how to use the product or make the product.
Packaging may also contain ingredients and nutritional information about the product. This information can help to sell the product because it allows potential customers to obtain the necessary information they need to make a purchase decision. Information contained on a package may propel the reader to buy the product without ever having to speak to a store clerk.
Packaging can also differentiate one brand of product from another brand. Because the product packaging can contain company names, logos and the color scheme of the company, it helps consumers to identify the product as it sits among the competition’s products on store shelves. For example, as a shopper walks through the coffee aisle of the local grocery store, the bright orange, pink and white packaging of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee brand may be easily recognizable for the consumer to grab on his way by the coffee shelf. The shopper may identify with the company brand, which propels them to buy the product. If the product packaging changes, it may alter the brand perception of the company, which doesn’t mean that the consumer would not still purchase the product, but it may delay the purchase until the person is able to identify the product according to its new packaging.