The importance of packaging is incredible. If your routine consists of buying the same products each shopping trip, it's likely that you do not bat an eye at all the other options you have. However, the packaging of your favourite products will have had an impact on your purchasing decisions before they became your favourite.
Each time you visit a supermarket or your favourite shop, you are subconsciously being swayed to purchase one product over another. Maybe your eyes pick up something bright and colourful or you relate to a product on an emotional level. These factors all work together to increase the chances that you buy that particular product.
As an example, imagine you have two identical sets of headphones. One is packaged in a grey box, the other is packaged in a colourful box depicting people enjoying the product. Based on human association with emotions and colours, you would likely choose the colourful packaging.
This association is what makes packaging a powerful marketing tool. Your product can be the greatest invention on the planet, but if you're selling it in an unappealing, uninteresting box, consumers won't be inclined to pick it up.
Many other elements affect the success of products: price, launch season, functionality and usability, target audience, marketing and so on. Does your product sell in stores? if not, that could be due to your packaging.
What does creative packaging achieve?
Good packaging can achieve a wide range of additional benefits. The most noticeable; you sell more. Conversions are always a key factor for any product, without them your business won't thrive and survive. However, packaging can do a lot more than just sell. On the same hand, bad packaging can have other negative effects than just sales.
The good and the bad
Sometimes, businesses forget that their packaging will have a direct effect on their brand. Take Coca-Cola for instance, their packaging along with iconic logos and colours have directly shaped their brand. If you were to strip one of their iconic glasses of branding, consumers are likely to know that it is Coca-Cola.
Strong packaging can shape the way consumers perceive your brand. Show imagery of teenagers using your product and people will begin to perceive your brand to target that group. Similarly, using bright, feminine colours might give the perception that your product is only for females.
Whilst packaging isn't always as black and white as the examples above, good, creative packaging helps to forge the perception you want into your consumers. Showing appropriate messages, font styles, colours and visual imagery can help you create the perception you want.
If you use packaging that you like without care or thought for your product and audience, your brand perception might take a turn for the worst. A good example of this was Tropicanas 2009 packaging redesign failure. Tropicana altered their main packaging and then ran new marketing surrounding this change. They underestimated their audience and what their imagery represented which subsequently forced them to revert their change [insert evidence]
Engaging packaging with relevance
No doubt, the biggest challenge with any design is ensuring that it is engaging for the target audience. Being able to grab the consumers attention and reel them in to take a closer look at the product is crucial for conversions. despite this, engaging packaging that is not relevant to the product does not serve its purpose.
Does having a bright rainbow design for men's aftershave make sense? Does packing your scissors in a tight plastic mould make sense?
Relevancy goes hand in hand with brand perception. If your packaging does not accurately represent the product and audience then it will not achieve its overarching goal. Business insider collated 15 cases where relevancy what not considered with the packaging. It's clear to see how these cases would have a negative impact on brand perception.
Engagement, Competition and Decision
Each stage of the sales funnel can be used to evaluate a specific factor comprising product packaging. Before a decision is made, the consumer must pass through the awareness stage and the competition stage.
In this case, the awareness stage can be gauged as engagement; how well did the packaging do to grab the attention of the consumer? As explained at the start of this post, unappealing packaging is less likely to attract consumers. With that in mind, consideration must be made to the appearance of the packaging, alongside the aforementioned relevancy.
When creating a piece of packaging, you also have to consider what your competition is doing. Competitor analysis is crucial in the research stages of creating a product, the same must be said about its packaging. understanding what your direct competition is doing, how they're marketing their product and their packaging will give you the edge to create something better.
Sennheiser is a partner we have worked closely with on multiple projects and one in which provides a great example of just how effective packaging and display can be.
Sennheiser is a well-known headphone brand that now sells through multiple retailers. However, before the brand became a well-known provider, they struggled to make sales inside stores.
Sennheiser struggled to sell any meaningful numbers in multiple different retailers. They then contacted us and employed our services to aid them in boosting awareness and sales. They tasked us to create an engaging Point Of Sale (POS) that they could use within an opportunity they had with HMV.
Design - We needed to create the unit from a simple concept. Once the client identified all the products they wished to sell, we had to create something that could hold all of these products and covey the correct message.
Approval and creation - Once the designs were completed, they needed to be signed off and approved by the client. After we obtained said approval, we began creating the floor stand display unit.
Stress Testing - Whenever we create stand display units, we run stages of stress testing. This is a crucial stage. We needed to ensure that the unit could support the combined weight of all the products
Build from Scratch - Once the unit passed the stress testing stage, we began building the units. This included making all the flat panels & attached all of the plastic product hooks to each.
Preparation - Once everything has been built we begin preparation for distribution. This included placing all the products on to each of the 20 units to ensure that once delivered, they were store ready.
Delivery - We then placed a hood over each unit for added protection and hand delivered the units into each of the 20 stores.
Sennheiser tried this pilot within 20 HMV stores and found huge success. Within 3 weeks, all the stock needed to be immediately re-ordered. Sennheiser began seeing more sales with their new POS.
On the back of the HMV success, Sennheiser was able to use this success as a test to gain another order with Tesco. All the same principles used for HMV's Images were used with Tesco.
What factors must be considered?
During our process, we consider multiple different factors and how these can be implemented within our current projects. Revisiting this method is crucial when working with multiple different industries and products. Nothing is universal. Tweaks need to be made for different target groups to ensure that the product succeeds as best it can.
It must stand out - Referring back to our previous section: engagement. The packaging must engage with the target audience. It must also stand out in a crowd. If you were to place this on a shelf with 20 other products, it must be unique and shine through.
Be simple - The old acronym KISS which stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid" emphasises that systems work best when kept simple. The same can be said about packaging. There is no need to overcomplicate something that doesn't need to be complicated. Adding additional folding tabs, intricate tack-ons etc all function to increasing costs for little to no return. We always find a way to keep the packaging simple whilst maintaining the high-value look.
Stickiness - Stickiness refers to how rememberable a product is. Converting an impulse buyer is great, but what if you could get them coming back to buy more? Design nuances and intricate details go a long way to making a product memorable. Back to our previous example: CocaCola. If you separate parts of their design, no doubt you'll recognise exactly who it is. This is what we aim to create.
Engage with an emotion - As human beings, emotions can have dramatic effects on our decision making. More often than not, impulse purchases are made when an emotional response is met. Packaging can engage with these emotions through its use of design. You can target happiness, empathy, excitement, joy, surprise, trust and so on. Understanding how we react to this materially and what response is received helps create packaging tailor-made to targeting these emotions.
Focus on the target market - Creating packaging with nobody in mind is creating packaging for no one. Without a focus, there is nothing to measure and no overarching goal to achieve. A lot of our pre-planning focuses on understanding our client's target audience. This then allows us to design something that resonates with them.
Travel and Distribution - Many businesses focus on how everything is going to look in the store, forgetting that it must be distributed and then transported to said store. Having the biggest and most engaging stand is great, but if you cannot transport more than a handful at a time, how efficient is that? We ensure to design for these less thought about processes.
Outsourcing your packaging can save you time, resources, space and at the same time, improve your product. Struggling with your current packaging or looking to outsource a future project? Get in touch with us on 01491 832222