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Packaging: More than a pretty on-shelf face.

Packaging - More than a pretty on shelf face

Packaging: More than a pretty on-shelf face.

Developing packaging starts with the size and shape of the actual package. The format adds a point of differentiation that is key to consumer pick-up and sales performance. Product packaging is a marketing art. It must speak to the product it houses, tout its benefits and engage the passerby with attractive graphics – enough to pick it up and persuade them to buy it!

It’s a tall order for even the biggest package. Yet, taking a walk down the aisle of a grocery retailer, mass merchandiser or pharmacy retailer, I find that a lot of packaging doesn’t make the cut. Too often I see packages that have “lazy” design. They don’t work hard enough to earn my interest or more importantly, gain my trust in the brand.

Here are 3 brand packaging requirements:

Packaging design is about more than just a pretty on-shelf face, it’s about originality. It requires a lot of design sense to organize all the necessary information on what is usually very little real estate. And no, it’s not about slapping on a stock image to tell a story. I believe in original photography or illustration. How can you show your brand is unique if the one image on its package can be seen in an ad or POP for another brand? It’s about layering design elements to make the package more unique and appealing. Understanding and treating the type to give it propriety, while allowing for design trademark only adds cache to the product. Equally important is the placement of information. It needs to lead the consumer to read the relevant content and assist them in making the right purchasing decision.

Package design must have Brand Charisma. Just like TV campaigns, print ads or any other brand communications, brand packaging must carry the brand character, personality and voice. It has to be all about the brand persona. It may very well be the first piece of communications that your target market sees of your brand; therefore, it must establish its brand style right away. Packages that slap on stock photography to tell the story or don’t pay enough attention to visual and written messaging miss a huge opportunity to stand apart.

Packaging must sell. Getting my attention is half the battle, now you need to talk to me… in the way that I wish to be spoken to. If the product is premium priced (targeting a more affluent consumer), the packaging must reflect that. There’s nothing worse than demanding an elevated retail price for a product while not supporting that emotively! Purchasing decisions, small or large, require cognitive reinforcement. Packaging must speak effectively to its intended consumer.
Ultimately packaging design shouldn’t be viewed as ‘cost of goods sold’. When you are designing your package, seek expert counsel. It’s a marketing initiative, so it’s not the place to start cutting costs. Packaging shouldn’t be viewed as a cost, it should be viewed as an investment.

What are some good examples of solid brand packaging design that you’ve seen? Please share them here.

Miriam Hara

Author: Miriam Hara

Miriam is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of 3H Communications Inc., a full service branding and advertising agency. Her experience has enabled her to bring together strategic business savvy with an all-encompassing creative vision to product and service marketing, which she shares here, in her many posts. Join the conversation, register here. Miriam’s own brand of marketing experience and expertise is the basis of her marketing ebook series including Content Creation Understood, the most recent addition. Download it here. You can also find Miriam on Google +.

Comments ( 2 )

  • Great article Miriam. Packaging is often the first point of contact consumer has with the brand, and an important element in your brand differentiation and communication strategy.That’s why companies such as Apple turned packaging into a form of art.

  • Miriam Hara

    Thanks Michael,I will go even go out there and say Apple’s packaging is its brand. It didn’t just carry the product, it was the brand. Not sure if I am expressing myself eloquently, but there is a distinct difference between the two.

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