The way a product is packaged says a lot about the company, the brand, and the product itself; products are no longer packaged only to provide protection and for convenient storage, but also to entice the consumer and create brand recognition. Customers recognise and understand quality packaging when they see it, and it can spell the difference between the making or the breaking of a product launch.
Not that designing great packaging needs to be all that difficult – on the contrary, the process can be very exciting and rewarding, provided you keep some important rules in mind. Aside from practical purposes such as storage and transportation, the design should be in line with your overall marketing strategy. Do looks and size matter when it comes to packaging? Here are the top facts you should know.
Packaging influences behaviour
Though many consumers (and even economists) consider the buyer of a product ‘a rational’ person, experience and research has shown that the average customer is more an emotional creature than a ‘rational’ one – meaning that emotions play a large role in the consumer’s decision-making process. Great packaging appeals to the emotions of the customer – it’s like an advertisement. Design is incredibly important when it comes to colours, fonts, images, and information.
Because packaging can greatly influence the way the consumer perceives the product, it’s important to understand how the consumer thinks, and what he or she looks for. Here are some important tips when it comes to attracting customers and creating a loyal base:
- Durable containers. Some consumers appreciate the fact that the original container can be used for other purposes (for example, a jar of jam can be used to store spices in later on).
- Instant information. Customers want to know what the product is all about when checking out the packaging. Provide plenty of information.
- Going green. Sustainable living and nature-friendly packaging is becoming ‘in’, and more and more people appreciate packaging that can be recycled.
- Standing out. A great new design that stands out is always appreciated. You have to stand out. However – don’t overdo it, you may look strange.
Size matters for three very good reasons. First of all, the more compact your packaging is, the lower your costs tend to be – in terms of producing the packaging as well as transporting it. Secondly, it makes the product easier to store and use. Thirdly (and also very important) is that consumers appreciate the ‘right size’ – research has shown that a lot of ‘empty space’ (when the packaging is too large for the contents) is perceived as a deceitful act and consumers feel cheated.
You may want to have a trial run before you launch your product (in its current packaging) on the general market. Have a test; see how your packaging appeals to a limited audience first.
Just like in other aspects of business (and life), there are various trends in the marketing (and packaging) world, and staying on top of these trends gives your company and brand a great advantage. Consumer needs are constantly changing, and whilst research regarding target demographics may be time-consuming and may involve costs, its importance should never be underestimated. Knowing what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’ allows your company to adjust and grow at a very fast pace. Design may largely be an art, but when it comes to packaging, there’s a whole science behind it – take it from the experts!