12 Nov It’s a Wrap! The impact of packaging as an element of branding
As much as we’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover, it’s fair to say that most of us skipped that memo. Kind of like how a ‘Do Not Walk On Grass’ sign basically means the opposite. Unfortunately, the sense of sight is considered the gateway sense, so bottom line is, appearance matters.
As 60-70% of buying decisions are made in the store, and impulse is the leading purchase push as opposed to brand loyalty, in the world of manufacturing, product packaging is super important. It influences product as well as brand perceptions (and often wins awards too, but more on that later), and ultimately influences consumer behaviour.
Good packaging protects your product. Great packaging protects your brand.
Packaging comes front and centre when it comes to buying decisions. The buying mix involves conscious and subconscious influences and since we’re all faced with thousands of product alternatives, first impressions matter. Primary packaging elements are:
- Typography (the text layout and fonts chosen)
- Brand name influence
- Structural design
- Print finishes
The combination of these is directly related to the perceived quality of the product, and affects whether it is noticed on the shelf.
Time for a makeover
When companies decide to refresh a brand, packaging is –or at least should be– ground zero. As much as the product itself must sell with quality, nutritional or other benefits, to the advertiser, its look and reception is of primary importance. So the key is to make it fresh. While Google has a lot of colour, shape and typography guides, don’t get caught up in the psychology of it. Your own market research is where the gold is. Think local customs, similar products in the segment, dissimilar products in the segment, what the consumers love and what will go down in the creative books.
‘But you’ve destroyed my childhood!’
Sure, there will always be those who don’t take well to a product’s new look, especially in an environment where nostalgia is currency, it’s very easy to lose fans, just because of a look. With all the social channels available too, and with the instant feedback, you should expect criticism. This is where the integrity of the actual product is important. Quality assurance must come through strong, so that any doubt is removed. Then the innovative nature of the packaging will do the rest, tapping into the hearts, minds (and pockets) of consumers.