How to Master Your Product Packaging

product packaging
product packaging

Packaging keeps a product safe when it’s in transit between a manufacturer and a consumer. Companies can also use it to divide components of a product and make it easier to purchase something in individual quantities.

Of course, there’s more to packaging than just utility. It’s also an important marketing factor that can play a key role in how consumers view your brand.

Why Is Good Product Packaging Important?

Packaging is one of the first things a customer sees. In many cases, it is the first interaction that they have with your brand. This makes it a key component that influences the perception of your brand.

If you take your packaging seriously, you can turn it into a positive marketing influence. For instance, you can use your packaging to tell the story of your brand. Luxury laundry detergent brand Laundry Sauce created its packaging design in concert with its own brand in order to weave the two together. Its pods come in packaging that is sleek, features hot-stamped logos, and sends a message of luxury — which is central to the brand’s origin story.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, quality visuals of packaging can do more than just tell a brand story. They can also send subtle messages. A good example of this is the feeling that accompanies the sight of Oakland California’s Blue Bottle coffee brand. Whenever a consumer sees the company’s simple blue bottle logo and packaging on a bag of coffee beans, they can expect to receive remarkably consistent quality coffee beans.

A good package can also draw customers in. LEGO’s mystery boxes are a great iteration of this marketing tactic in action. They feature a clean, minimalistic exterior that centers on a certain brand, such as Star Wars, and leaves the rest up to the imagination.

Finally, good packaging can be a physical, real-world manifestation of your company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives. By using recyclable materials (and indicating that fact on the packaging itself) a brand can immediately show consumers that they operate in a sustainable manner.

Tips to Master Product Packaging

It can take as little as seven seconds for customers to form a first impression of your brand. So, you want your product packaging to not just represent. You want it to immediately stand out. Here are a few tips to help you do so.

Stay as consistent as possible.

Your product packaging may provide an opportunity to be creative. However, it’s important to avoid overapplying that creative energy. Don’t change your packaging too often, as it can become a crucial part of your branding. You want consumers to familiarize themselves with your products when they see them.

Don’t overcomplicate things.

Simplicity is powerful. It can speak to a larger audience and can send a message quickly. When it comes to packaging, less is always more. Identify the key elements that you need to include (things like a logo, title, and certain brand colors). Then present them in as clean and understandable a manner as possible.

Focus on key features.

Most products address specific needs. A bag of rice is an affordable way to eat. An action figure is fun and may become a collectible. You should already be well aware of the features that are key selling points as you develop each product. Make sure to continue to use this information to focus on the right things on your packaging.

Communicate with intrigue.

It’s important to send a message with your product packaging. You can tell your brand story, show you’re sustainable, and focus on key features. However, make sure you don’t say everything. Combine communication with a simplicity that maintains a sense of intrigue. Draw a consumer in by sympathizing with a pain point, and then invite them to make a purchase as a way to address that issue.

Don’t chase trends.

Now, to be clear, you can set trends with your packaging. However, if you try to chase a short-term trend, it can quickly leave your brand looking out of style when consumer interests change. Add to that the time it takes to sell through existing inventory and get a product onto the shelf and reacting to trends is never a good idea.

Think through the eyes of the customer.

You don’t need to be the one that notices your packaging. You want your customers to do that. From buyer personas to focus groups, always keep your target audience in mind as you make decisions throughout the packaging process.

There are many factors that go into quality packaging. If you can keep these in mind, they can help your products pop on the shelf, e-commerce sales page, or wherever else consumers interact with them.

Utilizing Product Packaging in Your Marketing Strategy

Packaging is needed, whether you use it as part of your marketing strategy or not. Even so, the added value that good packaging can offer in helping to promote a brand can be invaluable.

Take advantage of this natural form of marketing in every way possible. That way, when customers see your products, they’re drawn into an unspoken yet predictably positive experience every single time.

Mikel Fields

Mikel is the Managing Partner of Castello Branco Fields that consults brands strategy for small businesses and growing brands that are making an impact in their local market. Mikel's clients typically already have a proven concept and an established brand but need help with finding and executing a brand strategy that increases local and regional brand awareness to better scale their businesses model.

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