The packaging is one of the most important aspects of marketing a brand. Some companies have realized the importance of packaging. They consider the same to be a part of their marketing mix: the 5th P after Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement. Promotion or advertisement goes hand in hand.
The packaging is like the book’s cover about which you heard from a friend (word of mouth advertisement). If you like the cover, you will buy the book and then possibly read it. But if you don’t like the book’s cover, you will probably never buy the book and maybe will also stop taking your friend’s advice on books. Thus advertising and packaging complement each other. In the following sections, we will explore why packaging helps advertisement.
1. Packaging communicates product features and benefits
Advertisements can create awareness or remind consumers about a brand. But at the point of purchase, be it online or at the physical retail, the moment of truth for the consumer comes when he sees the product’s packaging. Either this moment can lead him to correlate with his preconceived ideas about the brand through the packaging or completely dissociate from that.
That’s why at the retail outlet, the pack of Cheetos tends to catch your eyes ahead of any store brand. Advertising (and your prior purchase) has created identifiers that matched with packaging, and immediately chances of you buying Cheetos goes up.
Moreover, advertising is more like a precise new feature, improvement in the product, or a price advantage. The packaging carries the full article. You can understand what DHA, a health drink, claimed to be its winning formula once you read the description given in the packaging (and most probably the packaging had DHA in bold letters and huge font size).
2. Packaging creates brand identity
If someone asks you what do you remember about Coca Cola, most probably, you would answer the Red color of the cap, the way Coca Cola is written on the bottle, and the contour design of Coca Cola glass bottle. Coca Cola bottle design has become one of the most identifiable designs in the world. It’s like identifying Paris through the Eiffel Tower, Moscow with Kremlin, or the Statue of Liberty with New York.
Packaging can create a brand identity and carry it through. Thus with just a Swoosh on the shoe-box, the consumers understand it’s from Nike, or no one would be convinced if you give someone an I-Phone in a Red Box. The cues carried by the packaging over time become part of the inseparable brand identity. No one can forget the Packaging of Kinder Joy … isn’t it?
3. The packaging bears both category points of parity and points of difference
The design of a can of a deo is something people are accustomed to. Thus once they see the packaging, they immediately set some expectations about the brand. The advertisement has conditioned us to expect detergent powders to come in certain packaging styles, floor cleaners in certain packaging, and packaging of ketchup.
Any deviation from that may alienate a brand from its category. And if not spent huge sums on an advertisement, people may not identify any day about those brands. Often that strategy is not economic, and thus, certain category standards are always followed (points of parity).
But remaining in the framework, the brands face the constant challenge of creating their unique identity (point of difference). Packaging can play a significant role in that. The blue color of the surfing pack always distinguishes it from the orange color of Tide. The design of the Mountain Dew bottle distinguishes it from 7Up.
4. Packaging ensures visibility at the shelf space
Packaging can carry and re-establish the communication that the brand has propagated about itself. If a brand claims to be eco-friendly, it should have biodegradable packaging. If a brand claims it is 20% extra at the same price, the packaging must look bigger than its previous size and competition also … otherwise, the purpose of the advertisement gets lost. If one’s packaging is such that people cannot read the brand name from far, the brand loses its chance to be sold.
Also, a packaging design with a higher front space ensures the logo size to be bigger so that people can easily see the same. Kellogg’s is a classic example of this. No one can miss the Kellogg’s logo on big Red Fonts on an oversized box.
5. Packaging helps in targeting the consumer
Packaging can carry cues for its target consumers. The youth can be targeted with bright or electric colors. Girls’ can be targeted with soft colors like pink. People who look for safety can be targeted with white. There can be other advertising cues given through packaging design. The packaging for children should entice them to play with the product. The products meant for old age people should have easy packaging so that they can easily unpack them.
People want to be happy and better their lives through the consumption of different brands … thus brands almost always avoid gloomy, depressing colors in their packaging. Readability and aesthetics can also become a determining factor for the brand. A perfume bottle is expected to be classy and out of the box. The color, texture, material, and dimension can all communicate its features to its target consumer through its packaging.
Thus it is seen that packaging plays a very important role in consumer behavior towards a brand or category. They always look for cues that will satisfy preconceived ideas, look for identifiers of familiarity to lower the risk.
Packaging plays a very important role in communicating the details of the brand. It links the brand benefits with advertised communication. Most importantly, it helps in standing out in the retail space to get identified by the consumer. Nowadays, companies invest time, energy, and money in developing the ideal packaging designs for their brands. Packaging professionals are working closely with brand teams to build great brands of the future.