Personal Post – thinking inside & outside the BOX

coach hermes spoiled package tiffany-boxOn PRODUCTS & PACKAGING – namely BRANDING!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – how much value do we place on the packaging of a product?

How do you feel about skimping on product ingredients if the packaging looks exceptional?  Would you buy something that is deemed incredible except that the packaging is very plain?  Can we have both?  There should be a balance between the packaging and the quality of the product but many times there is not and the packaging alone sells the product – good or bad!

For instance, that tiny blue tiffany box with the white satin ribbon represents something special without even knowing what’s inside.  It could be just a keychain but the box alone is what makes it distinctive and meaningful.  Branding is when someone says she’s wearing “tiffany blue” and we immediately symbolize it with the company and know exactly what color in the spectrum of “blues” that person is wearing.

Take the incomparable orange Hermes box containing those luxurious silk scarves.  The branding is so familiar that we can say “I’m wearing an Hermes orange dress”, or “Kelly green” blouse (for one of their bags) to describe the exact color.

I recently bought a personal care product that a salesperson told me was “superior” to others but had she not told me that I would never have gravitated towards it – based on the skimpy (& basically cheap looking) packaging it came in.  The product itself was not “cheap” but I did wonder why the company didn’t make it more appealing.  Packaging can be expensive is most likely the reason why, but even so…put it this way – it’s not something I would display on my bathroom shelf which is reserved for only pretty looking bottles.  EXCEPTION: a lot of natural skin care products that I love & work amazingly do not come in  fancy packaging.

In general it seems that customers are tempted and pampered by sensual impressions.  It makes sense.  We acknowledge additional benefits and appeal to nice packaging and are even willing to pay an extra price for it. There is evidence confirming a central conviction held by the packaging industry: that the shopper appreciates and in fact explicitly wants to receive stimulation for the buying decision he is making when standing in front of even a supermarket shelf.  With so many products on display your eyes will definitely gravitate to the splashiest looking product first.  It doesn’t mean it’s the best so that’s where reading comes into play.

In the meantime if you’re interested: here are the TOP TEN requests about packaging:

1.      Eye-catching appearance: A distinctive, unmistakable and eye-catching appearance is a signal at the POS to which all consumers and particularly the younger ones respond positively. Whatever stands out clearly in the monotonous competitive environment, whatever is surprising scores points with the consumer. Special effort makes a special impression – and is allowed to cost more too.

2. Design, shape and colour: The purpose of well-considered design, creative printing and finishing is to entice the consumer to devote attention to the pack and its contents at the POS. Aesthetics and attractiveness are major distinctive features – and are in fact essential in some product segments: beautiful packaging design is of central importance in the cosmetics and confectionery product groups. Consumers like to buy agreeably designed and decorative products!

3. Functionality: Functional aspects are the basis for all successful packaging and for thus greater product success too. Product and aroma protection, hygiene and tightness, environmental responsibility and practical handling (in both use and storage) are just as important here as ideas that improve comfort: closure mechanisms, portioning, see-through windows, for example.

4. Innovation: Novelty has exceptionally strong appeal. An innovative pack can even make “new products” out of familiar ones. Unusual solutions, functional new developments and originality not only set design trends but also boost sales!

5.  Material: What is printed on board is read particularly willingly, while what is packaged in board sells particularly well. Sustainability, easy disposal and, above all, great design variety and potential are particular features of the material. Popular with consumers, particularly high appeal and many other advantages too.

6. Efficient communication: The packaging is the credible medium at the point of sale and is consulted willingly and intensively (see “Material”). This makes it an efficient means of communication and, in addition, one that gets closer to the consumer than all others. If several of his senses are appealed to as well, he can be persuaded particularly successfully.

7. Multisensory appeal:  Anyone who approaches consumers via several of his senses attracts greater attention, intensifies perception and stimulates interest in buying. Packaging that can be felt, smelled and heard as well as looked at wins the customer’s favour. So much so that he is willing to pay a higher price for this multisensory appeal.

8. Appropriateness for the product: Packaging is considered to be an important indicator of quality. The quality of the product therefore has to be communicated by good packaging and not just by promises of quality made in the text on the packaging. A credible “overall work of art” is created as a result, in which the contents and the packaging are coherent and the consumer is convinced by their consistency.

9. Value: Packaging is an excellent way to communicate sophistication, class and value. This makes it an ideal strategic option for expressing premium positioning – as well as being the instrument of choice when a product needs to be upgraded or a brand needs to be revitalised. Products in classy packaging are particularly popular presents too.

10. Additional benefits: Successful packaging not only combines what is pleasant with what is functionally useful but also provides additional benefits. For example, as a gift or for presentation, with entertaining components or simply by *making it possible to continue using the packaging for something else after the product has been consumed.

*AHA – I’m definitely accountable for using what I deem as exceptional packaging for something other than what it was originally intended for.  I’m not one to throw away a lovely box.  For instance I use a “Fauchon” chocolate box from Paris and a cigar box from Cuba to store jewellery and vintage hat boxes to store various accessories.  Or am I just a package rat?

Do you do the same?


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