Does demand for a brand improve when its products come in packaging designed to be attractive? It is a question that inspires marketing experts and specialists in packaging design around the world.
If consumers were always driven by logical research of product benefits alone, unique and attractive packaging design would not matter. In reality, however, consumers tend to be driven mostly by things other than product quality, especially in low-involvement purchases.
From colour schemes to novel design and ease of remembering, products get picked up off shelves for reasons that have very little to do with product quality. While businesses do need to work hard to ensure high standards, they also need to focus on brand perception. Custom packaging design is one of the most important ways in which this aim is achieved.
Custom packaging design can make for a personal connection
A recent research study done at Cornell focused on the way consumers connected to cereal brands when the characters on the packaging were drawn in a way to appear to make eye contact with them. When both character design and shelf positioning align correctly, consumers are found to feel dramatically greater amounts of trust in the brand.
Deploying research in pursuit of brand building becomes far easier with custom packaging.
Promoting a brand’s colour scheme for improved brand extension
Black has been proven to communicate dependability; orange reminds people of fun; purple goes with royalty and green makes people think of hope. Brand logos are more than just pretty icons. They are designed to use the colour schemes that they do to tap into specific kinds of human psychology. Custom packaging that works with a colour scheme used by a brand logo is able to extend the message of that logo and promote brand awareness through it.
Materials that go into packaging can help the brand’s cause
Discarded packaging makes up a third of the inflow at landfill sites. The use of minimalist, biodegradable packaging combined with effective marketing promotions can make for a great branding message that highlights environmental responsibility. In many cases, brands are able to work with specialists in packaging design to put creative, environmentally friendly packaging together to effectively push brand awareness.
Custom packaging can start a branding awareness conversation
Conventionally, product packaging tends to offer nothing more than pretty colours, a logo and a short, enthusiastic description of the contents. Some highly effective brands, however, have their own conventions — they put a great deal of copy on their packaging to make people laugh, to share surprising facts and so on. Starting a conversation with copy placed on packaging can help make consumers think about a brand long past a brief exposure window. It takes some serious copywriting skills to achieve this effect, however. Studies have shown that consumers on shopping trips usually take in no more than a half-dozen words over an entire trip.
The five-year-old test really works for brand recall
With well-designed custom packaging, brands are free to take advantage of the best in packaging and brand-building science. The five-year-old test is one of these ideas. It involves designing packaging so distinctive, it would be easy to describe to a five-year-old. When a packaging design is simple, intuitive and distinctive enough that a description to five-year-old would help him pick it out among competing products on a shelf, it stands out as well as it should. Only custom packaging can achieve such an effect.
It is possible to build consistency across product categories
Businesses often have multiple product lines in different categories, each one with unique packaging needs. It takes a common design vision to tie these products together with an overarching brand identity. It takes unique packaging to do this.
Success comes to brands that pay attention to public perception
To a small business attempting to make a name for itself in a crowded marketplace, it can seem as if special attention paid to branding through unique packaging is an exercise in self-indulgence. To stressed-out entrepreneurs, it can seem as if there could be more important things to think of — such as product quality and timely delivery.
While these are important, there is no way to communicate these qualities in a product to a consumer without effective marketing and custom branding. These efforts are best served through effective packaging.
Kiera Newton works as a package designer. She enjoys working with a variety of clients on their design and packaging needs, seeing a job through from initial design to finished product.