If you're in the manufacturing business, you understand that having an outstanding brand is critical to your success.
There are many articles and varying perceptions out there about what makes a great brand and how to distinguish your brand from the competition. But one thing is for sure. Your brand packaging plays a very important role in a consumer's buying decision.
Just think about the last time you picked a product from a retail shelf. What made you decide to pick up that particular product?
I think it's safe to say that aside from the product and price, the things that compelled you to initially pick up the product has to do with brand, design and the message on the package.
Having a well recognizable brand, a great looking and well-designed box and copy that speak clearly and directly to a consumer's specific needs and wants will more than likely motivate an end user to pick up your product.
And here's the you're not selling direct to the consumer, before you even get your products on retail shelves you must be able to convince the retail owner or buyer that your product is worth taking up retail space on their store shelves. So essentially you're trying to please a buyer or retail owner and the consumer; a challenging proposition given the plethora of competitive products that are always vying for shelf space.
I'm often asked how important packaging is when presenting a product to a retailer. My answer is always absolutely essential! And here's why.
JoAnn Hines, known as the Packaging Diva, one of the top consumer products packaging expert shares some important facts on her blog that shows why packaging is so important and in some instances can make or break the sale:
• The average consumer takes only 2.6 seconds to make up their minds whether to purchase your product or not. (So, will your product stand out from the competition?)
• Women either influence or make the purchasing decision 85 percent of the time. (Know your target audience but this means you have to sell to her first regardless of who she is shopping for.)
• 70 percent of all purchasing decisions are made at the store. (This provides an unlimited opportunity to tell your product's story - provided you capture their attention).
Shop owners and retail buyers understand the above facts, so in order for them to sell through products on their shelves they not only look at the product but also the overall presentation of the product line.
So how can you make your brand packaging stand out from your competition?
Keeping in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive just by the sheer number of factors involved in what is perceived to be a good package, there are a few factors that I feel is important to mention.
Name. A catchy name, quirky, humorous, short, easy to remember, a name that states exactly what the product does...these are just examples of qualities in a name that have proven to work.
Overall look & design. Probably one of the most important factors that draws a consumer to the package is its overall design. There are so many things that can make a box stand out - the use of colors, typography, simplicity, the right balance of white space, good use of images or illustrations, etc. Packaging can be a very expensive cost if done incorrectly, so do it right and hire an experienced graphic designer or supplement your efforts with a marketing expert who understands brand packaging.
Copy. Know your target customer and provide them with valuable and insightful information and an expressive way that engages and connects to their needs, wants, desires and specific lifestyle. Do not only use product features; benefits are even more important. How is the product going to solve a problem or how is it going to make their life easier. What is its unique selling proposition that will drive a customer to make the purchase? Unlike smaller independent stores, bigger chains are not likely to have a sales person on the floors to help out customers, so as a manufacturer it would be to your advantage to make sure that your packaging can stand on its own and act as its own sales person!
Package engineering. A box should not only be beautifully designed but it needs to function as a good home for your product; a place to keep it secure. With this in mind hiring a good packaging engineer or an experienced packaging designer may be an advantage. Does it need to be an open box so the consumer can touch and feel it or have the accessibility to press on something to hear it make a sound. Or maybe you don't want the product to get dirty so you could use a closed box or a shrink wrap? Is it best to put it on a shelf or does it need to be hung on a rack? Is it best to be on a corrugated box, a clamshell or a fabric bag? How are they likely to be merchandised on retail shelves? Also important is to make sure that each box can withstand shipping and is not easily damaged while being on the shelves for some time. Boxes that fall apart is not a good sign to retailers and may affect your brand.
Sustainability. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and socially responsible and that's why packages that are recyclable or use recycled materials and have a lower waste factor (meaning less inside packaging materials) are motivating factors to many consumers.
Whether your products are sold online, in catalogs, at smaller mom & pop stores or larger retail chains, it's important to remember that brand packaging plays a pivotal role in a buyer and consumer's purchasing decision.
So do yourself a favor and invest in a good package for your product.