What’s the best way to fully incorporate your company’s brand identity into every product you sell? Well, there’s a lot more to the process than just slapping the corporate logo and name on packages.
In fact, your organization’s choices of package design, size, materials, and other factors play a huge role in conveying the proper message to consumers who see, touch, or otherwise encounter the things you sell.
It’s actually difficult to overestimate the importance of packaging. There’s even a legend about the power of a simple product wrapping based on historical events. Nearly 100 years ago, the founder and owner of one of the most famous chocolate candy bar makers in the U.S. would sometimes find crumpled-up, discarded wrappers of his company’s bars on city streets.
As a matter of habit, he’d pick them up, flatten the wrapper out so the company name was clearly visible, and then place them back on the ground so passers-by would be treated to a mini-billboard ad for his famous chocolate bars. The rest is packaging history, as the company still dominates the chocolate confection market worldwide.
In short, your company’s brand is its entire “personality,” not just the color scheme, logo, motto, and website design. Packaging is a large part of the branding mission because it is a tangible, visible aspect of the direct customer experience that many buyers think of when they hear your company name or see your product.
How does well-designed packaging boost your brand image? Here are just a few of the ways:
- Package Design Gives You the Control: When your team sets out to create a package design, including color scheme decisions, material selection, and other factors, you’re taking control of the brand image in a profound way. Want to impart an upscale image?
Choose packaging styles that get the job done. Need to reinforce your company’s reputation as an artistic, imaginative organization? Let a uniquely styled package get the ball rolling.
- Packaging Can Create Uniqueness: When uniqueness is what you’re after, consider choosing packaging materials that are unusual and attractive, like decorative glass or high-end cardboard with colorful images and print. There are hundreds of ways to say, “We’re a one-of-a-kind company with unique products” with packaging.
- It’s Usually the First Impression: For many consumers, a package is the first impression they get of a product, especially when they see it on a store shelf. Even if they’re seen print, TV, or online ads, their initial “in-person” encounter with the item typically occurs in a retail store or when the item arrives in their mail.
At this very moment, the package is your company’s best, and only, sales agent. Prospective buyers feel, see, smell, and take in the overall impression the package makes. It’s a very important, though quite short, time period, and the package is the star of the show.
- It Conveys Important Information: Want to let potential buyers know that your product is FDA approved, 100 percent organic, free of gluten, packed in recycled paper, or hypoallergenic? You can do all those things and many more with simple, prominent wording on the outside or inside of a well-designed package.
How To Make Packaging Enhance Your Brand
Whenever you notice how a major corporation has built an incredibly seamless packaging-and-branding experience for its customers, you’re often left wondering whether you can do the same thing for your organization. The main thing to remember is that this perfect “marriage” of packaging and branding does not ever happen by accident.
So, what can you do to create a package that ties directly in with and boosts your branding efforts? Here are some of the most effective ways that companies of all sizes achieve that goal in a cost-effective way.
- Being Consistent: Be as consistent as possible with elements like color schemes, textures, printed content fonts, content tone of voice, and similar features. For example, more businesses used corrugated boxes in their main packaging last year than ever before. But, just because cardboard is trending, resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon unless it fits in with your brand’s current image and feel.
- Writing a Detailed Story: If you have not already done so, take a couple of hours to sit down and write your company’s story. You can speed up the process by simply answering a few direct questions, like, “What core beliefs are behind what we do?”, “How can the items we sell change the lives of those who purchase them?”, “Why is our company unique?”, “How is our product different from what competitors sell?”, and “What would be a good description of our company five, ten, and fifteen years from now, if we are able to achieve all our goals?
- Avoiding the Urge to Over-Design: For first-time packaging jobs, company owners typically fall prey to the urge to over-design. It’s a common human desire to want to use every possible design element, but the result is a cluttered, overdone visual. That’s why it’s imperative to work with packaging professionals. They know when to say, “That’s just a bit too much.” And when your company’s money is on the line, it’s helpful to have a seasoned pro by your side.
- Imagining Your Product as a Person: Want to do an easy, fun exercise that can help you flesh out brand and package details? Try this: Make a list of characteristics your product would have if it were a human being. It might sound weird at first, but the results will help you hone in on the ideal kind of package for whatever you sell.
- Not Spending Too Much or Too Little: How much should you invest in packaging? Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a major corporation with global reach, consider the fact that most merchants spend between 8 and 17 percent of a product’s sales price on packaging. It’s okay to go a bit higher than than with your first packaging projects and a bit lower later on, after you’ve solidly established a strong brand image.
An example with math: Suppose you sell skin cream at $12 per unit in retail stores. Then, you order packaging in bulk for 10,000 units of product. A commonsense spending range on packaging services for that order would be between 8 and 17 percent of total sales price on the 10,000 units, or between $9,600 and $20,400. That’s just an estimate based on industry averages. As they say, “Your mileage may vary.”
- Extending Your Website: Customers love consistency, which is the main reason you should always have the look and feel of your website in mind as you go about the work of designing packages for all the things you sell. If, for example, your site conveys a playful, artistic feeling, choose packaging elements like materials and artwork that match that overall impression.
- Creating an Unboxing Video: Practice makes perfect, and taking the time to create your own idealized version of an unboxing video will reveal a lot. Have five or more volunteers make short videos in which they receive, open, and examine your product. Tell them to be honest about their impressions and verbalize as much as possible. This exercise is an amazingly simple way to work the kinks out of any packaging snafus that you might have missed during the design phase.
Deliver the Message With Packaging
Companies that want to make packaging an effective part of their branding effort have a lot on their side. At Mid-Atlantic Packaging, we offer a complete line of packaging materials and services so you get the most out of every product you sell. Why not let product packages serve as effective sales agents by reminding customers what your organization is all about?
When you decide it’s time to leverage the power of packaging and add muscle to your branding message, give us a call at (800) 284-1332 and speak with one of our reps about how to design the very best packages for what you sell. Our team members have years of experience working with companies that want to connect branding and packaging into one, seamless, effective sales tool.
For more information, visit our website or just pick up the phone and get your questions answered quickly by one of our team members. There’s never a charge or obligation for consultations when you contact us. Why not get the most out of your product packaging?