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Marketing Insights

What Successful Brands Know About Package Design

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You can’t create a great package if you don’t know how design works. And you can’t create a great package if you don’t know how packaging affects your consumer. There are 3 key responses that a package design need to get to achieve retail success: visual, rational and emotional.

store_aisle_product_packagingVisual Response

Without visual impact that creates consumer response you don’t have a chance of winning the other 2 responses.  Colors, shapes, words and images work together to affect consumers. The right composition will pop off the shelf! It will stand apart from the surrounding packages.

In the aisle is where you discover how well a brand is recognized.

Consumers are visually bombarded as they travel down aisles on their quest to find the item they came in to buy. Think of the shopper as a moving target. The in-store situation is similar to a person driving past a billboard. You have 3 seconds to get their attention and stop the consumer in the aisle. The unique combination of shapes and colors are at the core of a brand’s identity. The unique configuration of the color and symbol of the product logo boosts recognition and can draw the attention of the busy shopper. A memorable example of how shape impacts in aisle is the Method line of soaps. Method’s launch was completely reliant on a distinct shaped bottle. They can be considered the trigger of the container innovation bottle we see today.

The stimulus of your visuals on the package affects shopper’s perceptions of your product and defines the brand persona. To achieve maximum impact requires consistent, long-term exposure that is why most big brands have graphic guidelines. When you publish brand guidelines responsibility of maintaining visual consistency extends to all company employees and vendors. Brand persona is a core component of long-term success.

Rational Response

The information provided on the package feeds the rational need of the consumer to have facts for evaluating need to purchase. Straightforward, targeted messages are powerful and more effective that a cluttered design that tries to appeal to a wide audience.

3 focused statements that clearly differentiates the brand and product from its competitors supplies the data a consumer needs to rationalize the choice. The message can’t be cold hard facts or specifications. The message must have facts and specifications that support it.

Emotional Response

The emotion that the package design evokes from the consumer is the most important response. Every decision we make has is driven by emotion. The package visuals and factual content affects the consumer’s perception of the brand. The emotional response the product will create of solve is extremely important in developing brand response and loyalty. Does the product solve a painful problem, will it make the consumer feel beautiful or make their home beautiful? Write a message that they relate to emotionally, the pain the product elevates and/or the happiness the product creates.

Oh the feelings evoked…

The color, shapes, symbols and messages work together to evoke a variety of feelings. Long-term success is dependent those emotions becoming bonded to the brand. Be mindful that consumer perceptions of brands are ever evolving as time and innovation changes our lives so brands messaging evolve to stay relevant and impactful.

Some brands use nostalgia to amplify and extend their impact on consumer emotions. The classic glass coke bottle, its shape and red color make a promise to the loyal consumer of it’s quality and taste.

Though emotional response is the most important it depends on visual and rational responses to have the full impact on consumer perception. Not all consumers respond the same way because their needs are not al alike. That is why we have fans loyal to Apple and others loyal to Microsoft, Coke versus Pepsi.  Variety is the spice of life and competition.

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Topics: Branding, Packaging Design


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