The flashy orange of Hermès, the legendary aqua blue of Tiffany & Co. or the deep red that defines Cartier packaging elicits sighs even before one opens them to discover the plush contents they carry. The containers of these iconic brands have their devoted section of fans who, believe it or not, even source them from online auctions, knowing that they can't afford the expense of actually buying something luxe in order to obtain those coveted boxes. I'm aware that this might sound completely far-fetched to those who view the concept of packaging with nonchalance, but marketing experts are sure to tell you otherwise.
Unlike advertising, where you'd have to scream from the rooftops to get the consumer's attention, innovative packaging just sends out sublimely effective pick-me-up signals that are irresistible even to the hardest of cynics. You could also call it a final sales pitch, especially because it is common knowledge that emotions play a massive role when it comes to buying. Therefore, it isn't a coincidence when brands with the highest recall value (Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola) are those who invariably invest a great amount of thought behind their packaging.
As a consumer, entering a supermarket and finding endless aisles of similar brands can be assaulting to the senses. What do you think happens next? The vast array of goodies on display compels the consumer to remember and associate a certain kind of package with the brand of their choice. Recognizable brands have a definite edge, no doubt, but think... who will possibly pick up a Coke that's packaged in a steel-gray can with black lettering instead of the regular, flashy red and white? Innovative packaging, with the company logo emblazoned across it makes an established brand stand-out. A perfectly legal attention-grabbing tactic, it tests the consumer's loyalty to the brand and reinstates a recognized brand's presence.
There is no denying that we humans are a judgmental lot, and we take great pleasure in creating preconceived notions based on appearances. As a seller, it would be a crime not to cash in on a golden opportunity like this one. Have you ever wondered why a Barbie doll always comes in a pink box? Or that men's deodorants are mostly packaged in black cans? Science does have a role to play here, but the simple explanation is that companies stereotype, and customers willingly succumb. You see, there is a reason why Tiffany & Co. use that special aqua blue box with a white ribbon to pack their jewelry in, and Nike made that special stadium shoe box for football crazy kids.
Product packaging is not limited to appearances, mind you. It goes beyond wrappers and ribbons when it comes to certain wares, perishable commodities in particular. In such cases, freshness rates above everything else and packaging standards must comply. The USFDA has specific rules regarding packaging of edible products, and manufacturers have to adhere to those. Having said that, sellers need not necessarily shed their creativity to accommodate practicality, (there are some very funky juice cartons which prove my point).
Environment friendly packaging never fails to impress, moreover, it helps you establish an image that is austere and conscientious. Reusable, environment friendly containers are usually a big hit with the consumers who will appreciate your concern for planet Earth. Green initiatives spruce up a company's image in no time, and as a brand, you end up doing your bit towards undoing environmental damage to some degree. It is also the need of the future, as most governments are more or less likely to enforce strict rules regarding usage of environment friendly packaging.
Bait the Customer
When it comes to luring customers, nothing does the job better than the manner of packaging. Shopping is a multi-sensory experience and manufacturers must view it that way. New products looking at making a breakthrough can edge out complacent competitors solely on the basis of attractive packaging. With certain products like cosmetics, customers appreciate the company's attention to aesthetics. Be it gourmet chocolates or garbage bags, beautiful packaging matters, and it is sure to give you results.
Don't Get Too Excited
It's time to curb the enthusiasm a bit, because it is very easy to get carried away with creativity. Packaging, ultimately, has but one aim - to get the consumer to buy the product in question. It is not an avenue for product designers to showcase their creativity by thoroughly neglecting the primary purpose which is product sales. Designers have to possess the sensibility to refrain themselves from viewing product design as a contest. After all, a good product package is the one that sets the cash register ringing.
To sum it up, product packaging is serious business, and it calls for attention. As a manufacturer, you need it to be adequately enticing without making it ridiculously over the top. Though it's hard not to cross the fine line that separates the swishy from the trashy, it's totally worth the effort once you get it right.