Consumers despise change, except when it’s good and especially when it’s not. With so much indecision, it’s tough to know when packaging innovation will be welcomed. Here are four ways to keep consumers happy and coming back for more via packaging design.
When it comes to packaging, innovation is key. It’s not enough to simply showcase your product; you must demonstrate what makes your product better than the dozen others on the shelf. If your product has mega brand recognition with a cult following, such as Pepsi or Campbell’s, the hard work is already done for you. However, less popular brands can still utilize several techniques to set themselves apart.
MeadWestvaco Corporation, a big player in the packaging industry, recently released its third annual report on the preferences of consumers related to packaging and product satisfaction. It indicated that slightly more than 10 percent of consumers are completely satisfied with brand packaging, creating an opportunity for new brands to lead the way with innovation and new functionality.
1) Package With Purpose
A growing trend in the packaging game is creating built-in functions in the packaging that consumers can easily utilize: an easy-pour spout on the side that eliminates the need to tear open the carton; yogurt cups that have bags of granola included in the packaging; or condiment bottles with lids at the bottom.
Functional packaging demonstrates a brand’s understanding of the needs of its consumers; it knows how its consumers are using their products and wants to make the experience better. Utilizing creative packaging that speaks to your consumers can create a relationship that will keep them coming back time after time.
2) Size Matters
Despite what the big box chains that sell in bulk will tell you, bigger isn’t always better. Consumer needs vary from person to person, and the size of the packaging definitely has an impact on who’s going to purchase it. Smart brands will recognize the needs of their consumers and tailor their packaging to meet those needs, whether it’s to change the size or alter the shape.
As our society shifts toward a faster-paced, more health-conscious dynamic, a demand has been created for smaller portions of our favorite products that are easy to take on the go. Soft drink companies recognized this and adapted their packaging, creating smaller cans of soda consumers are actually willing to pay more money for. Imagine: customers willing to pay more money for less product. That’s the power of packaging at work.
3) Aesthetic Appeal
Of course, even if a product is functional and appropriately sized for our needs, it might not be enough to catch our eye. As consumers, we like a product to look appealing as well.
This idea is encapsulated in Mrs. Butterworth syrup bottles. While the product is similar to other syrups out there, the iconic, woman-shaped packaging gives the brand an identity that stands out. Coca-Cola does a good job of this as well, with its simple red-and-white can that proves product packaging doesn’t need to be complicated to be aesthetically pleasing.
4) Packaging Effectiveness
It’s one thing to have packaging that looks nice or has handy features that make it easier to use, but businesses should be wary of including these features just because they think consumers want them. At the end of the day, overall packaging effectiveness is what stands out as the most important factor when making packaging choices.
Effectiveness in packaging includes several aspects, including how the functions support the product, how tailored the graphics and packaging are to your target demographic, and how innovation is used not only to be different, but to create an identity that stands out. All of these factors work together to create an experience that leaves your customers wondering how they ever did without your product.
When customers like a brand, they tend to behave in ways that are beneficial to that brand. They’ll purchase other products; they’ll go out of their way to pick the brand they like (even if it’s not readily available); and they’ll tease their friends who chose the supposedly inferior competitor. Packaging isn’t just about selling a product; it’s about creating loyalty. When your product has loyal fans who will defend their favorite brand, you’ll know your marketing is doing something right.