Packaging and brand messaging haven’t always been as closely aligned as they are now. Marketers now know that when there is an “experience gap” between product and packaging, disappointment can follow, and that gives competing brands a chance to step in.
Not only should packaging design attributes be well-planned and well-executed, but they should also align with your overall brand messaging and marketing strategy. For example, a product that claims to be high-end or prestigious, yet which shows up in the mail or on the shelf in cheap-looking packaging will make consumers wonder if you really mean what you say. A brand that claims to champion sustainability, yet which overpackages products in materials that are difficult to recycle or excessive for the product will also come across as tone deaf.
Aligning your product packaging with your brand messaging is essential so you can avoid the “experience gap” that makes consumers more likely to look to your competitors.
With Online Shopping, Packaging Is a Crucial Touchpoint
In the traditional retail environment, consumers experience your product packaging directly. They may pick it up off the shelf, rotate it in their hands, feel its weight, and note the texture of the packaging material while making their purchase decision.
With online shopping, your product packaging (aside from secondary packaging added by the online retailer or shipping partner) is a key consumer touchpoint – the only one you may have with that customer. Without the context of a retail shelf full of products for comparison, the consumer has chosen your product: does your packaging make the consumer feel like they made the right decision?
Will Your Packaging Shine on Social Media?
Particularly with some categories of CPG items, like beauty products, consumers are prone to sharing their purchases on social media. Though designing packaging solely so it’s ready for its social media closeup would be short-sighted, there’s no denying the increasing importance of camera-friendly packaging designs.
Not only do people share photos of things they buy, but many of them also share the whole unboxing experience. How well does your packaging lend itself to such sharing? Will they have to get the heavy-duty scissors out to breach the packaging? Is the packaging dull or unattractive? These are real considerations now.
Does Your Brand Practice the Values It Claims?
If your brand is all about the joys of simple living, does it make sense to encase your products in complex or excessive packaging? If your marketing campaigns emphasize care for the environment, how will consumers feel to buy your product only to discover that the packaging is made of something they can’t recycle?
While it is the product itself that bears most of the weight of communicating your brand values, the packaging is far more than just an afterthought. When considering packaging designs, ask yourself (and your team): “Does this packaging carry our brand message seamlessly with the product inside?” If not, perhaps you should re-evaluate exactly what you expect from your product packaging.
Packaging design can help close the gap between a consumer’s desired experience and their actual experience. Packaging designs that harmonize with brand values and with the mental image consumers have of your products are packaging designs that add to your success. PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!