Successful packaging design consists of both art and science. The packaging must contain the product safely and effectively and be usable to the consumer. At the same time, it should convey what is inside, as well as brand values.
Packaging should tap into consumer emotion as well as convey facts.
Ideally, packaging design should kindle an emotional response too, because humans are emotional beings. Neurological MRIs have been used to show that when they evaluate brands, consumers use emotions rather than straight-up data to form choices, and this is true even in people who consider themselves logical rather than sentimental. Here are some ways to appeal to consumer emotion by using consumer-centric packaging design.
Inspire with Consumer-Centric Packaging Design
Packaging that inspires consumers to be the best version of themselves, and that indicates the product will help them become the best version of themselves strikes emotional chords with shoppers. Health claims and information about product and packaging sustainability are popular ways brands do this today. “Keto-friendly,” “low sugar,” and the like remind consumers that they are working on being the healthiest versions of themselves, for example.
Let Aspirational Consumers Know They Have “Arrived”
Appealing to the consumer’s sense of aspiration with consumer-centric packaging design is also a smart move. For instance, many store brands are turning to simple, elegant packaging designs that indicate both quality and value. It can be a subtle, yet powerful way to let consumers know they have “arrived” and deserve the premium product they are considering for purchase.
Appeal to Love and Sentiment
Brands have long understood the power of tapping into consumer sentimental nature. That is why ads around Thanksgiving show warm, smiling families gathered around tables laden with food. It is why people are drawn to packaging design that features babies, puppies, kittens, or other cute creatures. Packaging design that reaches down into consumers’ heart of hearts captures their interest better than packaging design that merely conveys facts.
Packaging that reminds consumers of what they love resonates with them and is memorable.
Another way that brands appeal to the emotional shopper is by recognizing milestones. That is why there are so many different kinds of baby foods now, for example. Packaging that emphasizes “stepping up” from simple cereals to more complex foods recognizes that the consumer is now the proud parent of a baby who has reached important milestones, and this can inspire appreciation and loyalty.
Ultimately, Consumer-Centric Packaging Design Is About Empathy
Consumer-centric packaging design is, at heart, about empathy. It is a way for brands to say, “This is you, and that’s a good way to be.” Consumer-centric design lets consumers know it is okay for them to indulge in a premium cookie, or that if they are concerned about the planet, the brand has their back.
To successfully implement consumer-centric packaging design, brands must not only understand the characteristics of their target audience, they must attempt to put themselves in the shoes of those consumers and understand how they are feeling and why they feel that way. The ideal packaging design makes consumers feel as if it has been designed expressly for them. Why? Because that makes consumers feel great about themselves and their choices.
Packaging design is partly based on science, but it is also based on more ethereal qualities, particularly in an age of Instagram and social sharing. What people choose can have an effect on how they feel about life choices, and packaging designs that make them feel good about those choices are effective and produce a positive return on investment. Consumer-centric packaging design helps consumers gain a sense of awareness, familiarity, and connection with the product inside, and that drives positive sentiment and loyalty.
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