1) Evaluate your packaging to see if it is consistent with your brand image
Depending on what the item is, your product will have its own product packaging, another layer of packaging to protect that, then perhaps a third outer packaging. It can have one or all three. Regardless if you are selling your product online or in a brick-and-mortar store, you need to look at any packaging that is associated with your product because it affects your customer’s brand experience. Packaging is not a separate experience. The packaging should have these characteristics:
– Represent the personality and value of your brand
– Align with the other marketing efforts of your brand
– Customized to your target customer
The packaging is more than just wrapping. It adds to how your customers feel when they look at it, touch it, and manipulate it. It gets them excited, inspired, and delighted. It makes them anticipate something special under all the packaging. This is the effect that you want to achieve.
For instance, Go-to is an online seller of skincare products for women. Their message is personable, friendly and humorous. This is consistent throughout their message channels including their website, social media, email blasts, and packaging. Their brand is on the product packaging, inner packaging, and the shipping box. Each package includes a card in the same tone that explains how the product should be used. They also include a fortune cookie that has a branded message inside. Their brand is reinforced consistently throughout multiple messaging methods. Their customers have positive feedback with this type of messaging because they have an exceptional experience each time.
2) Determine what messages are essential to convey to your customers
Before you choose a pattern and typeset for your packaging, consider any essential functions that your packaging has to serve. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
– Is there important information that your package needs to convey to your customers when they use this product? This can be information about nutrition, personal care, safety, and others. Before you design the packaging, think about any required data, instructions, symbols, and other critical information that must be included so you can figure out how much space you need on the package to include this.
– Does the package itself need to protect or securely seal the product? How would you include that in your design? Is the project light-sensitive? Are there other external elements that can affect the product? Does the project require air circulation? Does it need to be protected from extreme temperatures? Does it have to be waterproof?
– After the customer opens it, will the packaging be discarded, or does the customer need to keep the packaging until they are done with the product?
– What type of packaging is needed when the product is shipped? Does the packaging need to be nested a certain way, or does it have to stay within a particular set of dimensions, weight or size?
The questions above need to be considered so your product’s quality will not be affected. These must be addressed before you start designing your packaging because they will affect your choice of packaging material, the shape and overall design of the packaging.
3) Think about how your customers will use your product
Before you select a packaging design and the materials, you need to understand when your customers will use the product and how they will use it. Then, think about how the packaging can enhance your customer’s usage experience instead of interfering with it. Here are some suggestions:
– Monitor the trends on how your customers are using your product or other products similar to it
– Can the packaging be improved so the product becomes easier or more efficient to use? For instance, will a resealable package be helpful? Will packaging the product into single-use, easy to open units be more convenient for your customers?
If you choose a package design that makes your customers’ life more difficult, it can negatively impact your sales. For instance, in 2015, Glad decided to reposition the serrated wrap cutter to under the lid instead of leaving it on the base of the box. This triggered many complaints from consumers because the wrap became difficult to cut. As a result of the complaints, Glad went back to the original design so it would not lose any sales.
4) Keep your message simple and clear
Remember that your product is competing with similar products from your competitors. Whether your product is placed on a shelf or sold online, it has to grab shoppers’ attention. Therefore, you need to convey your message clearly and quickly. A package with too much information on it can confuse and overwhelm the shopper. Limit the message to only the most important one or two selling points, and choose the most effective words to get the message across.
5) Make your package stand out to draw in interest
Consumers have many options when they are browsing store shelves or online, so you have to make your packaging stand out from your competition. It has to look fabulous, but not necessarily fancy with large lettering or glaring colors. Look at the designs of the competing products and see how you can differentiate yours from them. You might want to use a different shape, different color tones, an innovative design layout, or other smart ways to showcase your product like a transparent packaging solution.
Use your creativity, but stay within industry-acceptable standards. Avoid any markings that will confuse the consumer as to how your product should be used. This is particularly important for products that contain chemicals. Avoid a packaging design that looks a lot like a food or beverage packaging design so people won’t make the mistake of consuming your product.
6) Never mislead the shopper
This should be obvious to all marketers, but there are times when some brands cross the line between a creative marketing message and an untruth. Whether you are designing the message or the imagery, make sure that the message you are conveying is honest. Avoid stretching or exaggerating the truth. You want to present your product in the most positive light, but you don’t want to deceive anyone either. For instance, Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of the pain reliever Nurofen, had to pay $1.7 million in fines because the packaging of their different products each claimed that they target specific types of pain, but the active ingredient in each product was the same. So, they were fined for deceptive messaging.
7) Choose less wasteful approaches
It is important to choose packaging methods that minimize waste. The consumers are expecting marketers to be more responsible to the environment. Also, more efficient packaging means less material used, leading to less cost. Here are some suggestions to reduce waste:
– Use recycled materials
– Decrease the size and weight of the product for smaller packaging
– Offer consumers suggestions on how to reuse the packaging (e.g. A Nutella jar can be reused as a cup.)
– When product packaging creates byproducts and offcuts, look for ways to use these materials