Jan 03 2012

Packaging Resolutions You CAN Keep

Posted at 2:31 pm under Feature Article

Take a moment to reflect on the past year from a packaging perspective. There were lots of stories in the news about the role packaging plays in our society — from less packaging to “wrap rage.” One thing we have learned is “negative” packaging gets lots of press and in most cases “good” packaging gets none.

Let’s think about how we can positively promote our industry and your products in the minds of the consumer for 2012. Set your sights on a few resolutions to create a more lasting impression with the ultimate market for your products: the consumer.

1. First, learn to think like the customer. At one time or another, we all shop. Think critically from that side of the aisle. What annoys you in product packaging? “Wrap-rage” dominates the news during the holidays.

WrapRage over packaging

but what if all the products came damaged and broken? Would those same consumers decry the lack of or improper packaging? You bet! People love to rail about packaging failures.

2. You may not think “less” packaging is good but what about the consumer? Do they really want less or has this “green” issue been created by the media? I know a lot of companies are jumping on the green bandwagon but are consumers willing to pay the price and do they truly care? It’s something to consider before making a wholesale leap into the “green” space.

I heard a great quote at the Sustainable Plastics Packaging conference: “The consumer knows just enough on sustainability to get them through a cocktail party” so what do they really think about your packaging?

3. Step back and think about what product packaging attributes you personally like and why. Recently, I was interviewed about why marketers insist on changing well-defined and successful product packaging. Consumers don’t like when trusted brands have a new look in packaging. So don’t get caught up in change for change’s sake. Listen to what the customer says about what they want changed in the package or work to fulfill an unmet need.

Here’s a great packaging example with a multitude of purposes.  Fulfilling a need.

Oneglass™ Wine

4. Try to more clearly think like and understand your target market. Whether it’s women, men, boomers or a younger generation it’s important to understand what the consumer expects from your product packaging. We always hear about packaging that doesn’t work, but what about the packaging that does?  How can you take successful packaging innovation and integrate that into your brand? Or could your packaging the brand itself?

We’ve see some great examples emerge this year like this.

LifeBox the box is the brand.

via Inhabitat
Here’s another example

via eBay

5. Does your packaging connect with the consumer in a meaningful way? Here is an example of what I mean by connecting. We all know Elizabeth Taylor and the upscale image she portrays. Remember her White Diamonds campaign?  Well, someone persuaded her to endorse a new cologne, Daytona 500. Duh! She went from Diamonds to NASCAR. No consumer can make that leap regardless how well the product is packaged.

Do you get these perfume/cologne packages? I don’t:

Orwell Perfume

via Packaging Of The World

Konvict Cologne (You’re kidding right?)

6. Learn from bad packaging examples. There are a plenty of good ideas that went bad for a number of reasons. It could be something totally unexpected.

Think about what happened to Tropicana

and SunChips compostable packaging.

Interestingly enough both of these examples cam from the same parent company. No names of course.

What looks like a good marketing angle turns out to have negative consumer repercussions. Look out for watch dog groups that might be on the attack against your latest marketing concept. You think it’s creative — they think it’s bad marketing or at the worst inappropriate marketing.

7. Learn from good packaging examples. There are so many good examples it’s hard to select just a few so I decided to use some from a “hot” packaging category. Liquor. Liquor packaging has undergone a transformation along with the new product offerings. It’s not uncommon to find designer packaging along with designer prices. I’ll mention two. Diva Vodka complimented with Swarovski Crystals and other precious gemstones and Gold Flakes Vodka care to guess what’s inside?

I think they should send me a bottle as the Packaging Diva.

Diva Vodka

The point is they have created a distinct point of differentiation through their product packaging. That is the message you need to consider for your products.

8. Create brand extensions through innovation not simply by adding a so-called new and improved packaged product. Here are examples of two packaging innovations that have crossed over through innovation. Wishbone Salad Dressing typically marketed in a pourable bottle. It has moved into a spray pump application. Spritz a little dressing on your salad. The product fulfills a consumer need to have an easier way for calorie control. Another example is Laughing Cow Cheese in the traditional foil wrapped wedges has moved into a squeeze bottle application to make it easier for portion control and also easier to spread.

9. Stay on top of industry trends. Every January I predict packaging trends for the coming year so your work is done for you. Review these and incorporate them into your marketing strategy.

10. Think big picture. One of the most surprising things I read this week was about the most popular web searches on the Internet. Despite the obvious media “superstars” that are popular some of the other “hottest” inquires for name brands are not American. Yes, I know we are brainwashed into thinking that the US is the center of the universe, but this is changing and your packaging better keep up.

The bottom line is whatever the resolution you make for your product packaging remember the consumer is king or queen. Their packaging concerns should resonate with your brand. If they demand things as to your product packaging, resolve to listen to them.

Good packaging resolutions are easy to keep and will reinforce your brand in the eyes of the consumer.

Need to know whose got the latest concepts in packaging innovation? I know that’s what I do-track packaging trends and innovation and how it is going to impact your business. Get connected with me JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva at my web site http://packagingdiva.com or by phone 1-678-594-6872.

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One response so far

One Response to “Packaging Resolutions You CAN Keep”

  1. Brent Roakeon 03 Jan 2012 at 11:18 pm 1

    Great post! Where I work, we offer a variety of primary and secondary packaging materials and there has been a strong push to move towards environmentally friendly packaging materials. Making the switch to environmentally friendly packaging is a great idea, but the new materials need to be adequate to provide an appealing look or in our case secure loads properly for transport. The materials also need to be cost effective, or as you mentioned the cost will be past on to the consumer. I agree that companies really need to consider everything associated with “Green” packaging before jumping on the bandwagon. 
    Thanks again for the post, very informative.