To many consumer brand marketers, branding is packaging design. The two are intimately intertwined and neither is really themselves without each other. Branding can only be expressed in how product packaging is fashioned, and packaging has no real purpose or identity if it doesn’t reflect the branding strategy.
Increasingly, packaging is expected to add value to the brand by capturing attention, differentiating, communicating, and inducing sales. That’s a tall order for a lot of packaging designers. In most cases, packaging amongst major brands of a particular product is very similar. Traditionally, there has been little innovation and a strict adherence to common standards. Yet, new no-name house branded products are coming in taking marketshare from the big brands. Is house brand packaging innovating in design and communicating quality at a lower price? They must be doing something right. Major brands can still fight back with improved messaging on their packaging and utilize other marketing channels and mediums to keep their leadership.
Simon Smith Senior Consultant, Packaging for Pira International says:
Packaging is so important to brand strength because it is the closest the brand can get to the target consumer. It is consequently a powerful marketing tool, because it can create a brand identity, embody brand equity and influence consumer decisions. Good packaging design that is both relevant and differentiated not only has the ability to create a successful brand, but also to become its flagship and even an icon.
Packaging is in essence an advertising medium that the brand owns, and if utilized effectively it will build recognition, awareness and trial.
It seems packaging has achieved its lofty status as brand spokesperson and the brand may live or die according to how it performs on retail store shelves. Well-designed packaging then can differentiate the brand’s value proposition and make it a superior choice to competitive products. While there are other parts of the marketing mix, point of purchase display packaging is closer to the consumer at the moment of decision. Research shows POP is increasingly influential in shoppers instore product choices.
Pira International, the leading print and packaging research company has recently published a white paper which focused on the issue of Brand Strength and Packaging. Simon Smith is the author of the paper. Smith sets out to discuss what aspects of packaging make the biggest difference in providing brand value or brand lift. We expect the recognition would be number one. The surprises here are brand colour and recyclability.
Smith elaborates on expectations of packaging going forward. He offers a formula (chart) for determining brand lift from packaging. Food for thought as you plan your own packaging improvements. You can read the full white paper here.
Are custom POP displays the only way to go in temporary displays? Still not a believer in POP display campaigns? Check out this in store research about the ROI generated in one campaign. The outlook for cardboard packaging is strong and for creative packaging design firms. What’s happening in retail shopping environment? See the latest POPAI research and shopper studies.