How Packaging Design Can Impact In-Store Promotion
Fact: Marketing professionals, from brand managers to chief marketing officers, are being challenged by retailers to optimize the way they inhabit brick-and-mortar store space by demonstrating new ways of capturing consumer interest and demonstrating this through increased sales. The disruption of e-commerce on retailers and CPGs alike has forced everyone to look differently at how they go to market. Typical siloed marketing budgets are being blurred and challenged to work smarter and get the most out of every marketing dollar. Let’s explore solutions that can help packaging design bridge in-store promotion with brands’ social media efforts to maximize effectiveness and increase sales.
Over the years it has been proven that the form product packaging takes when linked with proper brand and key messaging can play a critical role in consumers’ decision-making processes at shelf. Today, consumers regularly interact with brands through multiple communication channels and have grown increasingly agnostic to how they receive brand information. Email, websites and social media all play an ever-increasing role in brand image and recognition. When consumers enter a brick-and-mortar store, brand-consistent visual cues can help them reconnect with a product they previously experienced digitally. Let’s explore three simple tactics to consider when developing packaging that will help consumers make decisions that draw them to a brand they've encountered on social media.
- Harmonize all channels of brand messaging into your packaging design.
- Include the form of the packaging into all levels of your messaging to leverage brand recognition.
- Integrate your budget wisely to catch hidden synergies.
1. Harmonize all channels of brand messaging into your packaging design.
Too often packaging design is a separate discipline of strategy when looking at both in-store promotional materials and social media campaigns. Internal brand marketing and the external agencies that support communication are increasingly specialized in one channel of communication and are focused on their own deadlines and budgets. This can be a missed opportunity for brands to grab consumer attention on the shelf. A more effective strategy would be to include packaging design, both physical form and brand images, into all levels of communication. For example, if a CPG is launching a new snack product and the social media images don’t focus on the look and feel of the packaging on shelf, it may make it more difficult for the consumer to quickly find and choose the specific product. The consumer will make it to the snack aisle, but a competitor's brand could grab their attention first and lose a potential sale. Including the packaging imagery and all in-store promotion from social media campaigns will give the brand one more chance to connect all the dots and draw consumers to the product it has spent its valuable resources to promote.
2. Include the form of the packaging into all levels of your messaging to leverage brand recognition.
The next tactic to think about is the actual form of the packaging. Is it square or rounded? Is paperboard packaging best for the brand or is a flexible packaging solution a better fit? Rightfully, most of these decisions come down to first protecting the product and second the cost of filling the packaging at scale. Brand marketing will also have a place at the table and will set the standards to determine messaging and brand consistency. An emerging trend in packaging design is to take this thinking into digital marketing and in-store promotion planning processes simultaneously. For instance, how does the form of the package convey brand across all channels? What packaging form works best for digital imagery and in-store signage? As was outlined in our first strategy, consumers will be drawn to product on shelf more easily if they've already experienced it once or more in a previous message. The challenge here is to pick a form for the package that not only disrupts the shelf, but also all areas of communication.
3. Integrate your budget wisely to catch hidden synergies.
The first two strategies can naturally lead to our last strategy, integrating budgets. Looking at budgets holistically can uncover hidden pockets of waste in both real dollars and time. For example, if the packaging design is going to be photographed and shown in meetings to review with retailers and buyers, look for ways do this once and create imagery from the beginning that can be used across platforms. Schedule one photo shoot and use the photo assets many times instead of each functional group needing different assets to do their part of the brand messaging. Not only does this thinking save real money, it also can remove valuable days from the launch schedule and allow for teams to work on other pressing projects.
All of these tactics are fairly simple, but our fear of change can make them not always easy to implement. The good news is that disruption can be looked at as a positive catalyst that forces us to review our long-held processes and find ways to work smarter. Each of these tactics by themselves can provide benefit. The more powerful solution for brand marketers is to combine them and recognize measurable improvement for your internal and external customers proving that you understand the call to action from our changing world.
Paul Nowak is the senior director of sales strategy and business development at QuadPackaging, a provider of collaborative end-to-end packaging solutions.
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