Packaging vs. Product: How the Two Create a Strong Marriage
First come products. Then packaging. Or should it? As important as good products are to sales, packaging is just as important. Without creative and enticing packaging, products often stay on the shelves. Likewise, without a useful and well-performing product, packaging can’t influence consumers alone. The perfect balance of the two creates an ideal scenario – each equally important in influencing shopping behavior.
Creating the perfect marriage between product and packaging is a true balancing act that requires brands to know their product, their customer and more. The most successful brands work diligently with packaging experts to strike the right balance and maximum results. Consider these fundamental functions when designing your next packaging.
The Packaging Product Match
It's vital to remember that packaging is an extension of a product. Accordingly, the packaging needs to reflect the product. For example, if the product is environmentally conscious, then the packaging needs to communicate this “green” message as well. If the product houses the latest in tech gadgets, the packaging should be just as innovative and forward thinking.
When designing packaging for your product, consider the overall brand message and market positioning of your product. A solid understanding of your product, your brand and your target audience will guide important choices when it comes to packaging, including structure, substrates, finishing effects and more.
The Sales Channel
Designing effective packaging also means customizing it for the primary channel of distribution. Is it an online-only product? Will it appear in traditional brick-and-mortar stores? The distribution channel can heavily influence the type of packaging design that will be most effective.
When designing for a brick-and-mortar experience, it’s important to have a strongly branded design that can be quickly identified and can stand its ground among the many other options on a shelf or case. Getting noticed in a brick-and-mortar store is critical. Think unique finishes like metallics, embossing and colors to catch the eye of shoppers. Textures, too, can incentivize in-store shoppers to pick up your product.
In the world of e-commerce and online shopping, packaging doesn't compete with other products on a shelf. The experience of opening and unveiling your product is most important for online products. Creating a unique reveal experience is what makes packaging and product memorable. Consider the overall structure of your product’s packaging to determine how you can incorporate interactive elements like windows, flaps and compartments. Next, think how your customer will engage with each of these elements. Will they tell a story? Will they offer product instructions? Create anticipation and a fun journey for your customer and it will pay off in dividends!
The Functionality Aspect
Another important aspect of packaging design is functionality. From protection to tracking and fraud prevention, it’s important to design packaging with these needs in mind. Understanding the unique needs for your product will help determine the type of packaging needed, such as inserts, molded pieces, or built-in security and tracking features such as RFID tags or tamper-evident designs.
Preventing fakes or sub-par versions of your product from being passed as your product is also critical for your brand. Brands can minimize fraud by using high-end print techniques that are difficult and costly for others to replicate. Premium packaging can serve to authenticate your product in the market, ensuring customers get the best product experience.
Creating a Strong Marriage Between Packaging and Product
In the end, packaging design that appropriately suits your product will be the most effective in terms of protection, marketability and consumer response. Packaging should match your product well, be appropriate for the product’s channel, and provide the necessary functionality and protection your product needs. Creating a strong, well-balanced packaging design is key to customer loyalty and beating out the competition. To get the best packaging design, work collaborative with brand managers, designers and packaging suppliers.
Corey Gustafson is the president of JohnsByrne, a provider of custom product packaging design and printing.
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