How Packaging Works

Exhibit 14.3  Bright, distinct colours make the Garnier pack stand out from the clutter.

Packaging protects, preserves, transports and contains a product over its life span. It offers convenience and facilitates the use of the product. It informs, educates, communicates, builds brand equity and generates sales.

In a fleeting encounter with the shopper, packaging must grab her attention, tell the brand’s story, and evoke her desire to purchase.

It must not be conceived in isolation. On the shelf, where it meets consumers, packaging is surrounded by rivals competing to grab attention.

Thus, from a marketing standpoint, the key to effective packaging, lies in its ability to stand out. It needs to cut through the visual noise that engulfs it. It must get noticed.

Studies have shown that faces attract attention, more so if they are expressing emotion. As social beings, consumers seek eye contact.

Nature too is alluring. Though other considerations come into play, the Tropicana experience does suggest that the image of a fresh orange is more endearing than a glass of orange juice.

Typically, the consumer’s gaze is drawn to aberrations in her visual pathway, contrasts such as brighter facings, distinct shapes, or discontinuities between different shades of colour, and she likes aesthetically pleasing designs.

For instance, in Exhibit 14.3, the dark green Garnier packaging stands out from the lighter shades.

To attract attention the packaging should discriminate from competitors through choice of colour, shading, shape, typography and other design special effects. Yet this distinction must be contained within the context of the brand’s image. The packaging has to be unique to the brand, and distinct from competitors.

The packaging’s consumer journey may be summed up as a series of messages: “pick me”, “buy me”, “remember me”, “use me” and “replenish me”.

When the consumer gazes at the shelf, the pack urges her to “pick me”. It creates an instant impression that should trigger interest among new buyers and evoke loyalty from repeat buyers.

Once it is in her hands, the pack must convey the information she requires, and impart the value proposition that resonates and compels her to buy the brand.

When it is brought home, the pack serves as a cue to remind consumers about the product, to get them to use it, and importantly, to replenish it once it is consumed.

The packaging is constantly engaging with the consumer, persuading her to try it and continue buying it, strengthening her relationship with it and enhancing her affinity for it.

Creativity and consistency in packaging builds long lasting associations and memories. Yet it is important too that the packaging evolves over time, and that it remains fresh and contemporary.

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