“I’m branded. I just need you to do the packaging.” This is usually followed by the discovery that the client has a logo and some nice stationery. A logo is not a brand, and applying a logo to a bottle and box certainly doesn’t constitute a compelling package. Unfortunately, it is just not that simple.
A brand is a promise that becomes an expectation. The bottle, jar, tube, or box that houses that product are the promise of what’s contained inside, and its design is critical to moving your product not only off the shelf but into the consumer’s heart and mind.
Just like branding, the package development process should be strategic and thoughtful because it’s often the first consumer touch point and a key element that will define the experience with your brand. Packaging should function as a physical brand signal that provides a unique opportunity to express your brand’s intent through a multi-sensory experience that connects your brand to the consumer through its look, smell, and feel, as well as to the ritual of opening it.
Strong brands are clear about what they represent. Following are five key elements that should be applied from your brand architecture during the package development process.
Core Values Your packaging must support and reflect your brand’s value system. Identification of all core values that may have an implication on packaging choices is imperative.
Brand Positioning The positioning of your brand identifies the demographic and potential distribution channels. It is important to identify the channel and position to ensure the packaging resonates with the appropriate consumer and works in the retail outlet.
Communication Determining what and how to communicate, developing a naming system, and ensuring the voice on the package is reflective of the overall brand are the first steps. The next step is setting a hierarchy for this information on both the primary and secondary package.
Graphic Guidelines Establishing visual guidelines related to color palette, typography, logo, and the application of each ensures consistency in the package as the brand expands.
Experience The interaction with the packaging structure and materials makes an impression. The experience of the package can be simple and utilitarian or elevated to a ritual, but it should not be overlooked and should represent the brand.
Competition in the mind of consumers and on shelves is fierce. The truth is, first impressions at the point of sale play a significant role in the purchasing decision for consumers. This means your package needs to be a solid component of your brand identity that either compels the consumer to try something new or is immediately recognizable for the consumer that has used your product before.
Logos and packaging are simply identifiers of your brand. They derive their meaning from the quality of the product and service they symbolize. The intrinsic value placed on both in the consumer’s mind is the result of a collection of experiences and associations with your company and product at all touch points. The package is just one very important element in the brand ecosystem that ultimately creates and defines a brand.
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