The way you are perceived by the public can be manipulated by more than a carefully-placed advertisement or perfectly-timed press release.
The way your product looks is part of merchandising. And the company that shrugs off merchandising is ignoring the purchasing public. The fact of the matter is this: people tend to purchase products that are pleasing to the eye and have understandable product labels.
If you spend much of your advertising dollars on newspaper ads and commercials, but neglect the label and where your product appears on the shelf, you’re losing precious dollars to the competition.
Creating a high performance package can actually take longer and cost more than developing your product in the first place. But a good package is worth the extra cost; for many products, the package is the main reason the product sells.
Packaging as a marketing ploy
More and more, the packaging of the product has to convey a message to the consumer. It is not enough to have a good product anymore. Consumers really don’t see the product when they are shopping – they see the package.
You need to think of packaging as advertising. As with your company logo, all the elements of your package must work together to convince consumers to buy the product. A well-packaged product stands out from the clutter of items fighting for attention.
There are, of course, several design elements you can use to create that impact, but the first step in designing your package is to define your marketing objectives through a thorough market analysis. You want to carve a niche for yourself which differentiates your product from your competition.
It is a good idea to stay away from me-too designs which bear a close resemblance to well-known national brands. Try to be as distinctive as possible in your packaging.
Should you get professional assistance with packaging? No one knows your product and the benefits that should be highlighted better than you. It will be up to you to carefully and specifically direct the designer, should you choose one, to ensure the correct message is delivered.
A package isn’t a last minute detail; it’s a vital component in your product’s success. If your product is worth introducing, it’s worth doing right.
A good package design performs five important tasks:
Shows the product’s purpose. The ideal way to present any product is to show someone using it. A picture of the product alone doesn’t work nearly as well.
Identifies the product’s target customer. One reason for including people in the packaging is it helps consumers recognise products designed for their needs.
Clearly shows the product’s benefits. Don’t place too much emphasis on individual features, as potential buyers will lose sight of the product’s overall benefit.
Establishes that the product is different. If you fail to differentiate your product, you will have a difficult time getting shelf space in retail stores. Stores typically won’t carry an item from a small or single product company unless it offers customers a product choice they don’t already have.
Creates a price point in the consumer’s mind. A successful product communicates the product’s approximate value. As a rule, lower priced products in any category have lower quality packaging, while high priced products have high quality packaging. Buyers use packaging as one criterion in selecting which products they buy.