Do you know the 4 elements of the packaging?

The lethal mistakes that condemn even the most valuable products not to sell are usually two and always relate to their packaging.

They are committed by the companies themselves, without being aware of them – small companies and large and structured ones – in the moment managers take some fundamental decisions.

The most common mistake is to take a “no decision”, or leave the choice of packaging as a last-minute item, of course, as if it were a minor detail.

However, if you want to do things correctly and decide to invest, you go straight towards a creative agency outsourcing the work in their hands and trusting in the magic formula of creativity that usually boils down to:

Creativity2 x Intuition2

                                         —————————————–  =  Guaranteed Failure

Variables out of control

Have I been a little exaggerated? Personally, I do not think so, but the fact is that the choice of packaging should be taken very carefully. To me it means to reason about specific and scientific elements (through a rigorous briefing with the client and careful analysis of market and target audience) and to use, at a later stage, the creative tools to achieve the principal objective: to increase sales.

After a careful analysis, it is also essential to integrate perfectly the idea with the 4 key elements that involve each product


Why should the packaging integrate seamlessly with your corporate image?

The packaging of a product is involved in at least four business divisions:

  1.  Sales (it creates the motivation of being purchased at point of sale)
  2. Communications (it helps communicate your corporate message and, obviously, the message connected to the product)
  3. Marketing (it’s a piece of your strategy and can convey special promotions)
  4. Logistics (its characteristics affect sales, the efficient management of logistics and its costs)

It means that every time you decide shape, structure and visual message of the package that contains your products, you should make sure that these four divisions had been involved directly, with consistency.

Looking at things from the perspective of the consumer, we realize that the image of your products contributes (in addition to the simple sale) to reinforce, confirm and consolidate in our mind the idea that we have about the brand.


If the company says “A”, the packaging cannot say “B”

That is why during the development of a functional packaging is always necessary to involve all the key resources during the briefing session (I talked about how to participate in a briefing session in this post).

Considerations about brand identity, what is communicated and distinctive features that characterize the brand itself (the whole corporation and not a single product) are mandatory evaluations in order to:

  • making the most of the investments made so far with respect to its corporate image (especially applies to small and medium-sized enterprises who can afford less and less to make mistakes)
  • not creating conflicting messages, harmful to both sales and brand; if faced with any conflicting or confusing message, the consumer reacts simply: does not buy it.

An extreme: Could an infusion made by a company recognized for its organic and eco-friendly choices opt for an aggressive image as if it were a super energy drink or an alcoholic beverage counteracting the message of the brand itself?

I have not seen yet a lemongrass tea in a can of Redbull. But, I do see constantly products that do not seem to belong to the company that produces them.

In this way, the product does not benefit from the strength of the brand that has behind it, the brand is not reinforced by a product that puts on the market and, in the worst case, the consumer associates product and brand and, not being able to resolve the message conflict, DOES NOT buy.


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In summary 3 tips:

  1. Involve all the key figures in the initial briefing (this step is crucial!)
  2. Communicate clearly the concepts that characterize your brand (those recognized and those you would like to reinforce thanks to the packaging)
  3. Make the involved divisions to communicate in order to create common and shared guidelines

Personally, I’m really tired, and fed up, of agencies that approach the packaging development by adopting the typical behavior “I do not see, do not hear and do not speak.”

Selling to the client and not for the client, the success of the packaging is certainly not measured by winning a prize for creativity, but much more by the Nielsen data and by increasing its weighted average.

There is much talk of coordinated corporate image, but this should not be limited to putting a logo on stationery, company cars and website. The real opportunity you have to take advantage of is to get into the consumer’s home, getting his attention with the packaging, the only tangible tool able to get in his hands.

Now that you have seen the difference between a functional packaging for sales (able to speak to your consumers and designed to increase sales of the product) and a “creative” packaging, completely disconnected from market and consumers realities, you will have understood the importance of a precise marketing strategy that includes the packaging as determining tool for the success of your product.

What is certain is that not reacting, not investing and continuing to underestimate the potential of the visual communication of your package is a certain road that will take your best products to failure.

How can an SME optimize its own communication through dedicated packaging choices? Contact me to find out how we can help you.




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