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Why Is Packaging Such An Important Marketing Tool

From my point of view, packaging is arguably the most important tool in the marketers shed. You heard right, you should be thinking of packaging design as The most important marketing tool of connecting with your consumer. It’s more than just a pack on the shelf. Especially in the FMCG environment.

Consumers these days are now becoming less brand loyal. To somewhat validate this claim, I read an interesting piece of research the other day that said consumers are LESS brand loyal with the products they purchase frequently.

Seems counter intuitive right? You would think that consumers would be loyal to those they purchase frequently. Well, the catch is that the majority of these products are low-involvement purchases with a plethora of competitors. As a result, consumers are quite happy to try alternatives.

This poses a threat for brand marketers. You can spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns, promotions, raising brand awareness etc. but ultimately lose the sale in the aisle. Why? Because someone else was smarter with their number one tool – packaging.

Packaging is your final pitch...

We’ve said this before but it’s so important to understand that your packaging is the final pitch. You need to start seeing packaging as ‘the tool’ not just something that looks pretty and “houses” your product.

But the reality is that many marketers don’t hold packaging in the high esteem it should be. It’s such a crucial element to driving sales for your brand, and yet many marketers view it as a burden – something that has to be done. Worse is when marketers see packaging as an opportunity to showcase that list of features and benefits for their product. Quite honestly, packaging 101 mistakes. It signals to consumers that you don’t know who your brand is and what they stand for. If you don’t know what you stand for, then why should a consumer purchase your product?

product packaging grocery aisle

Using packaging as a marketing tool

With the growth in digital printing this has only added value to using packaging as a marketing tool. Consumer’s today want products that relate to them as individuals. For example, a shared belief in something (sporting team, lifestyle choice/lifestyle stage, suburb, gender), digital printing has meant you are able to develop personalised messaging for each of these without the additional costs of traditional printing methods.

We understand though that, not everyone has access to digital printing technologies but that doesn’t mean you should treat your packaging any differently. Personalised messaging has a direct correlation with sales. However, if you are smart about your packaging design you can create an emotional connection with the consumer, making it an extremely effective marketing tool.

You’re probably thinking ‘really is that true?’ Well guess what we have proof! One of our favourites is a little brand called Bills Organic Sourdough Bakery, who we assisted in building an emotional connection with their consumers through the packaging. The results were an increase in sales by 25% within the first two weeks of being on shelf. Not a single dollar was spent on additional marketing efforts.

But there’s a catch...

I’m sure I’ve convinced you that packaging is your most valuable marketing tool. However, this doesn’t mean you should rush off and update your packaging design immediately. You need to ask yourself a few key questions first:

  1. Do you know who your brand is? I mean this seriously… What’s the heart and soul of your brand?
  2. What does it stand for? This has to be emotional…
  3. What is the one key value that sets you apart from all your competitors? Again, this has to be emotional, it can’t be a whiz bang snazzy product feature.
  4. Does this add value to your constraints? If you can answer the above three questions then you’ll know the answer to this.

They seem like pretty simple questions. But they’re not. You would be surprised at how many marketers can’t actually answer them. The reason is. Because we often look at our brands and the answers to these questions on a superficial level, we view them as 2D.

In reality, we should be answering these questions in relation to the heart of your brand – the core essence that you love and feel connected to. If you find this and have the answers to the questions then you’re a winner!

It’s what any good packaging agency will cover prior to starting on any work and if they don’t…well if it was me? I’d be concerned about the results to follow. One of our founders’ favourite saying is “we can produce the most beautiful packaging designs in the world, but if they don’t translate to sales, they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on”.

So think about this the next time you’re updating your packaging. Does your agency or designer truly understand the heart of your brand? If the answers are no, it’s not going to translate your packaging design and you’ve missed a crucial opportunity to hero your number one tool in marketing – packaging.

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