Marketers think that if their brands are better than their competitors’ brands in terms of ‘quality’, ‘value for money’, ‘products’, ‘advertising’, ‘customer focus’ and ‘innovations’ then they can stay ahead in terms of market share.
Though all the mentioned factors are necessary for survival, they are not sufficient for thriving in today’s unforgiving and competitive world. One more important factor plays the critical role in brands’ success as it’s the last point relationship connect between brands and customers, and that factor is ‘packaging’.
To stay ahead in terms of market share, brands have to stay ahead in terms of mindshare and to stay ahead in terms of mindshare, brands have to stay ahead in terms of packaging.
ABC represents the starting of journey. Let’s go through the journey covering importance of packaging and pick up a few learnings from packaging strategies of successful brands.
Connect emotionally: Visuals and messaging have power to establish emotional connect. Eye-catching colours, fonts, graphics, images and catchy lines can evoke memories and specific feelings in customers. For example, Coke brand’s red color, wave graphic, iconic bottle shape, typographic logo etc. amplify the emotional connect with the brand. Another example, Aashirwad Atta’s package design showcases farming process in the rural India in the form of a Madhubani painting.
Differentiate commodities: Commodities are so basic that they are not differentiated by anything other than price. But packaging can make commodities differentiable. To illustrate this premise, we can consider example of namkeen. Namkeen is a commoditized product made from ingredients such as gram flour and besan. But, Haldiram — an iconic brand in namkeens is differentiable from numerous competitors and one of the important factors of this differentiation is its presentable packaging. Its packaging has not only differentiated the brand, but also created a premium perception about a commodity.
Communicate Details: Packages contain details of nutrition value, ingredients, price, quantity, warnings, date of manufacture and expiry, brand name, company name, address, number, authority approvals such as ISI mark etc.
This information not only helps customers in making faster buying decisions but also helps sellers in quicker selling as they have to remember lesser things about many brands and products they sell. For example, package of Aashirwad Atta communicates that atta is made from 100% MP ‘sharbati’ wheat, and doesn’t have maida.
Protect Product: Packages allow people to use things that are produced far away and a while ago. It makes sure that items arrive unspoiled and users feel good about items.
For example, Domino’s corrugated pizza box keeps pizza safe while delivery and doesn’t allow cheese to stick to the top. Also, its insulating bags keep pizzas hot during delivery. Moreover, packages such as folding boxes and thermocols etc. protect items from breakage and make it easier to transport and store the goods. For example, Flipkart and Amazon have been able to transport fragile products such as televisions, laptops etc. from their warehouses to all over India because of protective packaging.
Enable Sales: In supermarkets for every category, there are multiple brands and interestingly, salesmen don’t try to hard sell brands and we get freedom to choose what we like. Here, instead of people, selling is done by packages.Packages create temptation. We notice the brands with attractive packages, pick them up and place one of the chosen brands in our shopping cart. For example, Paperboat's pouch packaging stands out in the tetra pak jungle of juices. This package gives feeling of squeezing an actual fruit. Additionally, artsy doodles and a nostalgia inducing tagline – ‘drinks and memories’ create a positive anticipation of the flavours.
Customize Consumption: In different scenarios, different consumers have different consumption patterns. Sometimes consumers prefer bigger containers as they can use the product for longer duration and lesser trips to departmental store. Sometimes consumers prefer sachets as they allow to use premium product at an affordable cost or try an unknown product in lesser quantity.
Sometimes consumers like the smaller size because it is more convenient to store or carry for example, ketchup sachet are more popular in a lunch box or fast food takeaway and bottles are popular at homes.
Packaging helps consumers buy products as per their customized consumption patterns. For example, Parachute coconut hair oil comes in packages of various sizes and materials. Plastic bottles are more convenient to pour and more attractive to keep on the shelf. But in winter, coconut oil freezes, so people prefer tin containers with a wide mouth and a spout. For one time consumption, it also comes in sachet in the form of one-rupee mini-bottles.
Gives Image: Packages give image to products including commodities that are in themselves characterless. Water is a color less commodity, but bottled water companies sell it in their branded bottles and charge different prices based on image created through brand name, water source, quality, and packaging quality.
For example there are many local brands that are sold for lesser price than popular brands PepsiCo's Aquafina, Coca-Cola's Kinley and Parle's Bisleri. At the same time, Tata’s Himalayan brand is sold for higher price as it is positioned as packaged water sourced from the Himalayan springs. Additionally, its packaging including bottle and label colors is different from other competitive brands.
Market Sellers: Plastic and paper bags are common forms of packaging, used for transporting goods such as apparels, foods, toys, grocery.
They are often printed with the store’s logo, brands name and colors and provide brands and retailers an opportunity to continuously market their name on streets. For example: Hamleys and Zara are globally known toy shop and apparel brands respectively. Their branding is beautifully printed on their carry bags. Even Indian supermarkets such as D-Mart and Big Bazaar have their carry bags printed with their names and brand colors.
Express Respect: Gifts given during occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings, baby shower etc. have their own importance. Decorative packaging, consisting of gift wrap, ribbons, gift box, acts as a great way to express respect. It helps in developing a favorable attitude of receiver towards presenter.
Moreover there are global companies that provide innovative collection of gift packaging. For example, Hallmark and PAPYRUS offer artist-designed and high-quality gift wraps collectionthat helps people to add their creative touches to gifts and look them special.
Drive Attention: Packages play an important role in getting customers’ attention by providing product distinction giving expensive looks through their designs. Bottle is a form of package used to carry liquids such as liquors and perfumes. Even before taste and fragrance, consumers are encouraged to buy liquors and perfumes through their bottlesi.e. packages. Beautiful liquor bottles in bars and perfume bottles on dressing tables remain with the customers till the life time of product.
Their beauty drives attention of friends and family members till the time packages are present with buyers. For example, Absolut Vodka bottle is considered as a trendsetter among the design community. From perfumes perspective, Giorgio Armani Perfumes have elegant, classic and sophisticated look that catches attention.
Every journey has a start and end. If ABC was starting of the package journey, XYZ is the ending. After fulfilling the above mentioned purposes, packages get gathered up with product users, take up space and lose their attraction. Sooner or later, packages become worthless and land up with garbage collectors.
(Views expressed are author's personal and don't necessarily represent any company's opinions.)