Packaging directly influences how a consumer views a product, so it has the power to make a brand stand out from the rest. If a customer is holding two lipsticks, and one has a witty slogan that tells them "you would look great with me", you will be surprised at how many choose the brand that has paid extra attention to their packaging just because of this one small detail.
In this post, you will find a comprehensive guide to standing out as a brand, inspired by tried and tested case studies. These brands are pioneering innovative packaging, which has positioned them as market leaders.
1. Packaging & Technology
In recent years there has been an explosion in technology. From mobile phones that outperform some professional cameras to life-saving advancements in medicine, technology has revolutionised our day to day life - but did you know that it can be harnessed for product packaging too? Brands have recently been incorporating technology into their packaging, to provide their consumers with a more engaging experience.
As consumers shift to value organic produce over affordability, brands are in turn using technology to support their eco-friendly ethos. American egg brand, Vital Farms, fuse technology with packaging by printing a link on their cartons to an augmented reality video. The clip places the viewer on the farm, amongst the chickens, watching them roam free. Though the company already claim to be free-range, their use of technology backs up the statement and positions them ahead of their competitors.
2. Expanding the Product
A good product will have a hook, commonly reinforced through their packaging. The Ordinary is organic so use clean, simple packaging, Gucci is luxurious so invest in high-quality boxes and Pringles are a party snack so are designed for sharing with friends. Each brand knows what their product stands for, so uses its packaging as an extension of the hook.
Paqui is a confectionary brand that specialises in extra-spicy tortilla chips, so their packaging reinforces this. As an expansion of the product, they sell individual crisps for $4.99, encased in stylistic packaging. But why would a customer buy a single tortilla chip for five dollars? Well, the packaging. Paqui uses imagery of the grim reaper to challenge their consumer to try the spicy chip, testing to see if they are up to the test. It is no longer a snack, but a mission - "The One Chip Challenge".
A handful of particularly innovative brands have started to use their packaging for more than one function. This multi-use easily sets them apart from the crowd, enticing customers to buy the product not just for the item itself, but for what the packaging has to offer. Usually, a consumer opens the packaging then throws it away, but if the box is multi-functional then it serves more than one purpose. Such packaging will stay with the consumer, leaving a positive impression.
When Pizza Hut re-invented its packaging in 2016, the response from their consumers was immediate. They produced a box that turned into a Bluetooth turntable once it was unfolded, immediately transforming an ordinary takeaway night into a pizza party for budding DJ's. Pizza Hut knew that their product was commonly ordered by a group of friends, so capitalised on the target audience through their multi-functional packaging.
4. Packaging Meets Functionality
With the landscape of packaging constantly changing, sometimes maintaining the product's functionality can set you apart from the competition. Though the box, bottle or bag should be fun and exciting, its main focus should always be to aid the usability of the product. If the packaging stands in the way of the product, then it ceases to have a purpose - packaging should always compliment the product.
No matter where in the world you come from, everyone knows not to shake fizzy drinks. The carbonated products have produced countless comical videos on the internet due to their volatile nature, and have been used in a number of pranks for decades - but this was a problem for Orangina. The soft drink needs to be mixed before it is consumed, so designers positioned the opening at bottom of the cans, forcing the consumer to turn it upsidedown. This inadvertently mixed the drink, so it was in optimum condition for the consumer to enjoy.
5. Political Statements
Though treacherous, more brands are making political statements through their products. For some this may mean addressing inequality, for others, they may use a political figure as a source of comedy. Either way, businesses are expected to take a stand for what is right. When this goes wrong, they may lose customers, but when this goes well they gain international respect. The message should be authentic and reflect the general ethos of the brand.
Brawny is a brand that produces paper towels, but "brawny" as a term connotes strength, power and masculinity. When the business realised that this was marginalising half of their customers, they took a stand. For the first time, Brawny featured a female figure on their packaging, with a statement reading "#strengthhasnogender", firmly distancing themselves from any previous gender stereotypes. Since 2017, the brand has been making a statement on gender inequality and has even donated $75,000 to women's charities.
As long as a product's packaging serves its primary purpose, containing a product, then brand's are open to invent new and exciting ways to draw consumers in.