‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ – so the saying goes, but in reality we judge most things by their covers. The book cover (packaging) that your product is in is often the first impression that consumers have of your product. If that first look at the product packaging is a positive one, your customer will have a better opinion of the product.
Packaging can make a huge difference to the way consumers think and feel about your product or brand. It’s no longer just seen as a necessity, as a way of transporting or protecting a product. Packaging is now an integral part of a product or an extension of a brand. The design, the colour scheme, the imagery and even the material used can have an impact on the way consumers view your product.
Packaging plays a critical role in the sales process and is therefore a vital marketing and communication tool. It allows you to:
- communicate and engage with your customers in a way that supports your branding
- differentiate your brand from others. It helps you to have a point of difference so that your product is memorable, easily recognised and stands out in a crowd
- convey the personality of your brand as well as your core values and environmental credentials. Your product packaging is an extension of your brand.
To ensure you are using your packaging in the most effective way, as a tool to market your product and drive engagement and sales, you need to know how it’s performing. The way to do this is to ask your customers.
Coregeo asked this question on behalf of some fresh produce brands like Tenderstem® and Bimi® broccoli and Pink Lady® apples. They asked consumer research groups what they wanted from the packaging when choosing a product in the fruit or vegetable aisles of the supermarket. Would it make a difference to their purchasing behaviour if the fruit was packaged in a different or more sustainable way?
Consumers in the UK, Germany and Spain took part in the research* to help Coregeo understand consumer attitudes towards fruit and vegetable packaging and to explore attitudes and preferences towards more sustainable packaging formats. The aim was to ensure that the packaging strategy aligned with consumers’ expectations and opinions and also matched the overarching branding and marketing strategy. Consistency is key when it comes to getting your message across, whether it’s on a social media post, in an e-newsletter or on a product’s packaging.
Unsurprisingly, the research confirmed that consumers want packaging that primarily provides Convenience, Hygiene and Protection from damage. Packaging that allows consumers to clearly see the product so they can check the quality, freshness and any defects was deemed crucial in all countries undertaking the research. But consumers also care about the impact that packaging is having on our environment. Therefore, they want suppliers and retailers to proactively source more sustainable packaging solutions which can in turn create a competitive advantage.
By tapping into what customers need, want and like/dislike, you can reach them more effectively, using insight and intelligence to stay on top of trends and ahead of the competition. All brands evolve over time and you may have a changing customer profile or customers with different needs in different territories. Customers may place greater importance on sustainable packaging or ethical trading practices while topical events can also impact on opinions. For instance, during the coronavirus pandemic, hygiene became an even more important consideration when consumers were asked about attitudes to packaging. It is only by asking them and understanding their perceptions and motivations, that you can know what drives their purchasing decisions on a practical and on an emotional level.
So ask yourself:
1. Does your packaging align with your brand identity? It should reflect the brand’s personality.
2. Does the packaging appeal to your target market, enabling you to connect with them?
3. Does the packaging stand out, especially against competitors?
4. What is the one thing that customers remember about the messaging or the visual on the packaging and is it the right thing ie the most important thing?
Your packaging is the gateway to your product. You want shoppers to judge your product by its cover and you want them to be gripped by that first impression, which really does count.
If you want to find out more about the importance of packaging to your brand, contact us HERE – insert link.
* (Fruit and Vegetable Packaging Research conducted by Elephants Can’t Jump, June 2020)