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Brands use packaging to stand out on the shelf, communicate core values

3 min read


(Photo: Newscred)

Packaging has always been important to a product’s success. Iconic bottles, boxes and other containers have helped elevate certain products to icon status, and many consumers need only a few seconds to scan the shelves to identify their favorite products by sight. With the growing number of products in the grocery channel and consumers’ evolving expectations, having the right package is essential for companies looking to differentiate their product from the competition.

“The right package is often the only thing that can help a new product stand out on shelf. In this day and age of lower spends on new product launches, they rarely have a large number of facings, or ideal placement when they first arrive on shelf. Without these advantages, the package itself has to do all of the work to get shoppers to notice it and convert to purchase,” said Rich Scamehorn, chief researcher at InContext Solutions, which conducts virtual store research for a variety of industries, including consumer packaged goods.

Scamehorn said, “the most common changes to a product after conducting a virtual store test are to adjust the package graphics and background … They may also make adjustments to how the message is being communicated, or add elements to help make that conversion communication more effective.”

A package that displays just the facts about a product isn’t enough to drive conversion. Shoppers are looking for brands and products that project an image that meshes with their lifestyle.

“Consumers, and especially millennial consumers, are doing a lot of judgements right at the shelf … What we’re finding now is that they’re using these new cues when looking at packaging, that it’s not so much just about the call-outs on the front or the color,” said Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. She said shoppers are increasingly using packaging to make a “judgement call on the company, and what that company stands for,” and it is important for brands to use their packaging to communicate not the just features of their products, but the company values — such as sustainability, health or value for the money.

Demeritt said every aspect of the package goes into creating this company narrative, from the materials used to the number of ingredients listed to the images of the product. For example, a brand that has natural formulations as one its core values may choose to use images of a product’s raw ingredients —  rather than the finished product — on the front of the package.

Some brands are taking the idea of the company narrative to the next level by looking to elicit an emotional response in consumers who interact with their packaging, Packaging Digest reports.  Unilever created new package for its Lipton Tea that ties back to the brand’s ““Brighten your day with Lipton tea” tagline. Tea bags are bundled in gold foil pouches that resemble gold bars, and a leaf-shaped cutout on the front of the package gives the consumer a glimpse of the “treasure” inside.

How is your company using packaging to stand out on the shelf and communicate with consumers? Tell us about it in the comments.


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