When packaging shapes brand image

Being the only tangible touch-points in a marketing mix, designing and packaging are critical in creating a brand experience

e4m by Saloni Surti
Updated: Feb 7, 2013 10:23 PM
When packaging shapes brand image

For every brand, it is the moment of truth when a consumer holds the product in her hands and decides whether or not it goes in her shopping bag and that decision depends a lot on the kind of communication the product is able to generate with the consumer.

A product’s packaging and designing play a very important role. Being the only tangible touch-points in a marketing mix, designing and packaging are critical in creating a brand experience.

“Today’s consumer needs to be stimulated by the brand packaging and design of a product due to the high level of competition in each market segment. This becomes an important factor in a buying decision for a consumer. They are keen to be informed, inspired, tempted and pampered by surprising and persuasive functions, emotions and sensual impressions,” said Shekhar Badve, Founder Director (Strategy and Marketing), Lokusdesign.

For a very long time ‘Bisleri’ was synonymous with mineral water. However, the packaged water industry in India saw a radical change in which premium packaging and an appearance change played a prominent role.

Bisleri lost its market share to a number of competitors, which was then revived through a change in its packaging and designing. The brand launched new sizes of packages, which were then normally not available and also created a better presentation by using vertical display on flat sleeved bottles.

With the increasing competition, packaging and designing have been critical in the packaged water segment. The Narang Group’s Qua water range provides a range of mineral water packaged in lean bottles with defined edges, Kinley packages water in finely curvaceous bottles and Aquafina has well rounded packaging, thus giving each brand a unique identity.

“When there is very little differentiation between technology or formulations, product design is the only differentiator that can not only satisfy the latent needs, but also delight the users. Product design is not only a marketing activity, it is deeper than that and has to become a part of the brand DNA,” said Ashwini Deshpande, Director, Elephant Strategy + Design.

Every cut, every stroke and every colour used to design a package should play a specific role in communicating the brand’s message to the consumers. A wrong combination of either of the elements can result into a failure in communication with the target audience.

For instance, Nestle’s Bar One initially had a red and silver packing. The chocolate received strong competition from Cadbury’s Five Star and thus suffered from low trials. The major problem was that the consumers were not aware that the product gave the same chewy 'caramel inside' experience as Five Star. A research later decoded that gold as a colour defined the (caramel inside) category and the package colour combination was then shifted from red and silver to red and gold, resulting in an increased market share for Bar One.

Commenting on the importance of every element in a design, Preeti Vyas, CEO, Vyas Giannetti Creative said, “While creating a package design or logo, one has to understand the consumers for that product, what kind of a product it is and what is its business objective? Also, you have to see how the competing products are designed. A package design usually stays for decades; thus, every element in it should be thought through and should be able to strengthen the product’s brand position.”

Packaging, logo and designing play a very important role not only in the traditional marketing mix but also in comparatively modern business concepts such as ‘brand stretches’. Brand stretches refer to parent brand venturing into new arenas by creating new range of products that might or might not be related to their usual range of products.

Packaging, logo and designing play a very important role in brand stretches because the look of the product has to maintain the parent brand’s identity and at the same time also set the product apart to display its novel features.

One of the most successful brand stretches in the recent past was that of Parachute Body Lotion. While the parent company is more into hair care products, it ventured into skin care. The brand created a curvaceous package with subtle colours that indicates its ‘soft skin to touch’ message and at the same time, the logo had the coconut tree which implied the strengths of the parent product.

Packaging, logo and designing have come a long way from their purpose of merely holding the product and stating the name. The trend of these elements is now more towards extending market share of the product, enhancing its shelf-life, provide greater brand experience and eventually produce economic packages. And with the arrival of supermarkets, presence of global brands and increasing exposure that the consumers get, the importance of packaging and designing will only get more critical in the coming years.

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