Thursday, January 26, 2006

Packaging By The Numbers - Demographic Challenges

One of the most frequent questions I am asked about packaging is what's hot in packaging? Interestingly, the answer is not what you might think. What is hot in packaging now is determined by who is buying and where?

Never before has there been so much focus on the consumer. Historically, the popular notion was that the consumers know nothing about packaging. That being said it was believed that the customer could not know what they want or understand it. Have
you ever heard the phrase “designers design packaging?” Yes, in a limited sense it is true. But, what if your designer knows design but does not understand for whom they are designing? Unfortunately as much as we would like to believe it: Great package design doesn't equal increased sales. In fact, in a recent study I conducted it was proven that designers care much more about design elements such as shape than the general populace. That is unless the shape relates to the product’s functionality.

Now the package design focus has finally has begun to change to one based on consumer awareness. This factor should be driving all product-packaging decisions. I have seen some very interesting packaging campaigns that, on the surface, seem well thought out and logical. However, the reality is that they simply don't understand their consumer or their target demographics.

Let me give you an example. This past holiday season we were inundated with products packaged in pink. The companies fully expected to capture the women's market in record numbers. The truth is that the color pink only works in few appropriate product applications and is not the answer to capturing her attention to pick up your product off the shelf.

Where did this myth originate? If it’s pink, she will buy it. This suggests that marketers simply don't understand their target audience. They work off the unfortunate misconception that pink translates to female-friendly or that a product has to appear infeminine colors before it will appeal to her.

Here is a second example. Companies that market products to the 50+ generation that insist on identifying their products as ones designed for older, aging, mature or senior consumers. This is another great misconception. That generation simply cannot identify with that nomenclature. That is not how they think of themselves. In fact, using the terms older, mature, and elderly alienates rather than "connect" with this consumer. The average 50+ consumer thinks of themselves as 20 years younger than they are.

So how can you begin to capture these elusive and fast moving consumer demographics? First, forget stereotypes. Look at contemporary consumers. Get a sense of what motivates them in their purchasing decision. Keep your connotations about age and gender appropriate but don't typecast your consumer.

Second compel them to pick up your product though product packaging. Fulfill a need, offer an innovative feature, suggest convenience and ease of use, or tout other package attributes that appeal today's shopper. Remember, time is our most critical issue so think simple, easy, quick, and convenient.

Third, understand how and where they shop. What's driving today's purchasing decisions? What retail outlets are growing and what centers are in their demise? Where can someone shop and get virtually every thing the need and in a hurry?

Finally, know what the consumer expects out of products. How fresh is it? How and where can it be stored? How soon does it need to be consumed or used? How user friendly is it? How much will I have to read to make this product work?

Answering these questions should get you started thinking from a consumers perspective. Keep in mind the importance of who makes the purchasing decision too. If it’s her (women are the purchasing decision maker 80% of the time) then appeal to her wants and desires in your packaging.

Keep in mind that great design works when coupled with answering the question: How will this product make my life easier?

If you have a product that targets the 50 + generation I want to hear from you for my upcoming workshop "How to Sell And Connect With Boomers." Email me at Details TBA.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bombed Out With Boomers? Your Package May Be The Problem

Have you recently introduced a product for the 50+ market that isn't selling? Do you have a good product that you know is marketable, but it simply isn’t moving off the shelves? Your package may be the answer.

The first thing that you have to understand is that 70% of all purchasing decisions are made instantaneously at retail. More importantly, a consumer only allocates 2.6 seconds to deem your product worthy of picking it up from the shelf. If you are marketing to the 50+ generation there are even more important considerations.

So, what is going to differentiate your product from your competitor’s product? Putting a product into a generic package and saying it’s for 50+ simply doesn't work. You need to think about and understand what this age bracket wants on their product packaging.

In order to speak to this audience, ask yourself these few questions when you are doing the package design work.

Can this package be easily read? Readability of a package is the number one consumer concern for those over 50. Think aging eyes and why it's important to be able to read what is inside. Several companies have already taken notice of this fact. Most recently, Revlon launched what it calls the first mass makeup line specifically for women over 50 and it has bigger print on the package. Good move.

Can this product package be easily used, held, opened or carried? Manual dexterity diminishes with age, so if your products are hard to use in their package you are missing an important criteria for packaging products for over 50. This will continue to be an increasingly important issue as our population gets older. Add to that special consideration for people with ailments such as arthritis and it will compound the problem. There are many ways to solve this dexterity issue. Get creative about ways people can interact with the product. Most importantly compel them to pick it up.

Does this product create resonance? Are you telling them they are old, over the hill, aging, graying or other similar nomenclature? Forget it. This generation sees themselves not only as 20 years younger but also as active adults with many fulfilling years ahead of them. So don't talk down or indicate that your product is for someone who is old. Think about what will make them feel good about buying your product And WIIFM (What's in it for me?) Its not enough just to say what you will do. You need to be able to demonstrate and prove that its true to create brand loyalty.

One more insight that you need to factor in to your package decision. Contrary to popular belief the over 50 generation is NOT brand loyal. They will change brands and products for a products that fulfills their needs. So forget about the fact that they might have grown up on this brand. If it doesn't satisfy they will change to a product brand that will.

For more insights such as celebrity branding, colors, package features on what the largest purchasing demographic wants on your package, contact the #1 consumer product-packaging expert by email at or by phone at 678-594-6872 for a 15-minute consultation.

If you have a product that targets the 50 + generation I want to hear from you for my upcoming workshop "How to Sell And Connect With Boomers." Email me at Details TBA.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Packaging Diva Joins Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve

Kennesaw, GA - JoAnn Hines, the Packaging Diva, recently joined the renowned Popcorn BrainReserve as a TalentExpert for the packaging industry and related fields. In addition to the BrainReserve, Ms. Hines shares insights and trends gleaned from her 30 years in the packaging industry with numerous other think tanks and ideation companies. Her most recent project was "Packaging Products for Boomers."

Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve is the world's first and leading trend-based, future-focused, industry-agnostic marketing consultancy. Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve helps clients surpass their business goals through strategic positioning, Trend-based consumer insight, innovation leadership and brand/marketing strategy.

Contact JoAnn Hines, the Packaging Diva, if you need to package your products and drive consumers to buy them.

JoAnn R. Hines, 4290 Bells Ferry Road, Suite 106-17, Kennesaw, Georgia 30144 USA or 678-594-6872.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

13 Packaging Trends That Will Make Consumers Buy In 06

The packaging industry remains in a state of flux with mergers, acquisitions and buyouts every week. Yet, new products and new players appear every day. Despite it all, packaging is virtually recession proof. Simply put, a product needs a package to sell it, so where would we be without it? Here are some important packaging trends for 06 that cannot be overlooked by anyone who wants their products to sell.

Demographics Rule
If you are not on top of these trends then you had better begin to be. Who buys what is constantly in a state of change. Many marketers think that it is ok to have one universal package that appeals to every one. Wrong. Each target demographic has unique needs. Two very hot packaging demographics include women and boomers.

Note: The first boomer turned 60 years of age on 1/1/06. That means that the largest purchasing demographic can be uniquely identified through product packaging. If you don't know or understand what they want, ask me about my special report:
Packaging Products for Boomers.

Health Prevails
No matter what age they are, people are genuinely concerned about their health. They are watching what they consume. The better job you do in educating this consumer, the more products you can sell. Consumers will increase their awareness of what goes into the products they use or eat. A knowledgeable consumer will be your best customer and the package is where it all begins.

Big Brother IS Watching You
Yes, shades of 1984. With all the advances in intelligent packaging, product manufacturers really can tell what you buy and where. This is going to increase with the advent of new and innovative smart packaging applications. They ultimate goal will be to track every product from the manufacturer, consumer and disposal. There is quite a bit of interest around the “cradle to grave” concept.

Convenience Is King Or Queen
It's all about time or the lack of if. The more you can simplify consumers’ lives the more you will connect. Think of all the packaging categories that have developed around this concept. HMR-Home meal replacement, Grab and Go, and RTE-ready to eat categories all will continue to improve products and increase sales. Life is not getting any simpler for the majority of us so if you can't help through product packaging, step aside because other company’s products will.

One BIG Happy Family
Globalization will continue unabated. Don't just think US consumers. Some of the most intriguing products are not developed in the US. Other innovations will be seen in emerging markets that are not necessarily in NA.

Focus on Functionality
What can you do for me? Tell me why I should buy your product and what benefits I will receive from purchasing it. Don't obfuscate. Seventy percent of purchasing decisions are made in the store in 2.6 seconds. Get to the point and persuade me to buy. Otherwise, I'll spend my shopping dollars on a product that does.

DYI Body and Healthcare
Consumers are taking charge of their own well-being. They evaluate wellness and body care products on the deliverability of benefits. People are reading packages to become well informed about the value of the product.

Green and Greener
The environment is heating up (and I don't mean global warming). Companies are building brands around environmentally friendly products. Think about Wal-Mart and the use of corn-based plastics in the produce department. One major shift in consumer acceptance can cause a landslide of new product innovations.

Off the Wall Opportunities
Today's hot category could be tomorrow's loser. Trend tracking is where the latest action comes from. Be sure and seek out the latest trends and how they impact your business. If you are not marketing to women and the 50+ generation, you may be out of business soon.

Product Security Is Paramount
If you cannot prove that, your product is secure and hasn't been tampered with, look out. Just look at some recent examples: poisoned dog food and contaminated milk. Consumers are getting more and more wary of where products come from and how secure they remain though the manufacturing process. Look for many innovations that prevent counterfeiting, tampering, contaminating or any product degradation.

Think Value VS Price
What is this product going to do for me? I'll pay more if it solves a problem. A DuPont sponsored survey on behalf of Cryovac found that 72 percent of US consumers are willing to pay more for improved food and beverage packaging that guarantees freshness. Wow, that can move your product out of the commodity business in a hurry.

Product Saturation And Overkill
As more and more brands develop brand extensions, they are killing the category. Look at the growth of private label. Branded goods are going to have to work harder to capture a consumer’s attention. Advertising alone isn't getting the job done. The demand for private labels will continue to escalate at the expense of branded products.

Niche Me Please
There are lots of new and exciting niche markets just waiting for your products. Don’t overlook opportunities to market to new consumers in unconventional ways. Last but not least don’t overlook the Internet for you products. Remember packaging considerations for marketing online are different from conventional outlets.

So if you want to package products consumers will buy keep the above in mind and:
Look outside your industry for innovative packaging ideas.
Don't become so “industry” focused that you overlook
opportunities in other markets.
Get grounded in hot consumer trends.
Don't just package hype.
Deliver value in the form of benefits consumers will derive from buying your product.
Keep current on who is buying what and where and don’t rely on
what worked in the past.

Want to know more about the role of packaging?
Need to learn how to package products people will buy?
Just starting a business that needs to package products?
Need brainstorming about what packaging works in the current
Contact the #1 consumer product packaging expert by email at or by phone at 678-594-6872 for a free 15
minute consultation.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Packaging For Sex Toys Goes Mainstream

Packaging For Sex Toys Goes Mainstream
Well I was planning to give you my packaging predictions for 06
this week but this headline "From plain brown wrapper to the
drugstore shelf" in Chigaco Tribune spurred me to "capture the
moment" and share my insights, so the 06 packaging predictions
will have to wait until next week.

Its very interesting how many of my predicted trends have been
mentioned in the news lately but this one just jumped out at me
because I just spoke about it at the IIR Marketing to Women
Conference in Dec. It was one of the points I made about looking
for opportunities to market to women in a nontraditional manner and
in new and interesting places.

Quotes from my December report:
"Another unusual category marketing specifically to women has
been the development of packaging for sexually related products.
Previously marketed under a brown paper wrapper. just kidding."

"Other sexually oriented products are now appearing in mainstream
markets with packaging and messages developed specifically for

So what additional valuable insights did I offer on how to
package products
she will buy?
Is it best to use pink packaging or not?
The answer is sometimes and the report will tell you why.
But the number one packaging color picked by women was blue.
Find out what was #2 and what colors did she not like at all.

What will make her pick your product up off the shelf?
That has to occur before she can consider making a purchasing

To get all the answers to these questions and many more
order my special report "If You Package It, Will She Buy?"

Among many of the insights included are these specific product
alcohol and wine, bottled water, food, non traditional women's
products, female oriented products, sexual enhancement and well being
products and pet food.

The complete PowerPoint slide and text report that answers alll
thes questions and more is available for only $99.

To order via credit card email us at .