Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tips For Packaging Products SHE Will Buy

Women make or influence 85% of the purchasing decisions in today's marketplace. Consumer goods companies are finally waking up to that fact. Unfortunately, just taking the man off the box and replacing it with a woman is not the answer. Nor is it to use pink or other traditionally feminine colors for the packaging.

So what product packaging appeals to women? What will entice her to pick your product off the shelf? What siren screams, "Buy me" as she walks down the aisle? The answers are different than you might think.

First, you need to connect with her on an intrinsic level. Do you understand why she is making the purchase? Alternatively, you need to know where she will be shopping. One thing is for sure, she will be in a hurry. Today's women are over worked, time crunched, and busy multi-tasking. How are you going to help her make an informed purchasing decision?

When she comes to buy, she will dedicate about 2.6 seconds to the decision. (70% of purchases are in store, instantaneous decisions). So what will make her pick your product off the shelf?

We all know color is a big influencer when it comes to making a product purchasing decision. However, what color will appeal to her? Besides its success in the well-established "Think Pink" campaign for breast cancer, pink is one of the least preferred colors in product packaging. Blue ranks as women's the number one choice followed closely by red.

Does your packaging clearly illustrate the benefits driven product statement? Remember, she is in a hurry. Your package should scream the product's benefits. Convince her quickly that your product will simplify her life while being easy to use. Ease of use ranks high among female-friendly attributes along with simplicity of instructions. Keep away from engineering benefits driven statements. She doesn't really care how the product works as long as it works effectively and every time.

What about the size of the package? Products in general are evolving to smaller sizes. Our lifestyle mandates that products are easily consumed in a short period or that they are easily handled and storable. She will pay a premium for it too if you can convince her it's worth it.

As you design product packaging to target purchasing's number one decision maker, stay true to ways to make her life easier, simplified, and more efficient.

To find out more about who is buying what, come here the Packaging Diva @

Packaging for Profit: Attracting the Baby Boomers
Date: Tuesday 05/23/2006 Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Room 1C03
Women make or influence 85% of the purchasing decisions in today's marketplace. Consumer goods companies are finally waking up to that fact. Unfortunately, just taking the man off the box and replacing it with a woman is not the answer. Nor is it to use pink or other traditionally feminine colors for the packaging.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Has Your Packaging Gone To The Dogs?

Whether it's for Fido or for Morris, the market for pet products in "nontraditional" outlets (specific to retail outlets outside the traditional pet store venue) should reach nearly $4.2 billion by 2010, according to Market Trends. This area is expected to grow as pet products move into the luxury and "lifestyle" category such as diamond studded collars or designer duds for your pet. Companies like as Eddie Bauer and Louis Vitton are making luxury pet accessories and “must have” pet products. After all, your pet is the most important part of the family. (Just kidding!) But seriously, there is more money spent on things for pets than on babies - a lot more.

Remember last week when I asked "What's In You Bottle?" Well, it turns out that dogs have special bottled water too. "PetRefresh® is the only water available today that is specifically designed for the daily hydration needs of pets. Not a treat, but a core nutrient for better health." Also a new water product for dogs, OOH's "Pup Cups", is water in a cup for dogs on the go. They got great brand recognition by donating water to the Humane Society for Hurricane Katrina canine victims. I just love this one: K9 Water Co., a Valencia, Calif.-based company, is selling a line of vitamin-enriched bottled waters for dogs over the Internet.
http://www.k9waterco.com/. A four-pack comes in four flavors -- Toilet Water (chicken), Gutter Water (beef), Puddle Water (liver) and Hose Water (lamb).

The humanization of pets is more than just as part of the family; they are living longer and healthier lives. There are all kinds of innovations in pet "goodies." The list of packaged things for your dog is endless. In fact, there is even a new word coined, pupperware, to describe this niche. Pupperware n. Dog accessories and toys, particularly ones demonstrated and sold at in-home parties. [Blend of pup and Tupperware.]

But just innovation and being trendy doesn't tell the whole story. People are concerned about a dog’s health too. Vitamins and minerals for Fido present a huge new segment. The big thing in "packaging" is ease of dispensing and use for DIY pet medications. There are a lot of new DIY products offered for when you can do it yourself instead of carting your dog to the vet. Just remember make the instructions simple and easy to read if you want people to buy your product.

Recently "Greenies" (a top selling dog treat) got in trouble with consumers because purchasers claimed the product packaging was not informative enough about the potential choking problem. I don't know the outcome but its important to note that the consumers blamed the package labeling as part of the problem.

Affluent boomers and other empty nesters are looking at Fido as an integral part of the family. They have money to spend and plenty of it so look for an influx of products geared towards this audience. A good example is Harley Davidson. They see money in the 50+ generation and have developed the companion dog products too.

Think about this unique marketing and packaging application too. Prepared meals for dogs, sounds good enough for humans to eat.
The difference is visible, as Beneful Prepared Meals showcase the eight, mouth-watering varieties and real food ingredients in clear, ready-to-serve, re-sealable plastic containers – a new packaging innovation in pet food. The new product is being launched regionally in 2006 in 50 percent of the U.S."

I just had to use this example, Bow Wow Breakfast Cereal for Dogs. It is a new line of dog food intended for morning consumption. The company that makes it claims it's specifically formulated to meet a dog's needs in the morning. The thing is pets don't buy this stuff; people do. So keep that in mind as you develop your product packaging. First, you have to appeal to the "human" side of the dog owner.

At the Marketing to Women conference at which I recently spoke, I used an example of packaging dog food that appeals to women. Pedigree Dog Food just implemented a reclosable zipper, something SHE will buy. So think "people" when packaging your products for the dogs. You have to first persuade the owner to pick your product up off the shelf. Make sure that in addition to your packaging "going to the dogs" it's attracting the people too.

Some predictions on "hot" packaging trends in the coming months:
Baby Boomer Products
Environmental Sustainability And Packaging
Labeling And Ingredients Statements On Packaging (ongoing)
RFID And Packaging

For more insights on what is hot and what is not in packaging contact the Packaging Diva via phone at 678-594-6872 or via email at PackagingDiva@aol.com

Monday, March 20, 2006

Package Design Trends That Connect With Consumers

How can you utilize packaging design trends to connect with the consumer?

1) Find out what package attributes appeal to the customer you are targeting. If it is a harried homemaker shopping for your product then convenience of use had better be at the top of the list. Those over 50 are seeking convenience too but issues like the size of print on the package and ease of use top their priority list. Make sure your package employs the characteristics that appeal to your target market.

2) Understand how the package will be used. Families no longer sit and eat a meal with everyone at the same time. There are special diet requirements or dieting in general in most households. It’s not uncommon to serve different meals to different individuals. Package sizes will vary accordingly. EX: People who travel a lot buy sample or trial size packages because they are small and easy to deal with.

3) Know your customers current buying trends. Several years ago, we went through the supersized phase. There are still a lot of supersized packages; however, buying trends are changing to smaller sizes in general. To package smaller does not mean less profit, in many cases it means more. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience, ease of use and a smaller quantity. Remember the three premium baking potatoes in a package cost almost the price of a 5 lb bag. If you live with just one other person, do you really need 5 lbs of potatoes?

4) Keep abreast of new packaging technologies. Creative, new products have the advantage in the marketing world even if their technology is not new. Several years ago, Metedent took the world by storm with the duel aperture dispensing mechanism. Recently hosts of new cleaning products have revived interest in this type of dispensing. Look for innovate ways to combine two products into one package.

5) Watch where people shop. There is a shift from traditional retailers to new and innovative store formats. The convenience store, once considered a low-end marketer, has now transitioned into store that provides premium products at a premium price. This evolved from the hurry up and go mindset demonstrated in today's shopping habits. Recent studies are showing that consumers no longer make one big trip and stock up but make several trips a week and get just what is needed at the moment at the most easily accessible retail outlet. EX: The grab and go cups of snack foods convenience stores are now offering. This category did not exist a couple of years ago.

6) Keep pace with "hot button" packaging issues. This includes legislation too. People do really care about the environment and the amount of excess packaging. There is a move afoot to expand the number of vegetable-based plastic materials used in food packaging. If packaging consumers give these products their endorsement, look for other new products to surface. Legislation can change packaging mandates overnight. There have been "bottle bills," surcharges and bans that prohibit the use of certain packages. EX: Several fast food companies are test marketing corn-based plastic packaging materials. Ex: Ban on juice boxes in Maine and aerosol cans in Chicago.

7) Security in packaging is becoming increasingly important. This will continue to come into focus as more people become concerned about product integrity. One major security scare could force everyone to change their packaging methods immediately. Look for new tamper evident and security devices that can be incorporated into your packaging. Cost efficiencies are now making many of these devices more affordable and will soon become mainstream.

8) Competition of various packaging materials is increasing. From the imports that are readily available to the merger and acquisition mania that is taking place, keep current on your chain of supply globalization. Certain products such as plastic bags that used to be the mainstay of American manufacturing have now gone offshore. Ethic diversity both her and abroad is demanding that all packaging be multi-lingual and people really don’t care where the product packaging is manufactured.

9) External influence of power players. The big box retailers are driving packaging procedures and policies at retail. Mandates from these companies such as RFID tracking are in their infancy. This type of requirement could become mandatory overnight. If you want to do business with companies such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart, you will need to include the design and selection of your packaging materials as per their demands and others will follow suit.

Remember, the customer depends upon you, the designer, as a resource. They expect you to keep up with packaging trends and technologies and provide the latest and greatest innovations the industry has to offer. If you cannot connect with the consumer through package design, do not expect your products to fly off the shelf.

JoAnn Hines the Packaging Diva has been on TV, traveled to China, worked with the SBA and spoken at the White House (twice). Why do they seek her out? Because she knows how to package products so that people will buy them. When Faith Popcorn made her business trend predictions for 2006, she called JoAnn to find out what was going on in the world of packaging. Businesses large and small call upon her to solve their packaging problems.

She loves to share her proficiency in packaging. JoAnn speaks on the subject around the globe and made the packaging world more understandable when she created several web portals, http://www.packaginguniversity.com, packagingcoach.com, womeninpackaging.org and packagingdiva.com, to answer packaging questions and resolve packaging problems.

Her expertise is important because packaging is the third largest industry. In fact, 10% of every dollar spent at retail goes directly to packaging materials. Most importantly, you cannot have a product without a package. If you need to package products to sell email the #1 packaging expert at packagingdiva@aol.com

Today's Consumer Is A Moving Target

Today’s consumer is a moving target. Choosing the right consumer and the right demographic to target is an important decision. Monitoring what is hot and what’s not can dramatically influence a package design’s success or failure. Package design is an integral way to connect with your customer. But do you clearly understand the needs and wants of these elusive markets?

Understand the customer is critical.
The problem today is that one package may not satisfy the needs and requirements of all buyers. There are many niche markets out there and each one requires specialized packaging. So if you are targeting one of those, do your research first. What works for one target market may not work for another.
EXAMPLE: Child resistant closures on medicines are almost impossible for those over 50 to open.

Market Trends:
Here are a couple of important market trends that will affect who will or will not buy your product regardless of how innovative or well designed it is.

1) People are buying in smaller quantities. Our busy lifestyle keeps many people from eating at home on a daily basis. Gone are the days of the sit down dinner with the entire family. When these occasions due occur it is usually a holiday or a special occasion. The notable exception is the over 50 generation that now have the time to cook and enjoy a leisurely dinner at home
What this means to you: People are looking for smaller sized packages and are willing to pay a premium. A good example is the 3-pack baking potato; quality potatoes in a three pack that can cost as much as a 5lb bag. Why? People don't use three pounds of potatoes before they go bad.

2) Time is NOT on your side. Consumers are looking for the quick fix. The ready to eat or with minimal preparation market is booming. People want products that require little or no work but still taste good and are nutritious -- not just “fast food”. You will notice the shrinking of the fresh meat counter in favor of the pre-seasoned, easy to prepare, or ready to eat meats. The proliferation of new products is amazing. In this category, convenience is mandatory not just an issue.
A good example is Banquet, the longtime staple of frozen TV dinners, (the first convenience food offering in the mid 50’s) has introduced new crock-pot frozen meals. Grab-and-go packed carrots and celery produced by California-based Ready Pac will appear in grocery stores this year. Ready Pac is also selling ready-to-go “bistro” salad bowls — Cobb salad, chicken Caesar, blue cheese. The package keeps meat and other proteins separate from greens. It comes with a fork and dressing and is ready to tuck into a lunch bag. Del Monte makes grab-and-go cups of fresh-cut fruit.
Important info: The prepared meals market will grow by 16.5% over the next five years according to “Research and Markets” company.
What this means: Products need to be simple to prepare or almost ready with minimal food preparation time. The easier you make someone’s life, the more loyal they will become to your product. Keep thinking about the top tier restaurants that are offering take out service in great branded packaging.

3) People are becoming more health conscious and really are learning more about what they eat. How many diets have you read about this week? Is the low carb craze in or out? The low carb craze and the trans fat concern are just two of the recent health trends.
What this means: Products that contain unhealthy fats or other ingredients are being scrutinized. Companies are providing reduced calories versions in addition to regular product offerings. People shop for healthier versions of products they used to buy. Even fast food companies are taking notice with healthy new product offerings. Watch for continued growth in this category. Pay attention to ingredient panels and special information tags such as “contains no trans fats” or “only X carbs.”
What this means to you: Make clear ingredients statements in your package design. Don’t confuse or mislead the customer with hidden information. They will read the ingredient statements and make an informed purchasing decision.

4) People are looking for products they can access on the run. When was the last time you or your significant other went to the store and purchased everything you needed for the entire week? Consumers are buying products in unconventional places like a drive throughs with take out service or a convenience store with high caliber products.
What this means: Unconventional types of retail outlets, such as convenience stores, are experiencing strong growth. Look for continuing packaging innovations in this category.

5) People are spending money to treat themselves to a little luxury.
Feeling a little neglected or sorry for yourself? You deserve something special and you are not alone. Luxury purchases are on the rise. People are willing to buy expensive treats for themselves for daily use not just for special occasions.
Important info: Last year the typical luxury consumer spent $33,188 on average buying luxuries, an increase of 33 percent over their reported spending of $25,010.

6) Food safety is becoming paramount.
What this means to you: No longer are the words tampering and bio terrorism buzz phrases. They are facts of life. Product integrity will become increasingly important to consumers. New packaging ideas have been developed in response to growing food manufacturer fears about food safety and tampering. Packaging is likely to perform a key role in establishing and maintaining consumer confidence.

7) Environmentally friendly biodegradable packaging is another growth area, reflecting consumer and retailer awareness of the issue of waste disposal and excess packaging materials.
What this means to you: A large number of packaging firms are launching products made of 100 percent recycled materials. There is increasing evidence of biodegradable inks on the market. All it takes is a few early adapters to make huge swings in the use of environmentally friendly materials. Do you remember how quickly the market changed when McDonalds switched from an EPS clamshell to a paperboard product? It changed literally overnight. The entire packaging climate changed and some packaging companies went out of business because of it.

8) Niche markets for products are continuously created. Niches that are large enough to be very profitable.
What this means to you: New products are introduced for specific target markets. No longer can one product capture the majority of a consumer segment. Many of these markets are obscure but very lucrative. Innovation is continuing at a rampant pace. Look for new and previously untapped markets. Two growing areas are products marketed to women and boomers.
Important Info:
The over 50 market is the hottest underserved market. With 76 million U.S. boomers born between 1946 and 1964, the potential for profit and growth are enormous. Every seven seconds, someone is turning 50 years old. Baby boomers will push the number of 50-and-over adults to more than 108 million by 2015. Think of all those product sales that is if you are smart and are targeting those markets

9) Look for the continued growth of dual-purpose products.
What this means to you: Growth can come from unlikely areas. Markets that were once strong have become so diluted they have become unprofitable.
New product categories will continue to develop. The “phood” or pharmaceutically engineered and enhanced food category is hot. Explore the opportunities for new product introductions that fall under these parameters.

10) Competition will continue unabated.
What this means to you: Today's market leader may be tomorrow's out of business company. Keep abreast of changing technology and packaging innovation is the key to continued success.

So no matter who is your consumer you need to understand what will drive them ultimately to purchase your product.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What's In Your Bottle?

Bottled water just surpassed the sales of bottled cola in the last month. Who would have thunk it? Was bottled water on anyone’s mind 15 years ago? I, however, was not surprised to read this. It was only a matter of time.

In much of my research, I have uncovered many new bottled water offerings. In fact over 200 new bottle offerings appeared last year. At the recent Marketing to Women Conference I discussed two unique water offerings especially created and marketed to women. W2O is spring water, vitamins, natural flavors and the highest quality natural sweetener. Pink2O is packed with over 62% of recommended daily values of vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12 and Folic acid and 25% of vitamin C, E, Selenium and Calcium; the vitamins and minerals that women need most. (The two are almost identical in their approach to reaching out to the female demographic -- Find out more in my special report.....If you Package It, Will She Buy?)

Industry analyst say consumers have embraced bottled waters of all types. Water for women, kids, dogs and so on. Aquifers, icebergs, artesian wells, you name it and there is a water for it. Ever wonder why FIJI water is so expensive? Water is heavy and its costs a lot to ship it around the world. Even more bizarre, I just read about the "most pure" water in the world. This water is extracted from fruit. The claim is the trees do the filtering making it extra pure. My question is "does it really taste like water?"

I'm interested in the bottle too. A question that arises for me is what is going to happen to the "bottle" of choice with all these water offerings and competing beverages. New shapes and new features like bottle caps that impart fragrance or the essence of a smell abound.
Every new offering seems to have a different message too: health, nutrition, functional, enhanced, fortified and even REAL water. And don't forget all the cross over products like Gatorade and the new fusion drinks.

An even more important issue is what's tomorrow's bottle going to be made out of? With the volatility of plastics pricing, I'm sure quite a few water companies are getting nervous. And don't forget the environmental aspects of the plastic bottle. Activists are seeing the bottles as more problematic than the issue of draining the water sources dry. For the most part, the plastic used for bottling water is food-safe PET, polyethylene terephthalate, which is itself made from oil. In fact, it was the invention of PET in the 1970's that made the water bottle possible. Most recently questions have arisen about "heavy metal" contaminates in the water bottle itself. So far this is only considered to be trace amounts but keep your eye peeled for more news on the topic.

Now, according to the Container Recycling Institute, a California-based group, "about 90 percent of PET bottles tossed out by Americans end up not in recycling centers but in landfills, at a rate of 30 million a day." So, watch for the environmental issues around disposability to heat up.

Last month, Biota launched the first spring water bottle made of a biodegradable plastic called PLA, which is made from corn. Remember my packaging trend #8 out of 13 for 2006? The media is hot on the environmental trail. So if you have a package that addresses that concern, now is the time to pitch your product.

Here is what the Bioata company had to say in a recent release.
<<(March 13, 2006) TAMPA, FL -- Natural spring water may be good for your health, but the water bottles are wreaking havoc on our environment. With the introduction of the first-to-market PLAnet Friendly water bottle, BIOTA Brands of America, Inc, plans to change that startling fact. Packaged in a revolutionary, nature based material, BIOTA bottles are made from an annually renewable resource -- corn, and not a non-renewable fossil fuel --oil. BIOTA Colorado Pure Spring Water is a unique, premium product that supports a passion to do good for people while protecting the planet.>>

Soda, water or some new drink not previously thought of -- You make the call for the beverage of the future. The numbers are staggering regardless of the beverage of choice. Meanwhile, the question remains: What's in your bottle of the future and what is it going to be made out of?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

How To Make Your Product Packaging Newsworthy

Recently mainstream media coverage of the packaging industry is more in-depth than usual. I see several articles about packaging every week. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the news articles deal with negative perceptions of packaging and its influence on society. In fact, dozens of articles were recently written in response to the Consumer Reports "Oyster Awards" with such titles as: “Today's Packaging Can Drive The Mild-Mannered To Rage" and "Open UP." Most of what was written in these articles did not bode well for packaging.

So how can you get your product packaging seen by the media in a more favorable light? Make sure that your packaging is connected to one of the more popular news trends. Consider what the media will be covering outside of the obvious "breaking" news. Think about your product and how it can connect with the media coverage.

A few examples of topics they will be covering in the future include:
• Anything to do with diets, weight loss or healthy eating. This topic perennially becomes newsworthy as spring break and swim suit season approaches. It also offers opportunities in other niche targeted publications too, such as woman oriented and fitness publications.

• Products that are marketed to or are designed for the 50 + generation. The "Boomers" topic is getting much media play in virtually every type publication. If you are marketing in this space, find out what they will be covering in the next issue.

I will also be speaking about this topic at The Supply Side exposition in New York this spring. The Supply Side brings together manufacturers, suppliers and decision-makers from the social stationery, giftware and graphic arts industries. Presented in conjunction with the 60th annual National Stationery Show (NSS), The Supply Side provides a forum for the more than 1,400 National Stationery Show exhibitors to source key vendors at a time and place that's both practical and convenient.
Packaging for Profit: Attracting the Baby Boomers http://www.thesupplyside.com/content/programs.htm
So if you have a packaged product that is relevant to this category please contact me with more information.

• Look for media spin on anything to do with the environment, recycled materials and bio-based packaging products. The environment is hot right now and with the upcoming "International Earth Day” on March 20.

I was contacted last week by a marketing class that was using my article "13 Packaging Trends" as a case study. Each student was required to write an expanded paper and presentation. One student, Jana, contacted me about trend # 8 "Green and Greener." I did a quick search for her and found numerous positive in mainstream media articles about the positive aspects of packaging and the environment. So this topic is definitely worth getting excited about.

As a case in point, the Timberland Company just had a big spread in "Industry Week." It focused on branding the environmental aspects of its new packaging. Read more @http://www.industryweek.com/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=11495&SectionID=3

Here is another example of a good use of the environmental niche.Cereplast CEO Delivers Speech at Commodity Classic 2006, the National Corn Growers Association Annual Conference -- Cereplast, Inc., reports today that the company’s CEO, Frederic Scheer, delivered a speech at this year’s Commodity Classic entitled “Displacing Petroleum-Based Plastics with Bioproducts.”

Investigate a pitch less mainstream media too. As I mentioned when I spoke at the Marketing To Women Conference recently, condom marketing has gone main stream in places like Wal-Mart. Consider a headline like this:

Condoms Mix Sex and the City; City Will Debut NYC-Themed Packaging for ProphylacticsReally! The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will be debuting unique New York-specific condom packaging designs within four to six months. The program, which is still in development, aims to promote sexual health awareness and aid in distribution tracking. “In an effort to track our continuing effort to distribute millions of condoms throughout the city, we wanted to develop condom packaging that was noticeable and memorable so that we can later track the effectiveness of our distribution,” said Sandra Mullin, communications director for the department. “We also aim to use the packaging to promote condom use and awareness.” Now that’s using the media to gain exposure (tee hee).

With packaging becoming a "hot topic" it can help counteract negative publicity about the industry such as the "Oyster Award article" which condemns the vast over packaging of many products. So, keep your eyes and nose ("Does Your Packaging, Umm Smell?') on the look out for ways and opportunities the make your product packaging newsworthy in the coming weeks.

Don't forget to keep me in the loop too. WebPackaging has just started publishing my columns which can be read @http://www.webpackaging.com/packaging/721568/packaging-and-the-consumer.aspx

The more I know about your product the more I can help you get the word out about your packaging.