Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sell More Products With These 7 Packaging Tips

Packaging News You Can Use
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
Tip Of The WeekIssue
#1303 - July 25, 2008

From The Desk Of The Diva:
I'm one of the most "connected" people in packaging.
Are You? If your not sure check me out.
If you are Twittering follow me at
You can also invite me to be your friend on Facebook.

Networking is what its all about and I have one of the best!.

Special Mention:

Joe Angel from Packaging World Magazine asked me to mention that
Greener Package Website and Sustainable Packaging Awards Competition
are launching in the fourth quarter of 2008. Check out for more details.

Feature Commentary:

Sell More Products With These 7 Packaging Tips
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

When consumers go out to shop it's your job to convince them to buy your product. With the wrong packaging or one that doesn't properly convey the message of what is inside you are fighting an uphill battle.

Think of packaging as your silent salesperson. What message are you projecting?

Just like we do with our mental, emotional and physical aspects of our lives, think about improving or updating your product packaging. You want it to mesh with consumer wants, needs and current lifestyles which can be influenced by many external factors that will effect their purchasing decision. Consumers are a moving target and what worked last week may not work in the months to come.

Here are 7 things you can do to ensure your product packaging is on target with your core customer and delivers the right message to the right audience.

1) Take an honest look at your product packaging. Is it working to your product’s best advantage? Are there changes that you have put off making due to lack of time or money? Implement a plan to review one product at a time or a family of products if they are interrelated. An important factor to consider when making any changes are the continuity of the brand. Don't change for change’s sake. That only serves to alienate the customer especially when they have the difficulty finding your brand. The sad thing is once they make the switch to a competitive product they may never come back.

2) Give your product packaging to an outsider to review. Ask someone who knows nothing about your product and your packaging to evaluate it. Ask for an honest opinion of what they like or don't like and ask what they think might be missing. Ask them to be objective and honest. Many times product developers get caught up in their own opinions. You love your product and consequently you love your packaging. It’s good to get grounded with an outsider's perspective that insures your message is getting across.

3) Go to at least five different retail outlets and look for comparable or competitive products and assess their shelf appeal. Is there a particular characteristic that appeals to you? It could be color shape, innovative design. Determine if you think their packaging is better than yours. What stood out in your mind about that particular package? You don't want your product packaging to mimic the competition. It can get you into serious trouble if you copy someone else's brand.

INSIDERS TIP: Play dumb and ask another shopper to make a decision about which product they like best. Then ask them why they chose that package. These insights can help you focus on what the consumer is looking for.

4) Step back from your product on the shelf at least five feet (that's where most people will see it.) Does your product stand out among the competition or is it awash in a sea of sameness same color, same size same shape?) Is it difficult to distinguish one product from another? Is there a USP (unique selling proposition) that makes your product more interesting or more consumer friendly? Note: Many private label brands trade on brand recognition from the branded product. If your packaging goes that route, make sure you are not copying or infringing on someone else's design or trademarked product packaging.

5) Walk the isles out side your product category. Look for crossover innovations that can be utilized in your existing product. Look for new or interesting ways of packaging a product. An innovative packaging concept that changes what people buy is what you are trying to capture. You want your product to be the one they pick up.

6) Review trends and predictions for your industry. Is your product packaging in line with where the industry is going? Is your market moving in a new direction or are outside influences driving what is happening to product packaging? A good example is the current movement toward "green" or environmentally friendly product packaging. Does this concept mesh with your brand?

7) Last but not least think about ways to improve your product packaging. Make it easier for the consumer to use, find, carry, store, open, dispose of, reuse or find important information about your product. Some of the simplest innovations can revolutionize an industry though innovative product packaging. Optimally your product packaging will provides a pleasurable consumer experience not alienate them.

Whether you can accomplish all seven tasks or just a few, the most important issue is that you decide to move forward one packaging step at a time. Let’s face it. Consumers are a fickle bunch. It doesn't take much to turn them off. In fact, you only have 2.6 second to turn them on. That is how long you have to persuade them to buy your product and the only way to do that is through compelling packaging. Yes, your package is your number one salesperson and once you have lost the opportunity you may never get it back.

Happy Packaging!

JoAnn HinesPackaging Diva
All Packaging All Of The Time

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wal-Mart Is Not The Only One With A Packaging Scorecard

Packaging News You Can Use
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
Tip Of The Week
Issue #1302 - July 18, 2008

From The Desk Of The Diva:


Many of you are starting to prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

As you know, I am a big fan of using public relations and publicity to grow your business. It sure has helped my business grow!

But public relations can be expensive. So why not do it yourself?

My friend Margie Zable Fisher has just updated her popular Do-It-Yourself Public Relations Kit. The third edition contains 13 pitch examples you can use, case studies, how to create a Unique Selling Proposition, media interview tips, how to create and implement Special Events, online P.R. including blog and Web site P.R., how to handle a crisis, and much more.

To get a free chapter of her Kit, which explains how to create a Press Kit, visit

Feature Commentary:

Wal-Mart Is Not The Only One With A Packaging Scorecard by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

Recently I'm coming across a variety of new packaging trends or terms and it got me to thinking about how informed the average person is about product packaging. I know you are all busy doing your jobs and it takes a lot of time to keep current of what is new in product packaging or what may influence your products success. It's hard for me to keep up on a daily basis and that is all that I do for my clients.

Perhaps as a way to ascertain what is hot and what is not you should create your own "packaging scorecard" as way to measure how tuned you are to the latest in the consumer perceptions of product packaging and how it could impact whether your product will sell or NOT!

Consumers are very fickle about "packaging" issues. In fact many times they don't even understand the role of the product packaging itself. Lets take all the hue and cry over green product packaging. You would think consumers are clamoring for more environmentally responsible packaging. But just this morning I read that despite what we read about the desire for more "green" packaging the beauty industry reports that 25 % of French women and 20 % of British want recyclable beauty packaging, US women just 12%. Slightly higher than that magic 10% of greenies that are already in that space anyway.

So, should this be an issue in your packaging scorecard?
Depends upon what your niche is. In any case its a movement to watch and be aware of so I'd add it to your list.

Can you name at least 3 more current packaging trends?
Last week I wrote you about Twitter and how its becoming increasingly important. Twitter is mostly about "social media" but then those are the leading edge people that are on top of the trends. I have included a few of my recent "tweets" which I think you might find relevant to your personal packaging scorecard.

A Few Tweets From JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva:

Interviewed for this but not directly quoted (some of the insights are mine). Forget the Environment Say the 'Never Greens'

Creating gold out of packaging garbage. This company has a great idea.

Has the Sierra Club sold out to Clorox? Packaging bottles are recyclable and bear the Sierra Club's name and logo.

With all the hype about the new iphone did you think about the packaging? Apple files iPod, iPhone retail packaging patent.

More on shrinking consumer product packaging while prices remain the same.

I see at least 2 trends here you should be concerned about.

Can you give a definition to this term repurposed packaging? It is pretty self explanatory. But what is the name of the packaging company that is getting all the media mileage in doing this?

In case you didn't know its Terracycle They are not the only ones doing this. There is all kinds of cool stuff being made but some real "dogs" too. Just because you can reuse old packaging and make into new products doesn't necessarily mean someone will buy it. People have sent me a lot weird stuff.

What about "shrinking" consumer product packaging? Will companies reducing the size of the product and keeping the price the same create a groundswell of consumer outrage. The media think so. If I were you I would add this to my scorecard. There is a lot being written about it. If I were a smart marketer I'd figure out a way to add "more" to my product for the price rather than less.

Value for your money is a trend and its not going away. Just look at the growth of private label at the expense of branded products. This definitely would be on my scorecard.

The point is that you can take a few packaging trends and consumer hot buttons and create your own packaging scorecard. It will help you track how close you are tuned into the latest consumer issues.

Just remember the scorecard is not static. It needs to change as issues evolve or are resolved. A few minutes a week is all it takes to stay on top of the needs and issues of your core customer. Or you can follow me on Twitter at http// and I'll be doing the lions share of the work for you.

You can also give me a buzz at 678-594-6872. I'm tapped in to the latest packaging news. I can help you assess why or not you should consider changing your product packaging. At the very least I can tell you what your competition is doing.

If you are just chumming the "packaging" waters then be sure and visit and one of my web sites for lots of information and advice. It pays to do your homework first.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Green Packaging Noise

Packaging News You Can Use
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
Tip Of The Week
Issue #1301 - July 11, 2008

From The Desk Of The Diva:

This week lots of interesting packaging news has come across my desk. I post most of it on Twitter. Not only is it a great way to communicate but it makes you get clever using only 140 characters to post.

If you want to follow me for more packaging insights I'm at
I'm changing the summer format a little since people are of on vacation and doing other fun stuff.
Here is what I need from you:

Examples of innovative product packaging to critique;
Packaging trends you would like to know more about;
Pressing packaging questions you need answers to.
Now on with the show.....

Feature Commentary:

Green Packaging Noise By JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
I just got a call from Brandweek to comment on green product packaging backlash. I've been writing about it for a while but this week reading about square milk bottles brought it all to a head. While the idea of a square milk bottle looks good on paper and its attractive financially to the retailer, a lot of consumers hate it. It's just like the bag of milk I discussed earlier its cumbersome and very consumer unfriendly and mostly likely will never fly here in the US no matter how environmentally friendly it is.

Every week I get dozens of new green packaging press releases. Some of these are really a stretch. Its seems with green the "in" thing to do, everyone is trying to jump on the band wagon. Many of these innovations really don't make sense or in many cases won't "connect" with the consumer.

Just because its green, environmentally friendly, sustainable, compostable, recyclable or biodegradable doesn't mean that consumers will buy your product. Consumer acceptance is a very complicated issue. The growth of convenience and luxury categories flies in the face of the environmental movement too. They use lots of packaging and expensive too!

WE want it and we want it now. If it happens to tap into the "green movement" so much the better. The average consumer really does care about the environment they just aren't going to sacrifice their creature comforts to get there. In reality only about 10% of the American populace inhabit this space any way. Sure we can all use a little less packaging in our lives just take a look at your trash can. Remember however, without the package you cannot have a product so give packaging a break!

As I have said many times packaging has many roles to play ones in addition to protecting the product and getting it in your hands, attributes consumers will not willingly give up. Just think how you shy away from any damaged product packaging or reject the damaged or bruised product at the supermarket. The rejection rate is already 20% without packaging this would skyrocket. And who do you think pays the ultimate price for less packaging? It's not the retailers or the consumer products companies, its YOU the consumer.

When was the last time you saw a sales person trained to tell you all about the item you are considering purchasing? The packaging tells you the story about what is inside and why you should buy it. You know the "silent salesperson." So before you jump on the "less" packaging bandwagon give some consideration to why the packaging is there in the first place.

I wrote this little jingle for Twitter and that's says it all. "Toothpaste squeezes, eggs aren't cracked, pizza delivered, headache's better, beer anyone? Packaging a love affair you never knew you had."

Now don't get me wrong, I have seen some very interesting concepts in "green" product packaging some that make sense to the consumer. But I have seen a lot of crap too. Some companies that are just making some green packaging noise hoping to capitalize on some of the current media buzz. So think about your green product packaging message and how it integrates into your brand. Does it make real sense or are you just trying to spin green? Remember before you jump into the frenzy consider what your consumer wants and expects out of your product packaging. Will it truly make a difference in the eyes of your core customer?

Think about how much green packaging noise read about this week. Is it getting you to evaluate changing your product packaging? Before you leap I have two things to say: Consider purchasing my special report Sustainable Packaging - From Green to Great a retrospective about what green packaging works and what doesn't work. Order at

Or give me a buzz at 678-594-6872. I'm tapped in to the latest green packaging news. I can help you assess why or not you should consider changing your product packaging. At the very least I can tell you what your competition is doing.

If you are just chumming the "green" waters then be sure and visit and one of my web sites for lots of information and advice. Going green or not it pays to do your homework first.
Happy Packaging!