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

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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


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