There’s something about food brands that gets into our subconscious – take all the wording off a can of cola and we’d still know what was in there, and probably even the brand. If you see deep purple on the shelves, you’ll immediately think of a certain chocolate that has that glass and a half of milk. Some crisps packet designs are so recognisable, that even when we find them on holiday with the different brand name of Lay’s, we’d be wondering if Gary Lineker was somewhere close by.
We associate them with a level of trust and reassurance that we know exactly what we are getting.
So how do you compete with this as you’re building awareness of your product or brand?
Packaging is clearly not just a ‘container’ for your product, it also serves as a tool for creating a sense of perceived value, differentiating a product from its on-shelf competitors, attracting new customers, and influencing their emotional response to it. How it looks and feels can evoke a host of feelings from nostalgia, excitement to ultimate luxury. So, let’s explore the importance of food brand packaging and how it can drive your sales, create loyalty and set a brand apart.
Perceived value – packaging design done cleverly clearly communicates that a product is high quality and likely worth paying a premium price for. Luxury chocolate, for example, often uses materials, colours, styles and images that convey a sense of indulgence. If the potential customer believes they’re going to taste something special, they’ll blow their budget to have this VIP experience.
Differentiation – another important function of packaging is to make it stand out on the crowded shelves, to get a step ahead of the competition. Packaging design can communicate a product’s unique features, such as its organic or locally sourced ingredients, or maybe its health benefits. A product may prominently display a recognised ‘gluten-free’ logo, making it easy for consumers to identify and choose that one over its counterparts. Once you’ve made your mark, however, the opposite can become the case and copycat products will appear on the shelves next to yours – whilst this position is flattering, its one you will want to protect.
Attracting attention – eye-catching and visually appealing packaging can draw consumers in and encourage them to take a closer look and answer their curiosity. A well-designed package will make shoppers take a second look, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
Playing on the emotions – packaging design can also influence a consumer’s emotional response to a product. Premium brands might mean minimalist design and elegant typography to create a sense of sophistication and luxury, while traditional sweets or long-established brand names might aim to bring back childhood memories – Werthers Originals and Hovis bread being two examples that spring to mind.
For whatever reason it has been chosen, effective packaging should aim to create a sense of brand loyalty, giving consumers a reason to choose to return to that particular brand over its competitors. When a brand consistently retains key elements of packaging design, it becomes easily recognisable and memorable, bringing with it trust and familiarity.
There are, of course, other considerations in the modern marketplace, sustainability and the impact on our environment being the main ones. At GIANT, we’ve embraced that and built into our processes not just the obvious – recycled materials are great if you can use them – but we also have plenty of ideas and options for reducing the volumes or transportation costs, utilising cardboard engineering and design that is effective in reducing the quantities of material used whilst maintaining the structural integrity of the design. We can think about how to create a package that cleverly uses materials with less ink and plastic. As long as it fulfils its purpose – there’s no point having sustainable packaging if the product arrives crushed and broken – then there is a whole host of solutions to meeting your sustainability goals.
With food packaging its crucial to be aware of the supermarkets’ quite stringent criteria around what they want from products, the range of shapes and sizes that do and don’t work for their stocking requirements, as well as how it going to look on the shelves and for how long it’ll stay looking good.
Effective design can drive sales, create brand loyalty, and set a brand apart from its competitors. Delivering a clear, strong and memorable experience to a customer, so they remember your product and come back for more is the starting point your marketing needs.
We design for success.