When it comes to developing packaging for new products there can be confusion as to what comes first in the process. Is it the brand or the package? The answer? Packaging is only successful when it effectively and consistently communicates your brand story and engages with the consumer. Without branding, you end up with a container – end of story.
Not long ago, we were approached by a small start-up client who wanted a package to launch a new product. While it was exciting to be part of a team about to unveil a new product, as we began to form a strategy to approach the project, it became apparent that the concept behind the product was limited to putting it in a container. Little had been done to think through what the brand premise or promise would be or the role packaging would play as a marketing tool. Why was this important? I have yet to discover how to make a positive first impression a second time without a lot of added time and expense.
But for innovators who are eager to launch a new product, it’s critical that you are prepared with the following information before you meet with your creative team:
1. Define the story you want to own: Answer the who, what, when, where and why of your product – defining the tone you want to take in establishing your brand, never forgetting you will have a relationship with your brand for many years to come.
2. Define your competitive arena: Identify the market you see your product competing in and the key challengers your product will be evaluated against – in the process, identify what specifically makes your product unique – and answer the question of how the consumer will differentiate your product from your competition.
3. Define your consumer profile: What are their motivations? If possible, define how you see your product will enhance a consumer’s life.
4. How will you bring your product to market? Package quantity, sizing, structure, manufacturing, and distribution – if you have a marketing plan, share it with your creative team, and if you don’t have a plan, make one. It doesn’t need to be a 100-page document; it just needs to be defined.
5. Define your assets: If you have a corporate identity (logo), icons or color palettes, provide your creative and design teams the material they need to integrate it into your package design. If you have a food product, make sure you have your required content including ingredients, nutrition, and legal copy.
By bringing this information into the packaging discussion, you will help your creative team deliver targeted recommendations to establish and implement a branding strategy through effective package design – remembering that a package alone is not a brand. Packaging is a structural vehicle required to bring your product to shelf, but most importantly it will become a vehicle reflecting your brand as a part of a larger overarching marketing strategy.
If you have not established a brand strategy it is paramount this is done before you begin development of the packaging graphics. The color, iconography, typography, and imagery used on your packaging should all act as a reflection of what you have defined as your brand, and it should be created to maximize consistency in all applications.
So be bold, innovate and keep bringing new products to market – but remember that your brand is a reflection of you so make sure that when consumers see you on shelf, your package represents the way you see yourself and your brand.
If you are launching a new product and need help with your packaging process, contact us at 920-886-7727 or [email protected] Throughout our 60 plus years of supporting customers with consumer brands large and small, we apply our experience and expertise to the entire process to create efficient and effective solutions.