Sure we know it: packaging is made primarily to protect and preserve the product inside. It increases its life by protecting it from shocks, external agents and deterioration. This is the main value of the packaging. However, we also know that packaging has other important functions and many of these have to do marketing.
Packaging, actually is the first contact between a customer and a product in the real world, choosing it from the shelves of a shop or after ordering it on the internet. For this reason, packaging has always played a decisive role in terms of marketing and brand visibility. In recent years, the value of packaging for marketing is increasing so much that some analysts have declared that "packaging has never been as important as it is today". Why? As we will see in this article, the growing attention to sustainability plays a role part.
Yes, you know it already: today we will talk about the connection between packaging and marketing!
How important is packaging for consumers? Here are some data.
Let’s start with the data first. According to a recent survey by the Nomisma Observatory, 59% of Italians will increase the purchase of products with sustainable packaging. The consumer who chooses a product is increasingly influenced by its environmental impact. And what makes a product a sustainable choice? According to the Italian consumer, the elements that contribute to a product’s sustainability are: the production method (33%), the packaging (32%), the origin of the supply chain (22%) and the brand's social responsibility activities (13%). The same survey also tells us that one in two consumers think that one of the main functions of packaging is to define the overall sustainability of a product. Concerning European citizens, we observe a similar trend: a study by DS Smith and Ipsos MORI observes that 85% of consumers say they buy products that use as little packaging as possible and that one third declare that they have stopped buying a particular brand because its packaging was not considered sustainable.
A 2018 survey by IRI provides us with data on different countries: in Europe 72% of consumers prefer to buy products with low environmental impact packaging.
Even more vertical reports - like this one dedicated to beverages and tobacco - highlight how the attention to the sustainability of packaging is increasing.
Packaging has never been so important for marketing (and sustainability has got to do with it)
From the data we shared, it is clear that for consumers packaging is inextricably linked to the brand’s sustainability. Packaging therefore has what we can call an intrinsic value: the choice of the right packaging has important consequences on how the product is seen by consumers.
And all of this affects marketing. As we read in DS Smith's annual report on new packaging trends: “Today the consumer knows perfectly the brands and their packaging, and associates them with trust and reliability”. Today more than ever, packaging tells something not only about the product it protects, but also about the brand. For these reasons, that report states that packaging has never been so important and that "there has never been a more stimulating period to work in packaging". At Packstyle we completely agree with it.
Other 3 reasons why packaging is linked to your brand
We have therefore seen how packaging today tells something of the brand in itself: its nearness to sustainability, an increasingly shared value for the consumer. The choice of packaging by a company must go with a story that inspires that choice. Simply put: you should tell the consumer not only about your product, but also about your packaging.
If sustainability is a growing trend in recent years, we must say that packaging always had a significant value for product marketing and for the positioning of the brand. So let's see three other aspects for which packaging affect marketing.
- Packaging helps create an emotional connection with the customer: brands use aesthetics on an emotional level to influence the consumer’s approach to the brand and to the product. Packaging is one of the most powerful tools for this. The colors and graphics of the packaging help establish this type of connection with the customer. Today, however, the packaging material and its impact on the environment must also be taken into account. Colors, graphics, materials and innovation are all things that communicate your brand values to the consumer - and they do so by acting on emotions.
- Packaging helps to position the brand: one of the oldest functions of industrial packaging is to develop consumer loyalty to the brand. The name, logo and other graphic elements printed on the packaging have the burden of making the brand immediately recognizable - both on the shelves of a store and in online sales - and help to differentiate itself from the competitors. Brand awareness has also to do with the level of innovation of the packaging and its materials. These are all elements that take part to the packaging design.
- The company must be aware of the connection between packaging, habits and marketing: if you know your customers’ habits and your demographic target, this allows you to choose the right packaging. A particular type of opening or material, for example, might be more suitable for some consumers of a specific generation or geographic context. Always underlining the primary function of packaging (that is preserving and protecting the product in the best way), during the product design step, the marketing department should already provide useful information for the choice of packaging and make sure that the characteristics of the package are visible and reported to the customer. For example, if you have chosen a particular kind of opening, the packaging graphics should show it and how tu use it.
And now it’s up to you to choose your packaging with more awareness, are you ready?