Archive for June, 2014

Does Your Package Act As A Reflection Of Your Brand?

June 26, 2014 Leave a comment

pkg_shapesIn looking at a package, I see a connection. At times the connection is directly to me and my persona. Other times to price points I may or may not be seeking at the time. And then I see connections to the product’s brand. It can be made through color, shapes and graphics. Here I have seven products in their packaging and I see the connection.

Most of these are iconic and are specific to a particular brand. They took time to build their presence in the industry and really sell their brand story. If I go to buy some hot sauce then Tabasco is what I get. The diamond label in the red bottle makes for a quick identification in my mind when looking for it. We know what the light blue box with a white ribbon and bow mean. There must be something wonderful inside from Tiffany’s and imagine the excitement level as it gets opened. Coca Cola – enough said about this bottle and product world-wide. Chanel No. 5 is timeless and high tier. Mrs. Butterworth’s brings back memories of a  Saturday morning breakfast on a crisp autumn morning. There is an endless stream of these connections.

Now look at the honey bear bottle. The shape and contents say honey. This bottle is also available to anyone wishing to sell honey under their label. It is not brand specific. Interesting concept if you need to get a quick connection to your artisanal honey batch. And finally there is the Jawbone package. Inside is a Bluetooth headset that blasted into the market with great results. The product design was unique as well as the package. Look at the floating object. For a number of years numerous headset manufacturers wanted this style of packaging for their product. Grabbing the shape was the route taken to make a connection to consumers and help boost sales. Some even sought using less expensive material for the packaging to keep pricing down and profits up.

Consumers are wise and understand the copycat strategy. If they buy the product the realization of what is being sold is understood. However, did the package help make the sale? Was the connection to Jawbone’s brand equity transferred? Maybe.

When we meet with clients and discuss new packaging, the shape comes into play very early. We ask if they want to lead with their product or follow the competition. Copying shapes or riding on the equity of a shape brings risks. Specifying goals help to eliminate those risks and we work to get that understood and acted upon. So when you shop, take a close look at the shape of the package, the colors and the graphics. See if they make the connection you want.

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Artisanal vs. the Little Guy

June 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Oregon-Artisan-Cheese-BoxRecently I was shopping in the cheese section at a local grocery and noticed some big name brands, some artisanal selections and then the little guy brands. You know those products as the packaging is some very basic plastic wrap with a minimalistic label on the front. It shows a company name, brief product description (Real Cheddar Cheese) and maybe a P.O Box or town of origin. If there are any graphics you may see an outline of a cow if you’re lucky.

The illustration at left is for a growing product category which fills the limited production, higher priced tier that offers a perceived better taste experience. You find nice detailed and authentic looking graphics that back the brand’s look and feel. You really want to try this one. I bought one artisanal cheese based on some convincing graphics and packaging and one of the little guy brand. The test came when I put both out on a plate and blind taste tested them. Guess what happened? The artisanal brand tasted better. Now the little guy cheese was also very good but just shy of the other one. Never fear as this doesn’t always happen. I don’t always buy the artisanal brand. Why? Cost plays a factor and locale. If I know the little guy is local and the artisanal isn’t, I go local. That’s just me though.

Remember, the little guy did include a location of origin on his package and that was the tipping point, Now this example doesn’t always hold true in every product offering out on the market but I do find myself studying the packaging a bit more closely when it comes to big brands, artisanal and the little guy.

What brand would you buy?


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Tea For You!

June 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Oprah1Yesterday a team from our office met with a client at a Starbucks to review some recent work and brainstorm on upcoming projects. Things went well and we accomplished quite a bit. While there, I spent some time looking at the packaging. Who doesn’t like to see what Starbucks offerings are available? There’s an array of bean selections to study, mugs of various shapes and sizes, posters displaying images from around the world and even new and exciting tea flavors and packages.

Tea? Yes tea. All kinds of tea. And if you have been in a Starbucks lately you’ve seen the new Oprah Chai Tea. Having not tried it, I cannot judge it, but from what I see this looks like a win-win situation for Starbucks and Oprah. Both brands expand their offerings and the consumer gets a new product to try in the tea market. But what makes you buy this, or shall I say, what makes you want to buy this? Is it Starbucks? Is it Oprah? The packaging? Or just the tea? I would venture to say that a combination of all four come into play at various levels.

I enjoy stopping in at Starbucks for the experience. Also, I like the look of the packaging. I can’t say I’m a big fan of Oprah but she doesn’t make me not want to purchase the product. Tea is good but I rarely drink it.

What are your thoughts on this?


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