The Defining Traits of Package Design That Win the Attention and Trust of Consumers, According to Experts
More than 50% of US consumers change their product brands due to new, unsatisfactory packaging, while 49% of consumers share their unboxing experience on social media, giving product packaging center stage.
In the first case, consumers demonstrate that product packaging design matters by switching to the one they find more appealing or aligned with their values. In the latter, a good package design turns them into brand advocates.
In this article, three industry specialists discuss the defining traits of a top-notch package design that modern consumers notice on the shelves and keep returning to.
Educate, Differentiate and Project Your Brand Values
Richard Horwell, Owner of Brand Relations, declares that branding is the message you want to present to your consumers – and that message should say “Buy me!”
According to him, to communicate this message to your target audience via package design, you need to think of it in these terms:
- Ask the right questions and educate the consumer
- Link to what your audience understands
- Ask questions
- Make it about them, not you
- Come up with a Point of Difference
- Be careful with minimalism
- Pick a relevant name
- Project your values
The questions you need to ask yourself when coming up with your brand and package design are the same questions your audience asks: “What is unique about this product?”, “Why is it better than the competition?” and “Does this product offer value for money?”
In Horwell’s view, your branding and packaging need to provide a direct answer to all of these questions.
Before educating the audience and setting yourself in the right direction, you should also consider answering questions such as:
- Where will this product sell and what brands will sit alongside it? How will my product stand out against them?
- What is my brand message? i.e. Is it based on health, functionality, spoiling yourself or great taste?
- Will my consumer be able to read the messages I have on the packaging from a distance, without picking it up?
Furthermore, and closely related to educating the audience, if you are breaking new ground with a base ingredient, add something to the mix that the consumer already knows.
The key here, according to Horwell, is to “make sure the messaging is easy to understand and include elements that consumers can understand instantly.”
Another desirable quality in product packaging is that it needs to draw the audience, relate to it and say “buy me, I am new and exciting.”
In simple terms, consumers only care what’s in it for them.
“Just putting your brand name on the front and thinking the brand will sell is crazy,” remarks Horwell. “Always focus on them, not you.”
The aforementioned point of difference can be crucial: it is imperative to have any chance of success in today’s market.
The point of difference, warns Horwell, should always be very clear on your package’s messaging. He suggests that brands should think about what makes them different, make a list of these points and pick the most important ones. Those are the ones you want on your packaging.
He goes on to advise against the impulsive use of minimalism which has become a major trend in recent years. Trying to be “cool” in this regard can often lead to forgetting about selling the brand, which results in consumers ignoring the product. “Find the right balance between doing too much or too little,” says Horwell.
Your product’s name is, of course, another packaging aspect that should never be an afterthought.
Modern consumers want to buy from companies with matching, transparent values. This is another thing your design should communicate about your business. In Horwell’s opinion, this is a major opportunity for new brands, as established companies can’t adapt quickly.
To illustrate: is your product certified to be Vegan, Fairtrade or Organic? Ask yourself which of these resonates with your target audience and insist on it in your messaging. More recently, consumers are looking for certifications like B Corporation logo that lauds businesses considering their social impact.