Does Your Brand Communications Strategy Include Packaging?
Your packaging might be the most important form of marketing you have because it is the only form of marketing that 100% of your customers will see.
Your packaging is how your brand is represented on shelves or to customers when they receive your product in the mail. Any representation of your company is marketing, but your packaging is valuable real estate that should be a part of your brand communications strategy.
Here is a look at the core elements of a brand communications strategy and how to incorporate packaging into each one.
Your brand message has to be about more than the benefits of your products – you have to relate those benefits to what your audience cares about.
Who are they? What questions do they have? What pain points do they need solutions for? As president of design consultancy Design Force Inc., Ted Mininni points out, packaging should target interests instead of pigeonholing your audience based on demographic groups. Packaging needs to feel personal, fit a lifestyle and inspire the consumer. Appealing to feelings and imagination is better for profits than trying to appeal to the rational customer.
Think about packaging as a channel for communicating your brand message to your audience. Strive to understand what drives your customers' purchasing decisions and what resonates with them on an emotional level, and then ensure that this is conveyed in your packaging design.
Goals and Objectives
Consider your business goals, why you are communicating with your audience and what you want your audience to do.
Do you want customers to engage with you on social media? Visit your website to check out other products made by your company? Or, if you have sustainability goals in place, are you communicating this green initiative in your packaging? Do consumers know that they can recycle or compost your packaging?
Your marketing goals should drive your packaging communication. This includes how you want customers to perceive your brand and actions you want them to take after they purchase your product.
What you communicate to your customers will relate to your goals and objectives. Key messages could include:
- Content that speaks to your brand values and conveys what you want your perception to be
- Claims your brand is making that enhance the product's value
- Your brand's mission and how that benefits the consumer
Consider making sustainability a focus. In 2017, the Billerud Consumer Panel found 68% of consumers around the globe see themselves as the primary force to change the future for packaging sustainability.
When you communicate what makes your packaging sustainable and how the consumer can make the end of life for the packaging sustainable, you put the power in their hands — which is what they want.
How will you achieve your goals, meet your audience’s needs and deliver your key messages? Your plan should outline strategies that support your goals and detail the tactics you will use to support these strategies.
Think about all the elements of packaging that you can use to communicate your brand message:
- Graphics and imagery
- Shape and design of package
- Packaging materials
- Sustainability certifications
Specific packaging elements may align with specific goals. Be sure to clearly define how each packaging design strategy will meet a certain goal so you can accurately measure its success.
You'll need to measure how effective and visible your communication is. Are your customers taking the actions you want them to? Has your packaging improved your brand sentiment? Are you selling more of the products that have new packaging?
How will you know if you've succeeded or failed? What will you measure?
Before you release new packaging, you can test different versions with current customers and focus groups to see what your target audience responds to and how clear your communication is. You could also release slight variations in packaging and measure the success of each to continue to optimize your packaging brand communications strategy.
Packaging Is Your Primary Brand Communications Vehicle
There is no better way to connect with customers than through the packaging that surrounds the product they are holding in their hands. The most successful brands integrate packaging into their marketing to strengthen the relationship and drive consumer loyalty. At Billerud we are committed to helping you convey your brand values and story through packaging that is optimized and sustainable.
Explore more packaging design resources on our website or read the Billerud Annual and Sustainability Report 2018 for insights on how we communicate sustainability through packaging. And if you want more information on sustainable packaging solutions, contact us today.