Packaging protects your product; Great packaging protects your brand

truth about brands book cover Packaging is an important component on the marketing of a brand. Certainly, it provides important functional benefits to the product. It keeps the product safe, protects it, provides a means for displaying it and is a communication vehicle.

But, stop there, and packaging is not providing its potential value. Great packaging contributes to the success of the brand.

The was a poster ad that said: “Quick, Name a Soft Drink.” On it was a picture of a Coca-Cola bottle. What was missing was the name Coca-Cola. This is power of great packaging. Coca-Cola does not even need to place its actual brand name on the bottle; everybody recognises the brand by its packaging. Consider Pringles.

Pringles differentiated itself from the myraid of crisp brands through the uniform shape of each crisp in a distinctive package cylinder in a category where every other brand comes in a bag.

Not only does the packaging visually distinguish Pringles from its competitors, but, importantly, it also reinforces the brand’s unique distinction of uniform shape. The strong connection between the brand’s name, the packaging and a key product attribute remains one of the greatest lessons in the power of packaging to drive the brand.

The heartburn remedy Nexium is known in the US as “the purple pill”. Encased in a purple gel cap, Nexium has established the colour of the package as a powerful equity. 

Similarly, Viagra has become known as the little blue pill. Again, both the colour (blue) and shape (diamond) have become important packaging equities for this pharmaceutical brand.

Tiffany operates in a competitive luxury jewellery market. And, its trademark blue box provides a recognisable point of distinction sure to bring a smile to the gift recipient.
Packaging engages with the customer – and can increase or decrease the customer’s satisfaction with the product experience.

Americans love Oreo cookies but become maddeningly frustrated with the packaging. They try to open the package carefully – but the inevitable long tear down the plastic hampers keeping them fresh. There is no good way to reseal the package. People fold over the plastic and stack soup cans on top. Or wrap up the whole package in clingfilm…and then have to fiddle with film everytime they return for few cookies.
They have finally said “forget it”. The package has failed the brand.

Simple packaging ideas enhace the customer’s experience, such as grated cheese that comes in an easy-to-open, resealable bag. Tide laundry detergent includes a measuring scoop inside the box.

There was a little-known US brand called Glacier beer. The bottom of the bottle had a cutout in the shape of a twist-off bottle opener – you could simply use the bottom of the bottle to open the other. The issue of opening the last one aside, what a delightful package idea for enhancing the customer’s ease of use!
Your package is an intimate connection with your customer. Make it a connection that facilitates, not frustrates, the use of your brand.

Packaging can laso serve to enhance and reinforce brand image.

A US company called Pinnacle Natural Brilliance makes Souveran, an expensive car wax – a rich, buttery, 100% carnuba. Pinnacle Natural Brilliance has invested in packaging that reinforces Souveran’s high-end image. The box for Souveran is a rich black with labels in primarily red and gold. Opening the box reveals a nice “thank you” note from the company.

A gold pouch inside the box contains the jar of wax. The jar is in the same black, red and gold colours. A wax applicator (gold) and a microfibre towel (royal blue with a gold wrapper) are also included for removing the wax. Much thought has gone into creating a package that reinforces the brand’s image (and high price!).

Tea Embassy, a specially tea house in the US, sells a variety of quality loose teas. The family who runs the business is extremly knowledgeable about tea. Purchased tea is scooped into resealable protective pouches. Then a label is affixed to the pouch. The label indicates, of course, the type of tea.

Importantly, thought, the label also specifies exact directions for getting the maximum drinking enjoyment. (“Steep one tablespoon per cup for two minutes in below boiling water about 180 degrees F.”) Tea Embassy also uses the label to provide information about the tea. Natela’s Gold says, “Lifelong Georgian tea artisan, Natela, prepared this special batch of black tea near the Black Sea.” The simple tea package reinforces Tea Embassy’s expertise.

Yes, your packaging has to protect your product. Yes, it has to communicate information. Yes, your package needs to provide a means for displaying your product. 

But, most importantly, your package must reinforce your brand’s distinction.

Does your package have a unique shape (like Coca-Cola) or a unique colour (like Tiffany)? Does your package communicate your brand’s differentiation (like Pringles)? Does your package contribute to the image of your brand (like Souveran or Tea Embassy)?
The package is the last opportunity to communicate the brand before it is purchased.

Is your packaging simply doing its job, or is it great?


This chapter is part of Truth about brands review thus copyrighted to its authors.