Find Your Audience Through Packaging
Your packaging is often the first interaction your customers will have with your product. Creating packaging that is aimed at your audience is your goal; but how do you get there? This guide to create packaging will do it!
The design of your packaging (color, shape, materials, etc) all are important elements in helping to stand out at retail, and outpacing your competition.
Your packaging should force customers to want to pick it up and learn more. It should contain key product benefits, high resolution imagery, and more information about your brand.
Retail packaging is a form of advertising on the shelf. It screams your branding, product benefits, and more – all calling out to customers.
Key Aspects Of Successful Packaging:
- Packaging is your first impression
- Must be visually appealing to your audience
- Cost-effective design
- It should reflect key aspects of your product
- Stands out against the competition
- Helps to form customer relationship
There are an infinite number of packaging options available today, and every option can be completely custom. That makes choosing the right option difficult.
Read on to learn more about how to define your audience, choose your shape, color, and more.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Tips For Aiming At Your Audience
- Color Psychology
- Define Your Brand Identity
- Form + Function
- 7 Ways To Target Customers
- 6 Packaging Questions
- Inside The Packaging
- Material + Production Costs
- Is This The Best Design
- Can I Improve My Packaging?
Tips To Create Packaging Aimed At Your Audience
Defining Your Audience
We will go into breaking down the key elements of your audience down in a moment, but for now, think about your audience in a broad sense.
What is their job? Where do they live? What is their income level? Are they married or single?
Some professions and people may prefer a simpler design, while others will want something with some real design chops.
No two demographics are the same, so your packaging should focus on finding the right niche in order to sell more products.
Structure + Shape
Choosing the structure and shape is one of the most important aspects of your packaging design. Finding something that stands out, but reinforces your brand and the product itself can be tricky.
Your product may benefit from a sturdy box design, something like Apple, or it may benefit from a easy-to-open approach that is easy to dispose of.
Choosing the structure will help decide what materials to use.
Packaging shape is also critical for success in the market. Do you go with something that is extremely bold in it’s look? Or are you looking for a simple shape that’s more stackable and efficient with shelf space?
Bright colors will draw customers in. People are attracted to bright and vivid colors.
Choosing the right color will make your brand more exciting and high-energy, while other color choices will look sleek and sophisticated.
Your packaging color can make a bigger impact than some realize. Your color choice should be part of your entire branding and packaging strategy.
Customers react to colors differently, it’s been proven. The colors you choose for your product and packaging will reach different customers, differently.
Think about your favorite brands – what colors do they choose?
Here’s a few tips about color choices:
White conveys sophistication, simplicity, class, purity. Apple made white work for their presentation to create an air of high-end products that attracts those customers.
Black is very similar to white when used correctly. This can create a product that screams sophistication, and luxury. Black is typically used in combination with another color to create a specific color association in the customer’s mind.
Blue is one of the most used colors in marketing. It creates a feeling of trustworthy brand, sometimes playful or even light-hearted, it depends on the shade you choose. Dark shades lean towards sophistication, lighter shades may appeal to kids or feel “light” in the customers mind.
Red is a color that can also be used differently depending on the shade. Red can be used for romantic feelings, but it can also create an energizing or even aggressive look. One thing for sure is it’s attention grabbing.
Purple is all about royalty, velvet, and a posh experience. This can reinforce the idea that your product is for a higher class.
Green is all about eco-friendly, increased health standards, veganism, health, natural items, or even peace. Today green is often used to call out products that aim towards health and positivity through sustainable practices.
Yellow can be seen as bright and fun, but can also be overwhelming because it stands out so much. Take a look at the candy aisle, there’s a lot of yellow! Yellow stands out, but must be used effectively.
Define Your Brand Identity
Packaging is sometimes the very first interaction your customers will have with your products. This is your chance to define your brand identity and make a statement about who you are, and who you are selling to.
Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman claims that as much as 95 percent of the purchasing decision takes place subconsciously.
Brand identity is all about clarity.
- What is my product?
- How is it different from similar products on the market?
- Who is my target customer?
- What is my company philosophy?
These answers will guide you doing your design process to create something that is consistent with your brand identity goals.
This will help define your packaging materials, shape, color, and size.
Your packaging is a great place to tell your brand story. Whether this is long form information, or an infographic approach with key bullet points, including “who you are” on your packaging is crucial to creating brand loyalty.
Take a look at Just Water’s approach to their physical bottle design.
Sometimes the best approach is to tell a joke. Other times a straightforward story is the right choice. Whatever fits your existing (or developing) brand identity is the one that’s right for you.
Using Digital Printing allows you to create multiple graphic designs so you can target customers seasonally, regional, or create promotional runs to stand out.
You may not think this is important, but your font choice matters! Choosing the right font is just as critical as the color.
It says a lot about your product.
Some fonts are more traditional, others feel modern, but you may be looking for a retro feel. Think about what your product needs.
Does a handwritten or script font feel more luxurious, or childish in your category?
The copy on your packaging needs to be compelling. Key elements should be huge and attention grabbing, and when they’re drawn in for additional information, use a smaller font.
This size approach catches the customer at each phase of the product consideration, and works to warm them up for a purchase.
Your product description and benefits need to be easy to understand, and clear. It wouldn’t be great if the customer wasn’t quite sure what your product did vs. a competitor.
Form + Function
The appeal of your design is crucial to success in the market. Using a bold new approach that still fits into the category, and tells the customer key information about your product will help you.
This is a personal preference. What fits in with the brand, and speaks out to your target customer most effectively?
The functional side of your packaging is just as important.
First, it must be functional for the customer. Simple to open and access your products inside. It needs to be easy to dispose of, and perhaps eco-friendly!
Second, it needs to be functional for the retailer. It needs to be easy to store, restock, and easy to open. Many brands are opting into Shelf-Ready Packaging to meet retailer requests.
Third, it should be functional for your supply chain. Ensure you’re cutting costs with a proper packaging analysis.
7 Ways To Target Your Customers
1. Their Values
Consider your customer. Their motivation, their values; what draws them into making a purchase?
Your packaging should reflect the biggest elements of your customers’ values in order to catch their attention.
Are they socially conscious? Or are they looking for a luxury good?
Every choice you make will depend on your customer persona.
2. Their Habits
How does your customer like to shop? Online or in-store? Are they looking for the latest cool gadget, or are they the kind of customer who researchers the best option?
Some customers love to look up unboxing videos, in fact over 90,000 searches for them happen every month.
Other customers are looking for dependable and durable, and the packaging needs to reflect those core elements.
While millennials are typically looking for small and minimal. They may be looking for eco-friendly packaging that calls out strides the company has taken.
This is one of the most significant elements that should go into your packaging design.
Some products will appeal more to certain genders, or a certain gender is doing the purchasing for the family and the packaging needs to appeal to them.
For example, 59% of wine drinkers are female in the US. Those women won’t likely respond to a more masculine or aggressive design. Depending on the age, they may want a traditional looking design, or a minimal and modern look.
If a woman is doing the shopping, but is buying something for her husband, a certain type of packaging look will reinforce the values she sees in her significant other.
4. Their Lifestyle
Now consider their lifestyle. Are you targeting families? Bachelors? Or young couples?
You may want a single-serving size approach, or a package that is a single purchase for a family of six.
One group may prefer to purchase in bulk, preferring value-sized packaging in Costco; while another will want smaller packaging design to keep more of a variety of products in their fridge.
5. Segmenting Demographics
One great way to utilize a packaging innovation like Digital Printing is to create a variety of packaging designs, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
With digital you can target different demographics, create seasonal or promotional messaging. The sky’s the limit.
You can do this because Digital doesn’t need those costly printing plates. So you can create as many different graphical designs as you want, without the need to create multiple plates. You simply change the art file.
6. Regions + Locations
Do your research on which packaging does better in different region. It could be that one look and style fits better in the middle of the country, and a completely different look works best in the cities.
If you can create multiple options that speak to your customers, you can sell more products.
Think about sports events. When it’s a certain sport season, why not create a promotional run that includes the sport in your graphics? That will leap out to those consumers where other packaging simply won’t.
7. Adapt To The Marketplace
The market will always be changing, and so you have to be paying attention. As new competitors emerge, or the dominant product in each category refreshes their brand, you will need to adapt.
A demographic may change in what they want when a new service comes out. Gone are the days of DVDs and carriers, now everything is streaming.
If your product can sell better during certain seasons, create packaging that fits around that. Create a new graphic run that speaks to the audience during the seasons.
6 Packaging Questions
Here are some of the most important things to consider when you’re designing packaging.
1. Package Materials
What materials will protect your products the best? What fits in with your brand, and are the opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint (a huge concern with customers today).
2. Package Construction
Will you choose flexible or rigid support for your product? How fragile is your product? Which option reduces material costs? How much space do you need for brand messaging? Will it stand or hang at retail?
3. Secondary Packaging
Will the size and shape of my packaging design prevent a simple secondary packaging option to ship to retailers? This is an important step, and a proper packaging analysis can solve it.
4. Storage and Distribution
What is the cost of the secondary packaging and its transportation? How long will your product need to be stored before going on display? Will it be protected during this time?
5. Product Shelf Life
How long does your product last on the shelf before a purchase?
Consider the expiration date, and your supply chain process.
6. Market Competition
Do a competitive analysis to see what characteristics will fit in with the category, but stand out on the shelf.
The colors you choose, the size of the packaging, and even the shape are all opportunities to make a bold choice.
Inside The Packaging
The outside of the packaging is one thing, but now you need to consider the inside. What materials do you use to protect your products, and what does your customer have to get through to open it.
How your product leaves the packaging should also be a priority of the design.
Here are a few things to consider:
- What elements are involved with your product? (manuals, cords, accessories)
- How will your customer dispose of the packaging?
- Can you remove packaging to save on costs?
- How many products will your customer be using at once?
- What are the standardized units of your product?
- Will your product be stored in it’s packaging?
- Is the packaging “worth keeping” and possibly reusing?
Material + Production Costs
Costs can add up quickly. You should be considering alternative options as you finalize your design to ensure your packaging is functional, and cost-effective.
Choosing the right materials is critical for your packaging to be a success. You should always be striving to go with the most eco-friendly option, and to be as sustainable as possible by reducing your materials.
The reason is it will save you money in the short and long term.
Here are a few material resources to checkout:
- The Greener Package
- National Glass Association
- Flexible Packaging Association
- Plastics Industry Association
- The Aluminum Association
Printing + Production
When you’re designing your packaging, be sure to get rough estimates of the printing and production costs for your design.
Part of the decision making process is also choosing the most cost-effective options.
If your packaging needs to be assembled, glued, or have labor interact with it in someway, you need to know what that costs and the production time associated with it.
Finding a company that offers Co-Packing can help you find ways to cut costs.
Is This The Best Design?
All of the things we’ve discussed should have helped you create a few goals for your packaging, but there’s some key specifics to know if you need to rethink your design.
What should your packaging accomplish?
Here are 4 questions to review:
This should be a primary concern that you run every design option through.
How easy is it to open? Is it a simple process?
Some packaging may need to be a bit stronger or use a premium board option, but you should still consider a simple, easy to open design.
Does your product need an easy to open lid? Is it in a pouch? Are you zip-tying the product to the packaging to prevent theft?
2. Standing Out
Another chief concern, standing out. The market has never been more competitive, with more products and services fighting for customer attention than ever before.
What choices have you made that make you stand out?
If you blend in on the shelf, you’re not going to meet your sales goals.
3. Innovative Technology
Every year there’s new advancements in technology to help design innovative new packaging that catches customers’ attention.
You should research what the latest options are available to you, and compare to your competition. Sometimes the best way to standout is with a better customer interaction and experience.
Other times just having a more economical design choice, and a simpler look, is all you need.
Eco-Friendly has never been bigger. Digital printing is one of the most effective ways to create more responsible packaging. The ink is better for the environment, and you reduce waste considerably!
Sometimes a proper packaging analysis can help choose the right materials and cut material costs by 10-20%.
We worked with a customer, Sinomax USA, who reduced their carbon footprint and saved over 6,700 trees annually – all thanks to Digital Printing. They even designed and trademarked their own eco-friendly logo design.
Can I Improve My Packaging?
Your packaging is some of the most valuable real estate for you. It creates a mini-billboard for you at retail, and when you stack a number of products in a display you create a full-size billboard effect at retail.
Think about your target audience, and even do some focus group testing. Watch how they interact with your packaging. What are the biggest issues?
Do not wait until the last minute to consider these improvements. You should be constantly coming back to your key questions and goals to ensure you’re going in the right direction.
Bennett Designs Custom Packaging
Bennett is a premier packaging and retail displays manufacturing company striving to protect and promote our clients’ products with customized corrugated solutions. When you work with us, you’re part of the family. We will partner with you every step of the way.
With our fully-integrated design-to-delivery process, we can be the single supplier source. We are an award-winning manufacturer of virtually anything corrugate. We offer everything from plain brown shipping boxes to sophisticated, high-graphic printed point-of-purchase displays, and everything in between.