Connecting With Your Target Market Through Packaging Design
Branding’s power is its ability to influence behaviour and this is often done through messages and stories at an emotional level. People buy remarkable stories that solve their problems but they must deliver and be authentic. A brand’s packaging has to communicate the brand promise on multiply sensory levels including look, touch, smell, sound and sometimes taste. It also has to reassure the consumer the right choice has been made. When you consider the sometimes minimal amount of space in some packaging such as the Maguire & Paterson Match box range which we over hauled, this can be a challenging task.
Consciously or unconsciously, today’s consumer expects products to have an emotional dimension. Therefore thought also needs to be given to aspects such as, for example, the product’s genuine integrity, humour or social responsibility and how these characteristics can be used to enhance and communicate the brands attributes in a meaningful way.
There are numerous ways that packaging design can be used to enhance brand expression be it on shelf, at the check out, in use or in the home. Packaging designed with creativity and informed precision can help a brand to connect emotionally with it’s target market and establish deep, loyal and often irrational relationships.
In order for a pack design to engage with a consumer and stand out in its category it needs this additional level of story depth for the target consumer to buy into consistently. For example with McConnells Gourmet Smoked Foods we made that connection through creating standout which amplified the wonderful food emporium story of their brand. This story was supported with period images and references to the natural smoking process of their foods and the legacy of that expertise garnered over the decades since 1928. It was also combined with strong oak wood imagery to support the brand’s artisan smoking expertise and create a bold on shelf differentiator with stronger visual distinction.
Positive experiences associated with a defined brand are key to winning loyal support. Consistent brands make an emotional connection and offer a sense of purpose and belonging to everyone associated with them, from employees and affiliates to investors, consumers and clients alike. Brand packaging is that tangible evidence, a piece of the purchasable brand.
Visual Brand Pack Design Equities
Another key factor in aiding standout is having recognisable icons, things that stand out even without seeing the pack detail or brand identity clearly. Often these additional elements can become a part of the protected brand asset and an integral part of the brands communications armoury e.g.
Shape: Coca-Cola Contour Bottle
Colour: Tiffany blue/green, Guinness black & cream
Illustration/Symbol: Nike Swoosh, McDonalds M, part eaten apple of Apple Computers
Product Name/Descriptor: Finger Lick’n Good – KFC
Effective packaging combines tactile and visual cues to transmit brand values along with the brand story. Shape, material and mechanics become one with graphics to compete for attention, communicate its message, identify the product and sell it’s qualities. Visual characteristics such as colours and typography, the tone the product or service uses to write or speak about itself and the media through which it appears combine to form a brand’s personality. All points of contact offer an opportunity to communicate brand image.
Packaging Functionality and Aesthetics
Good packaging is an equal balance of functionality and aesthetics all of which are assessed based on the appropriate needs of the actual product and target market as well as the manufacturers production requirements.
Sensory cues from characteristics like packaging material, quality and colour palettes together with the classic tools of typography, layout, illustration and photography combine to form a consumer’s impression of a brand and product. However stunning a box design is, it fails miserably on functionality if it can’t protect and carry the weight of its contents.
Behind many products attractive and persuasive exteriors lie other direct user benefits that can enhance brand perceptions and functionality. It may be that a product has become easier to use, or that it is easier to store or is tamper evident or more environmentally friendly or simply more aesthetically attuned to contemporary home interiors or that it is better protected against contamination and deterioration.
Supermarket product retailing is one of the most aggressive retailing sectors where competition is at it’s fiercest and consequently often where imaginative pack design and innovation is at it’s most valuable. The real point here is that the packaging can often end up becoming the thing greatest value above and beyond the actual product itself. In short the packaging becomes the most tangible evidence of the brand.