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How to Design Packaging That Tells Your Product’s Story

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Today’s integrated marketers know their product’s success depends on telling impactful stories that deepen customer connections. The visual and tactile elements around which your company builds its stories can either elevate or detract from the message. Nowhere is this more apparent than in packaging design.

Experts at Packaging Distributors of America identify five elements of packaging that send powerful messages to your customers. Consider these elements, and the story you want them to tell, to boost the selling power of virtually any product packaging.

The Emotional Story of Color Research shows that color often drives emotional purchasing, particularly when it aligns with buyer values. If target customers value low price, for example, orange packaging reinforces product value. Conversely, black is a go-to color for packaging a luxury brand, while opting for a shade of blue emphasizes reliability. Although personal preferences and cultural backgrounds play a part in how individual consumers interpret color, leveraging the psychology of color helps marketers reinforce a product’s story.

The Imputed Story of Quality When it comes to quality, packaging communicates as much to potential buyers as the product itself.  Packaging doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should align with customer expectations. Incorporating a little bit of flair or some small novel details can turn generic packaging into something unique, distinctive and desirable.

The Perceived Story of Size Empty space in packaging not only costs more, it also reduces perceived value. When a pint-sized product comes in a gallon-size package customers feel mislead, even when they can see what’s inside before they buy. Design packaging to fit the product.

The Moral Story of Sustainability Be on the lookout for excess packaging that can alienate environmentally sensitive consumers. Sustainable packaging increases product appeal, especially among Millennials. While the price point on zero-impact packaging remains high, affordable solutions exist if you start with the right materials and prioritize thoughtful design.

The Practical Story of Usability We’ve all experienced the frustration of trying to pry open those notorious plastic clamshells. When customers struggle with packaging it reflects negatively on both your product and your brand. The best packaging performs as expected and feels easy and effortless for the customer.

Packaging has an important role to play in your integrated marketing. Consider the story packaging should tell and invest in an appropriate design. You’ll be rewarded with higher sales and increased customer satisfaction.

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