We all know that packaging does more than serve as the container for your product, and that labels do more than tell consumers what’s inside. They’re both key manifestations of your brand. So, why do some marketers shoot themselves in the foot when it’s time for a packaging redo?
Here’s an example. My favorite brand of shampoo recently changed its packaging and labeling from the bright color/white lettering I could easily spot on the retailer’s shelf. Because I believed my favorite brand was no longer available I reluctantly purchased a competitor’s brand. A few weeks later I found that my product had been there all along, disguised in reshaped, resized and redesigned packaging with a new font that made it hard to see and read the product name. Worse, the debut of the smaller packaging was accompanied by a hefty price increase.
Truthfully, it was time for the brand to make a change. The once trendy packaging looked dated and stodgy. As for the price increase – manufacturers are in business to make a profit and sometimes you have to increase prices. The problem was that the packaging strategy and rollout seemed disconnected to the brand, and the consumer’s potential reaction completely overlooked or ignored.
So, how do you ensure your packaging strategy achieves business objectives without alienating customers?
Start with your brand positioning strategy. Once established, your brand positioning strategy shouldn’t change radically. But it is important to make course corrections from time to time as your market evolves, your product matures, and competitors innovate. Regularly revisit the core components of your brand positioning strategy to ensure your brand maintains relevance in the marketplace. A recent example: PepsiCo Inc. abandoned the 59-ounce cardboard cartons for their Tropicana Pure Premium juices and replaced them with clear plastic carafes when research showed that “consumers like to see the juice.”
With a solid brand strategy in place, plan how your packaging can reinforce the brand to your core target audience. Ensure the brand strategy is communicated to the design team. Keep an open mind and evaluate concepts based on the brand strategy rather than personal preferences. Test concepts with your target audience, but use feedback as a guide, not a dictate. No component of your packaging is inconsequential – make sure that all elements, including the label, work together to sell the brand and are easily distinguished from competitors.
These days, consumers are more focused on value than ever. If you need to change sizing, raise prices, etc., remind customers why your brand is the best choice for them. Leverage your packaging strategy to create opportunities to reinforce the brand’s value proposition.
Once launched, communicate new packaging to retailers as well as customers. Use display materials and product merchandising to make it easy for customers to find your product. Utilize advertising (traditional and online) social media, email/direct mail materials, press announcements, etc. to tell loyal customers what to expect and how to find products with the redesigned packaging. Consider product promotions to bridge price increases to keep customers from straying to the competition.
Packaging redesigns are important components of an effective brand strategy. Sticking to the above guidelines will maximize your chances of attracting new customers without confusing or losing loyal ones.
"Target, Toys R Us, Sears and Kmart are just a few of the big retailers that have launched mega-sales in recent weeks to tempt increasingly cost-conscious shoppers to their stores. This phenomenon -- known as the seasonal sales shift, or "Christmas creep" -- is not new. But in today's uncertain economic climate, it has bigger implications than ever -- both for the retail sector's growth strategies and for consumer spending habits, say Wharton and other business experts." Knowledge@Wharton 8/18/10
New campaign for 8th Continent soy milk focuses on moms to play up the brand’s family roots. The campaign enables 8th Continent to reinforce their family roots without directly attacking category leader Silk which is sold by Dean Foods.
Sure, Accenture and other companies might be feeling a little burned by Tiger Woods but pairing a brand with celebrity endorsements, attractive imagery or event sponsorships can help create positive feelings about the brand say the authors of a study published in Science Daily.
Writing a successful creative strategy is tough because there are often many directions it can take. So, part of the job of the strategist is to provide focus to the strategy by making decisions about what information is relevant based on the advertising objective and their analysis of the information available.
If a creative strategy cannot be expressed in a single, focused sentence, then it’s not an effective strategy. And the result could be a creative execution that fails because it tries to do too much, as depicted in this painfully funny video.
One of the reasons this blog focuses on brand positioning strategy is that an effective brand strategy is at the heart of a successful business plan.
The brand strategy identifies the target, the target’s ‘pain point’, the product, the product’s differentiated benefits, and what the company must do to ‘prove’ the differentiated benefits to the customer. A well constructed strategy provides guidelines on all aspects of the business plan, including how the product is formulated, distributed, and priced, and, yes, how the product is marketed. Advertising, of course, is just one element of a marketing plan.
The presentation below was created by a former agency planner to illustrate why an effective marketing plan is about more than good advertising. He illustrates how the development of an effective positioning strategy guided the planner’s clients to make business decisions about their product. It also, ironically, resulted in the loss of the agency’s advertising business because the strategy the agency developed helped their clients identify the actions beyond advertising they needed to employ to be successful.
Economic Recession Creates Opportunities As Well As Challenges
Brand Guru Kevin Lane Keller, author of Strategic Brand Management (3rd Edition), and Professor of Marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, spoke with Nielsen about the challenges and opportunities for brand marketers during the current economic crisis.
What’s key for brand success?
”Perhaps the most important branding consideration in tough economic times is to establish perceptions of good value. Being seen as low priced or less expensive is not necessarily the answer, the more important consideration is that consumers feel that they are getting appropriate value from a product or service.”
Also critical is marketing investment: “Research has shown that in past recessions those firms that have been willing to invest in their marketing have emerged in a stronger position than those firms that have cut back spending and reduced their marketing investments.”