Social Packaging Design, Not so Private.

This fascinating opinion article on sustainable package design comes courtesy of my favorite package design blog, The Dieline. The article by Vickie VanHurley, Packaging Design Director at MEIJER is relevant to CPG’s and Private Brands alike. To hear more of Vickie’s thoughts and get the latest on MEIJER Private Brands join me join me at the 2010 Private Brand Movement Conference in Chicago. The conference will be held September 27-29, 2010 at the boutique riverfront hotel the Hotel Sax. Vickie VanHurley, Ph.D. and her colleague Gregg Keeton will present “May the [Brand Building] Force Be With You!”

My Private Brand Readers may register with the code MYPBRAND and save 20% off standard rates.

Social Packaging Design
Building strong shelf impact and better relationships

It is estimated that between 73 and 85% of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale and that packaging design plays a key role because it is often the only factor that differentiates two products. The packaging is what separates a product from its competitor.

With a heightened reliance on packaging design to persuade consumers at the shelf, it is important for packaging designs to be studied among competitors. In the cluttered supermarket aisle it is the packaging’s shelf impact that gets the product noticed by the consumer and into the home. The shelf impact of packaging is powerful and continuous. Although packaging does not reach audiences of over a million consumers simultaneously, it does reach them for longer periods of time in a more intimate way. Each time the consumer uses or removes the product from the packaging a relationship is developing as well as influence for future purchase. Packaging design should not be considered mere decoration but a powerful, persuasive force for developing a relationship with the consumer and establishing a successful brand.

During the design process painstaking efforts are taken to make sure all elements of the design (typeface, images, styling, colors, design architecture) convey the story of the brand and product. Although the packaging design is approved by CPG marketers do not disregard the consumer. Will consumers accept the new design? Designers must be honest, after all is said and done, it is all about the consumer. If the previous statement breeds skepticism, simply refer to the Tropicana redesign.

Provisions must be made to garner consumer reaction and feedback regarding new packaging designs as well as packaging redesigns to evaluate shelf impact and purchase intent. Consumer reaction and feedback may provide necessary revisions to the design that have the potential to bolster an increase in sales. With design being predominantly subjective coupled with irrational shopping behavior a focus group is often the research method of suggestion. However, some marketers and designers believe that testing packaging in a focus group is a poor indicator of purchase intent because participants are not in a shopping mode and one participant’s opinion may influence the entire focus group. Although focus groups are relevant to the product development process (determine if product will be used, price consumers will pay) they are not as relevant to the packaging design process.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.