It’s Time to Understand the Online “package”
As marketers, we need to think of packaging in all the ways shoppers and consumers experience a brand. Every brand is originally devised as a solution to an unmet consumer need, an opportunity that’s powerful enough to justify the effort to create a solution for it. More than a container, the “package” is the presentation of that solution so the consumer understands and then desires the product’s benefits enough to buy it.
However, physical packages are designed to compete in a specific context, typically on the shelf in a complex retail environment, where the consumer can read the label, gauge the size and weight, perhaps encounter the fragrance, anticipate how she will use it, and understand its relationship to other products in the brand line as well as its relationship to other items in her cart. The package and the brand equities that reside there are the main communication vehicles to demystify the product and encourage purchase. People want to know what they will get.
Mug Shots Can’t Leverage Shopping Environment
So why do we allow our brands to suffer the loss of this incredible consumer connection when they enter online retail? Historically, online (like other developing channels) simply took assets and tools developed for the traditional retail trade and repurposed them to best fit new channel needs. But these “mug shot images” only document what is sold in retail stores; they do not leverage the inherent advantages of the specific shopping environment.
Thus, a crucial question: How can we use the brand’s equities in a more fluid, efficient and precise fashion across the broad array of selling environments? How do we make the strategic work of brand architecture pay off, in this case online?