During the recent holiday season, brands took the opportunity to roll out packaging that plays specifically to consumers’ emotions.

Packaging is often what convinces us to buy a product, even if only on a subconscious level. During the recent holiday season, brands took the opportunity to roll out packaging that plays specifically to consumers’ emotions. Specific types of packaging have become symbolic of the holidays, in part because brands often attempt to capitalize on the childhood memories we associate with them.
Coca-Cola, for example, re-releases its original glass bottles every year during the holiday season. Although the beverage is most often seen in plastic or aluminum today, this longstanding tradition is one consumers look forward to each Christmas season, as it evokes memories of a bygone era.

Beyond the format itself, consumers have also come to expect a particular look and feel to holiday packaging. From fancy cookies to fruitcake, and from fine spirits to computer games, holiday goods usually feature shiny, sparkly finishes, high-definition graphics, complex shapes, and textures achieved by embossing and engraving. Thus, brand owners turn to packaging suppliers who can incorporate these techniques and help their products stand out on crowded shelves.

Metal packaging, specifically specialty packaging, brings all of these techniques to the table, making it a popular choice during the holidays. But specialty packaging need not be just a seasonal choice. The format can add value for consumers throughout the year.
Examples include:
> Look
Enhancing the quality and appearance of the package through unique finishes, rich graphics, or customized shapes can help brand owners differentiate their products, maintain consumer interest, and refresh existing brands.

> Material
The premium feel of metal is appealing to consumers, with varying textures and embossed or engraved logos contributing to brand differentiation. Metal offers superior product protection, keeping food fresh and vitamin and nutrient levels stable.
> Use
Premium packaging does not have to come at the expense of other concerns, such as the environment. Many metal packages are recyclable, or more importantly, reusable. A high-quality package that holds a premium product is often reused as a container for other items or saved as a keepsake, which keeps that container out of the refuse stream.

As brand owners look for new ways to use packaging to build shelf appeal and brand loyalty, the answer may not always be to look outward for innovation. If seasonal packaging shows us one thing, it is that there are packaging formats and decorative techniques that consumers have already come to expect during the holiday season. Finding opportunities to extend those capabilities to perennial products can help differentiate a wider range of products, without needing to reinvent the wheel.


Eric Meyer is vice president, Crown Specialty Packaging North America.