For Americans, the use of dietary supplements and vitamins has become as much a part of our daily lives as a morning cup of coffee. But the packaging for this multi-billion dollar global industry has done little to ingrain itself into the lives of consumers.
When a shopper surveys the vitamin marketplace, he is faced with a wall of stock bottle packages that compete for attention through the use of “mega” label banners and “bigger” and “better” benefit descriptors. As a result, store brands and cut-price products are all too easily able to match and imitate the category leaders, and brand loyalty can become a fleeting affair.
To set their products apart from the masses, brand managers in the supplement and vitamin categories would do well to consider the manner and situation in which consumers might use their packaging.
Consider the breath freshener, candy and gum segments, where brands have gone to great lengths to aid the dispensing of their products in a controlled manner; the coolness of some mint packages even encourages sharing and frequency of use.
And while vitamins are similarly taken one at a time, their packages seem to make the process as difficult as possible. In this category, we are faced with opaque containers that must be up-ended and tablets that have to be shaken out, all with the hope that one will actually land in our hand.
The push-button pill package depicted in the illustration helps the consumer to manage the dosing of his daily regimen of supplements. Its inverted configuration makes gravity do all the work by ensuring that a pill is always positioned and ready to be released with a simple, single-handed squeeze.
Translucent sidewalls allow the consumer to see the level of product that remains, and a bold, color-coded label band clearly identifies the contents. A simple screw-on cover makes for a sealed and portable pack, allowing it to be thrown into handbags or tucked into pockets.
It is somewhat bizarre that this level of consumer consideration is largely untapped for vitamins and dietary supplements. It’s easy to imagine how this kind of “push-button” packaging could also be applied to prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals, in combination with a child-resistant feature.
The value of forming a connection with the real lives of consumers should not be underestimated in the battle for brand loyalty. Looking beyond stock alternatives and investing in a proprietary package design can be a great way of improving the health of your drug and vitamin packaging. BP
The author, Robert Croft, is Managing Partner of Swerve Inc., specialists in 3-D brand design. Contact him at 212.742.9560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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