Despite the increasingly crowded retail shelves and the need for unique packaging that helps brands stand out from the competition, consumers often find themselves looking at similar products with similar features. While some packages may have an original shape or color intended to seize attention, these opportunities are not always maximized.

One packaging component that brand owners often overlook can actually be a valuable asset: the closure. As the doorway to a product, metal and other types of closures offer innovative ways to engage consumers and convey a product’s value. The closure provides some of the biggest opportunities for brands to connect with consumers and build loyalty. Here are five ways that closures can be used to help build a brand. 

1. Openability

Packaging needs to be convenient. If consumers cannot even easily open the package, they are unlikely to enjoy the product and may instead turn to another brand out of frustration. Improving openability, primarily by reducing opening torques, has been a goal for the closures industry for a long time. With twist-off closures, consumers often have to apply significant torque to overcome the frictional resistance of the lining compound and break the seal. New technologies for closures — among which are two-part designs with a central, floating panel vacuum-sealed to the jar and an outer ring to facilitate opening, or specially formulated gasket compositions that ease use while still resembling traditional closures — allow the packages to be significantly easier to open compared to standard twist-off closures.

2 & 3. Brand Differentiation & Engagement

Most products showcase images and messaging on the body of the package, but closures offer prime real estate that is often not utilized to communicate brand or nutritional information and to engage consumers. Brand owners can leverage a number of decorative opportunities such as embossing or de-bossing to distinguish the pack on the store shelf. Special inks and varnishes, such as matte, color-shifting or sparkling finishes, are also available and can be used to capture attention and turn the closure into an impactful branding platform. The central panel of the closure is perfect for brand logos, and they can be printed around the prominent skirt of the closure that is included when the metal disk is lined with plastisol and a plastic band. These two components of the closure create opportunities for brand owners to print logos, messaging and nutritional value information on the metal disc while using different colored plastic bands to communicate the flavor.

Specialty inks are even available for safe printing on the inside of closures, which have been successfully used by brands to execute “under the cap” campaigns and other messaging to enhance the interaction between the package and the consumer. High-quality, realistic imagery can be printed on closures, as can QR codes, which are another way to strengthen a brand and direct consumers to a website for additional messaging. Having the closure involved in a campaign engages consumer interest through the package.

4. Protect Product Quality

Packaging’s primary goal remains product protection, and closures play an important role in preserving the contents. Metal closures serve as a barrier against oxygen, ensuring that the freshness, flavor and nutritional value of the food or drink are maintained. An airtight vacuum seal releases an audible “pop” during the initial opening. This sound is a distinctive way for packaging to convey a message of security. The “pop” is reassurance that the merchandise has not been tampered with and assures consumers that they are going to enjoy a fresh and flavorful product.

5. Sustainability

A 2012 survey conducted by Perception Research Services found environmentally friendly packaging positively impacts purchase behavior among consumers. In fact, 59 percent of respondents indicated they would buy a brand’s product if it was more sustainable than the competitor’s product. The survey also found that products that are recyclable or that are made from recycled material have the most influence on consumers in the retail market. Brands that leverage a package’s sustainable features will most likely see a boost in sales. Brand owners can connect with green consumers through closures. Metal closures boast the same sustainable attributes of all metal packaging. Metal is 100 percent recyclable and infinitely recyclable with no degradation in performance and quality. Consumers can recycle metal caps just as they do the rest of the package. The recycling symbol can be easily placed on the closure to encourage consumers to place caps in a recycle bin.

The Big Possibility

It has been said before that it’s the little things in life that make a big difference. Looking at the closure of a package as an important way to communicate value may be one of the best ways for a package to stand out on the competitive shelf landscape. After all, it is the barrier between the consumer and the product. It only makes sense for it to be as inviting as possible.