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 a unique shape or color intended to seize consumer 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 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. Let’s take a look at five of the unique ways that closures can be used to help build a brand.
Opportunity #1: Openability
Packaging needs to be convenient. If a consumer cannot even easily open the package, they are unlikely to enjoy the product and may instead turn to another brand out of frustration. Closures present an important opportunity to enhance the convenience of food and beverage brands.
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 grip and torque to overcome the frictional resistance of the lining compound to slide it against the rim of the glass and break the seal. To overcome this challenge, Crown has launched its Orbit™ Closure, featuring a unique two-part design: a central, floating panel that is vacuum sealed to the jar and an outer ring that provides further product protection and acts as the opening and re-closing device. As a result, the Orbit™ Closure is significantly easier to open when compared to a standard twist-off closure.
There are also options for brands seeking an old-world appearance. For example, Crown has specially formulated a new gasket composition that makes the package easier to open while maintaining the classic look of a 70mm plastisol lined deep skirt closure. This gasket reduces the rotational force required to open the package by 36% compared to the standard gasket.
Opportunities #2 - 3: Brand Differentiation and 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 unique decorative opportunities, such as embossing or de-bossing, to distinguish themselves on the store shelf. Special inks and varnishes, such as matt, color-shifting or sparkling finishes, are also available and can be used to capture consumer 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 skirt of the closure. Crown’s Ideal Closure®, available in 40mm and 63mm, was designed with a plastisol-lined metal disk 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 messages to enhance the interaction between the package and the consumer. High-quality, realistic imagery can be printed on closures as can QR codes which is another way to strengthen a brand and direct consumers to a website or campaign for additional messaging. Having the closure be involved in a campaign engages consumer’s interest through the package.
Opportunity #4: Protect Product Quality
Packaging’s primary goal remains product protection, and closures play an important role in preserving the contents and are often used to reseal a container once it has been opened. Metal closures serve as a barrier against oxygen, ensuring that the freshness, flavor and nutritional value of the food or drink are maintained.
The airtight vacuum seal also releases a distinctive “pop” during the initial opening. This sound is a unique way for packaging to connect with consumers and has come to convey a message of security. The “pop” is a reassurance that the merchandise has not been tampered with and assures consumers that they are going to enjoy a fresh and flavorful product. Opportunity #5: Sustainability
A 2012 survey conducted by Perception Research Services found environmentally-friendly packaging positively impacts purchase behavior among consumers. In fact, 59% of respondents indicated they would buy a brand’s product if it was more sustainable than competitors’. 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% 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 image can be easily placed on the closure to encourage consumers to place the closure 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 the best way 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.
Crown Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is a leading supplier of packaging products to consumer marketing companies around the world. For more information, visit www.crowncork.com.