by Steve Kazanjian, guest columnist, VP, Global Creative for MWVCreating brand impressions, not containers.
For most of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) category, packaging still represents one of the strongest key physical connections to the brand. Think of it this way: 100% of a brand’s purchasers interact with the packaging. Outside of tap beer and fountain soda, you literally have to go through the packaging to get the product. While structural packaging is essential to provide protection, security, or freshness, it’s also the perfect moment to reinforce a brand’s “signature.”
Defining your ‘signature moment’
Brands, keenly focused on driving product lift in-aisle, understand the critical role packaging plays during the “First Moment of Truth.” However, they may not always realize the impact it can also have in the often-overlooked “Second Moment of Truth” – the moment when the product is removed from its packaging and used or consumed. A successful Second Moment of Truth can be a defendable structure, an iconic un-boxing moment, or even a powerfully seductive sound that makes the packaging inimitable. Think of popping open a can of Pringles, unraveling a roll of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, or breaking the wax seal on a bottle of Maker’s Mark.
The Second Moment of Truth shouldn’t just be a pit stop along a packaging’s lifecycle. Traditional design elements used to contain, protect, release, and reseal products can be finely crafted to amplify the relationship between brand equity and repeat purchase behavior. For a package to be truly memorable and help drive repurchase, the act of opening needs to be in perfect harmony with the brand’s values – exactly at the moment of a consumer’s most heightened anticipation. Pringles, for example reinforces the concept of “pop” across their website, television commercials, and other online mediums. Marker’s Mark uses the wax seal as a key visual cue across their outdoor ads. Not only does this “signature” help to unify an integrated marketing campaign, it also effectively drives memory recall in-aisle during purchase and brand reinforcement in-home during use.
Packaging in the age of digital shopping
As grocery shopping increasingly migrates online, product packaging is more important than ever. While Millennials continue to trade in their physical shopping carts for digital ones, the inability to actually touch and hold products will change how consumers shop. And as marketers and consumers create brand relationships through social networks, packaging is still the strongest key physical connection to a brand and will remain at the epicenter of ever-evolving marketing strategies.
Therefore, packaging needs to reinforce the emotional bonds established during product use as powerful visual cues, particularly when the key decision factor relies on a low-resolution image on a website. By establishing these unique, memorable and iconic cues, brand owners can find new avenues to create brand allegiance, even when consumers skip the store entirely.
Brands cannot rely solely upon the functional aspects of a package – the package must also evoke the emotional context of the brand to the consumer. Taking the additional step to build a packaging brand strategy before diving into structural design can help brand owners successfully create a memorable Second Moment of Truth for both in-store and online consumers.
Steve Kazanjian is VP, Global Creative for MWV, which works with leading brands around the world to create cutting-edge product packaging.