.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Packaging that makes sense -- what took us so long?





In the past ten years or so, we’ve experienced a renaissance in packaging. In the old days, according to Scott Young in Design Management Review, “packaging redesign almost inevitably meant a change in labeling graphics, rather than shape, structure, or functionality. However, marketers are now recognizing the power of innovative packaging systems to differentiate brands, justify price premiums, and/or increase brand loyalty. A proprietary, or ‘ownable,’ packaging structure (via unique shapes, materials, and dispensing systems) has become the norm (or even the cost of entry) in many categories-and structural packaging innovation has been the primary driving factor in revitalizing brands and entire product categories.”

In some cases, such as the Glade® PlugIn®, Jean Paul Gautier fragrance and the Method product line, it’s hard to separate the brand from the package. Together they are one. Not a bad place to be.

Functionality is another big deal. But why couldn’t we have designed the plastic pouring paint “can” or the wide mouth mayo jar 25 years ago? I think the answer might be that no one expected packaging to be innovative back then. Now, search on “innovative packaging” and see what comes up.

So what does this all mean? If you’re a brand manager, it’s time to look at your packaging with new eyes.

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