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Is Packaging Part of Product or Promotion? Should it be Both?

Which did you answer subconsciously when you read the title? Do you consider your packaging to be a part of the product, protecting its contents and framing its on-shelf life? Or do you consider it to be an integral part of your connection with your customers at an important moment of truth, that of purchase and usage?

If you answered both, then I believe that you are making maximum use of your packaging or at least you recognise its potential for communication.

If you answered only one of the choices, then you may be missing an important opportunity. Let me explain, with a few examples.

 

People don’t read instructions

We all expect most things that we use or consume to be intuitive these days. In other words, we assume that we will understand how to build / cook / use them without reading the manual / instructions.

We all expect most things that we use to be intuitive these days. We assume that we will understand how to build / cook / use them without reading the manual / instructions. How intuitive is your brand? Click To Tweet

If you are like most people – myself included – this has nothing to do with the complexity of the product concerned . I myself will only turn to the instructions when something doesn’t work: I end up with left-over screws when mounting a flat-pack piece of furniture, or I can’t achieve multi-recordings on my smart TV or DVD recorder.

In the article How Likely Are You to Read the Instructions they  they link behaviour to personality types. It makes an interesting read and offers at least some explanations why many (most?) of us still don’t read instructions.

As internet results in us having access to more and more information, we seem to be reading less and less. Therefore we need to ensure that any vital information is called out in some way on the packaging – and perhaps visually as well.

 

People do look at packs

Whether it is the cream we put on our faces, the cereal we eat for breakfast, or the dip that we offer to friends on match night, there are moments when we are faced with packaging for more than a split second. It is at these times that we are likely to read at least some of what is written on a pack.

It therefore makes sense to provide more than just a list of ingredients. After all you have your customer’s attention.

 

Order our Pack AuditCheck your packs are connecting effectively with your customers

 

 

Here are a few examples I have come across recently:

Nestle compass on Packaging is Part of Product or PromotionNestlé does a great job of providing useful information on their packs with their nutritional compass, which includes four different pieces of information.

What I particularly like about what Nestle has done, is to combine mandatory information on nutritional values, with useful information for the consumer. While they may not be the most consumer centric company around, at least they did think consumer first in the development of their compass.

 

 

Juvena message on Packaging is Part of Product or PromotionJuvena of Switzerland: The short message to "Enjoy the smoothness" on the back of the Juvena hand cream sample tube I recently received makes the usage experience both more enjoyable and longer-lasting.

Users will almost certainly check out the promised smoothness after their application, bringing to their attention a benefit that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Clever.

 

 

Yucatan message on Packaging is Part of Product or PromotionYucatan Guacamole: I love Mexican food and especially guacamole. The message I discovered on the inside of a tub I bought in the US, made me smile.

The manufacturer has turned what could have been perceived as a negative, into a healthy positive. I just love that.

While you may have to click on the image on the right to be able to read all of the message, their website is very clear. Now that's what I call impact!

 

 

Pringles message on Packaging is Part of Product or PromotionPringles have done something similar with their “Bursting with flavour” message. Again it explains what some might have perceived as a negative – the bulging top – into a positive.

They used to put this only on the inside seal, but they have obviously understood the power of this message since they have now added it to the pack as well, as the photo on the left shows.

 

Heinz message on Packaging is Part of Product or PromotionHeinz Tomato Ketchup: A final example, also from my trips to the US is a ketchup bottle that had a very important message on front of pack, as you can see from the photo on the right.

Heinz ketchup packaging message is both product and promotionHeinz now uses their front label to announce many of their initiatives and promotions. It has become something that consumers are used to seeing - and reading.

A fun campaign they started running in 2019 with Ed Sheeran includes a pack label change - of course! The accompanying TVC ad shows Sheeran adding ketchup to a dish in an exclusive restaurant. While it is funny, I am not sure the anguish many will feel watching it is positive. What do you think?

 

 

These are just five examples of companies using their packaging more creatively. There are many others. If you have a favourite example then please share it in the comments below.

If you're not confident that your packs are optimised to connect with your customers, why not get us to run a pack audit? We will review all your packs and discuss how you can make them more customer centric. Why not communicate with your customers when they are ready to listen, as they use your product?

Order our Pack AuditCheck your packs are connecting effectively with your customers

 

 

People are willing to help you

Geneva airport customer feedbackCreative messaging needn’t be limited to packaging of course. I came across this incredibly simple solution for gathering customer feedback in a Geneva airport toilet (restroom). That was five years ago, but they seem to be everywhere these days. This shows how instant customer feedback has become a necessity in so many industries.

What I liked about it, is its simplicity, it's fun look, and its lack of invasion of customer’s time in providing their feedback.

Our customers’ time is valuable and we should respect it. The information we provide must be relevant and useful for the customer; something they would like to know, not (just) something we want to tell them.

Our customers’ time is valuable and we should respect it. The information we provide must be relevant and useful for the customer; something they would like to know, not (just) something we want to tell them. Click To Tweet

We also need to be careful to connect only when invited, or find other ways to provide information that a customer can access when they need it. This is why social media has become such an important element of the communications plan. However, packaging has not, as yet, met with the same level of consideration.

Our customers’ attention is pulled in all directions today, with thousands of messages pushed at them, from so many channels, products and services. Capturing their attention is more likely to be successful when they are open to learning about your product, that is to say, when they are actually using it. It therefore makes good business sense to use packaging more creatively; wouldn't you agree?

For more information on the support we can provide in product innovation and branding, please check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/training

This post is regularly updated and expanded from the original published on C3Centricity.

How Communicating through Packaging is more Informative & Personal

Two posts caught my eye this week as they both referred to the importance of multi-channel communications. If you are looking for inspiration and new ideas in this area, then read on. In particular we will speak about the often forgotten opportunity for communicating through packaging.

The first article was by Jim Tierney at Loyalty360 in which he commented on the results of a new survey in the USA by IBM, concerning cross-channel integrationThe research found that “only 35% of leading marketers currently integrate their campaigns across all channels, with 8% indicating they are not currently integrated at all. In comparison, only 12% of the remaining marketers surveyed currently integrate their campaigns across all channels, with 39% saying they are not currently integrated at all”.

The other post on the same topic was from Ginger Conlon, Editor-in-Chief at Direct Marketing News. In it she spoke of the recent Responsys Interact2013 event and the keynote speech by Scott Olrich Responsys’ President:

“Most marketers still cling to blast campaigns,” he said. “Smart marketers focus on digital and addressable.” They’re now able to deliver on the promises of personalization made 10 years ago, Olrich added.

Why is doing so important? Customers today expect personalization, choice, and value—because they get it already from leaders such as Amazon, which is one company creating personalized experiences at mass scale.

One way to do this: Flip the model, said Steve Krause, SVP of product management at Responsys. Today most marketers start with the campaign, create an offer, schedule it, and send to mass audience; instead, Krause said during his presentation, marketers should start with customer, build profiles, design experiences, and personalized interactions.

As a customer centricity specialist myself, I particularly liked Steve’s comment about starting with the customer; do we still need reminding that this is the first business essential today? Perhaps we do. However, neither article spoke about the opportunity of communicating through packaging, so I would like to add my own thoughts.

I wrote a post last year about the opportunity packaging provides to connect directly with customers at the critical point of product trial (you can read it HERE).

In that post, I gave some good examples from Kellogg’s Pringles and Nestlé’s Nutritional Compass. This time I would like to add a couple of other interesting examples I have come across recently, where the messaging has become even more personalized.

Pringles goes from allaying a negative to a full blown campaign

 

Communicating through packaging
Source: Zigspics.com

Who doesn’t know Pringles, the  br and of potato- and wheat-based stackable snack crisps sold in 2012 by P&G to the Kellogg Company?

Pringles started using the freshness seal to communicate to their consumers, by printing “Bulging with flavour” to explain the swollen lid. At the time I was fascinated by the fact that Pringles had been able to turn what might have been perceived as a negative (bulging lid = altered product inside) into a positive, through this simple message.

Today, I am even happier to report that since then, Pringles have turned that short message into a full promotional campaign for the brand.

 

Food & Beverage manufacturers become more transparent

Nestle communicating through packaging with nutritional compassNestlé has been communicating on-pack concerning the ingredients of their products since 2005. According to their  website, the “Nutritional Compass” provides their consumers with four valuable pieces of information:

  • standardized nutrient table
  • “Good to Know” panel explaining ingredients or nutrients relating to the product
  • “Good to Remember” panel with tips for responsible product enjoyment
  • “Good to Talk” panel with contact details and links to consumer services.

By the end of 2008, they were claiming that its Nutritional Compass had been added to 98% of its global product packaging by total sales volume.

communicating through packagingArguably more appealing today, many other food & beverage companies have started using infographics to share similar information.

One example from :OTVETDESIGN in Russia and included in an interesting post at PATH, is from Selizharovo Cannery.

Selizharovo is using this approach to communicate the contents of its products, with clean and concise graphics that are an integral part of the branding. Innocent do something similar, but only for the list of their ingredients on the side panel.

By making the ingredient list so visual and key to the packaging execution, the brand projects transparency, honesty and authenticity – all important attributes for consumers tired of recent scandals concerning product misinformation. To read the full post and see more packaging examples using infographics, click HERE.

 

Newer, more personalized messaging

Recent uses of packaging for direct connection with the customers, show an exciting and much more personalized approach.

Coke communicating through packaging with namesFor example, Coca-Cola is putting people’s names on its bottles and cans this summer as part of its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.

They will be printing the most popular names in each country, or using a simple “Him” and “Her” label, when this is not possible.

 

communicating through packaging with personalised credit cardsMany banks offer their clients the possibility to personalize their bank or credit cards.

Although this has been true for many, many years, there seems to have been a recent revival in emphasizing this personalized alternative to the standard cards.

 

The often forgotten media channel

Packaging is a wonderful medium for communicating with your audience and yet many companies still seem to be ignoring it. My question to all marketers is therefore “Are you aware you are doing this?” I am sure many of you see packaging as purely a product protection mechanism or a facilitator of shelf impact. Whilst both of these are of course important, the opportunity of engaging with your customers whilst they are in the process of using your product has enormous value. Isn’t it time you took another look at yours?

If your company is effectively using its packaging to communicate more than just its ingredients or usage instructions, why not share it below and let your br and get the recognition it deserves and shine in the spotlight? We would love to see even more best-practice examples.

For more information on br and communication please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage

Do you feel that your communications could be even better? Is your copy testing coming too late or stifling creativity? Let us show you a new way to evaluate your concepts earlier in their development  process. Using it will save you considerable resources of both time and money. Contact us here.

This post has been adapted from one that was first published on C3Centricity Dimensions in April 2012

C³Centricity uses images from  Dreamstime.com  and  Kozzi.com

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