For many small and medium-sized businesses, product packaging is, at best, an inconvenient last-minute detail and, at worst, a cost to be minimized. But packaging design should be about far more than squeezing every last ounce of profit out of your product. Numerous studies, including one published in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing, have concluded that excellent packaging design can increase the psychological appeal of a product while a poor package can reduce the chances of a purchase.
How Are You Representing Your Brand?
Simply put, your packaging is the physical representation of your brand. As such, the packaging you choose should represent your business in the same way that your employees and marketing materials do. You wouldn’t send an unwashed, uneducated, and poorly dressed employee to speak to your best client. In the same way, you wouldn’t communicate your product’s appeal by printing comic sans font onto simple paper sheets sticky-taped to a box. Accordingly, the physical design of your packaging is an ambassador for your brand and must be chosen with care.
The importance of great packaging design is also evident in the recent trend of consumers posting video packaging reviews online. So-called ‘unboxing’ videos show how package design has become part of the customer experience by exciting consumers to unwrap a new product and feel the way the packaging fits together as they take in their first impressions of the brand.
Packaging Affects The Overall User Experience
A simple search on YouTube reveals that there are more than 20 million unboxing videos available online right now. As consumers tape themselves unpacking boxes of shoes, phones, consoles, and food, they report every detail of their experience, including the emotions that the package design conveys.
For these YouTubers, package design forms a vital part of their user experience, increasing both the anticipation and the pleasure of unwrapping a brand new product. And it’s not just the millions of unboxing video viewers who feel that way. Good package design — and thereby improved user experience — really can affect the way your product or brand is perceived. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing found that attractive packaging activated parts of the brain typically associated with rewards and even has the potential to influence people to buy.
Make The Most Of Your Packaging Design
Next time you’re releasing a new product, take a bit of time to consider whether you’re really getting the most from your packaging design. Before you settle for a cheap box, ask yourself the following questions to rate the effectiveness of your packaging:
- Does the packaging design encourage and reinforce our brand identity?
- Does the packaging reflect the value of our product?
- Does the quality of the packaging add to the user experience or detract from it?
- Does the packaging display any information vital to the customer’s purchasing decision (for example ingredients or key features)?
- Is the packaging effective beyond the shelf – will it keep the product safe, prevent leaking, make it easy to unpack the product, be recyclable?