In today’s world, there are millions and millions of products vying for your attention. So how is one to choose? When it comes down to it, what are the deciding factors between a product bought, and a product left behind?
The way a product is marketed has a lot to do with how it sells. The look, feel, accessibility, convenience, and so many other aspects of a product all go into what makes the perfect package and, in the end, the perfect sale. To create the perfect package, you need to think both outside the box (physically and mentally), and about how that product can speak to your consumers on a deeper level. Branding your products allows them to stand out amongst all the others on the shelf.
The Importance of Branding
Let’s get real, the decision a customer makes about which product to buy is all about branding. Branding is how you market yourself to stand out from the crowd. But, what elements are included in branding, and why is it more important in today’s world than ever before? Your logo, website design, custom colors, fonts, and tone of voice all make up branding, as well as pretty much anything else that differentiates your product or company from others. Deciding on branding requires you to think deeper than just your product and what it does. It is when you start investing in who you are, not just what you are.
Sure, branding can take time and money, but in the end it will save you time and make you money. There is almost nothing more important when selling products than how you stick in a person’s mind. Give your product and its packaging a voice and a personality. The more “on brand” it is, the more likely it is to sell.
Trying to market your product to a certain crowd like millennials? Branding becomes even more important. Millennials love a good brand, and they love feeling like they are a part of something. Just look on social media. What pages have the biggest following? People or products that have a very distinct brand.
When you identify your brand, you give people something to latch on to. You give them something to reference, to talk about, and to become a part of. How many times at the grocery store have you seen a product with amazing packaging and, for some reason, have wanted to buy it? You may not know what it does, and you may not even care. If the packaging is awesome, it can seem worth buying, even if it’s just once.
There are many different ways to brand your product besides physical packaging. You have to start at the source. What you call yourself can make or break you. Is your name memorable? Does it easily fly off the tongue? Can people spell it to share with friends or find it again on the shelf?
Once you have your name all squared away, think about adding a tagline. A tagline is just as important as your name. Take for instance Goldfish Crackers and their catchy song, “The snack that smiles back, Goldfish.” Or McDonald’s long running tagline of, “I’m lovin’ it.” Your brand, your tagline, and everything you produce is like a little friendship between you and your customer. It builds trust, and familiarity. It can be tough, but try to nail your tagline on the first try. Customers do not want to see the core of your company change every few months. So take your time, and if you need to wait a bit to come up with the perfect tagline, then don’t put something out there until it’s right.
Image Source: Free-D Workshop
A tagline also helps customers recall your brand easier and more quickly. Your tagline is yours alone, and other companies cannot use it. That allows people to draw a line between the tagline and your product. A great tagline will help fill in the blanks for customers. Where your marketing may have a gap, your tagline will deliver.
When the two most important text elements are in place, consider creating a branding checklist for yourself to stick to. Your brand needs to do more than sell, it needs to create a community. Make sure you know your brands goal. Why are you doing this? Why are your products important? How do you see yourself growing in the long run? Developing a brand can be fun, but it has to be clear, concise and globally understood. Targeting your brand to a very, very, small audience may make your brand special, but it puts you into a niche that may not expand. In the beginning, branding is all about making sure the connection between you and the customer is solid.
Be Clear and Concise
When planning your brand, avoid clutter. People enjoy clean lines, and a clear message. Unless your brand is chaotic, you might want to stay away from a busy exterior. It can be tempting to mash everything about your product into a small space. After all, it is expensive to market a product so the more the merrier, right? Probably not. There is something pleasing about uncluttered white space and clean lines. People have very short attention spans, they are unlikely to read a large block of text on a small product.
The way you describe your product on its packaging should be simple and concise, but full of your branding! This is where you test your real knowledge and understanding of your brand. Think about the products you buy the most. How are they packaged? Why do they appeal to you? Take that knowledge and apply it to your own product. The last thing you want is information overload, because more than likely, a customer will put your product down, and go for another product that has a more concise message.
Apart from its physical appearance, make sure your product packaging actually works. That may sound like a no brainer, but if you are selling shampoo and the nozzle easily breaks off, or doesn’t function, it’s very unlikely that you will have a repeat customer. It can be tempting, especially when you are just getting started, to make your products out of cheap materials. The more you invest in your products, the more your customers will invest in you. Think about your customer, and what they want out of packaging. Is it easy to use? Does it have a pleasant look and feel? The way your product looks and works will translate into sales.
People want to feel comfortable using your product. They want to trust that it will work just as well the next time they use it as it did the first. Think about products you use every day. Why do you use them? Why do you keep coming back for more? I know personally, I will always buy shampoo and conditioner with a pump nozzle because it is easier to use than a squeeze bottle alternative. Do a little research on your target audience to see what they are looking for. Then try to accommodate that need the best that you can. Make sure your product and its packaging is both functional and stands out. Sometimes the smallest thing makes the biggest difference.
Be Relevant and Revolutionary
You already know that you have to stand out. You know how important it is to establish your brand. Now it is time to join the “cool club.” Be the product that doesn’t fit into social norms (but in a cool way). Find an angle that appeals to people on a deeper level. If your product and its packaging is giving the consumer something they have been searching for, it can become a type of holy grail product. You have to be both relevant and revolutionary.
One way of being a “cool kid” when it comes to branding, is not being afraid to make mistakes. Just make sure that these mistakes are calculated, not a free for all. The world we live in now is filled with people who love odd things, and “weird”looking products. Millennials especially are always looking for the next best thing to make themselves appear cooler on social media and one-up their friends. So go ahead, try out some new things. Maybe even ask your customers what they would like to see. You never know what they might come up with! Above all, make your product friendly, and find a unique way to create the emotional connection that will make your customers come back time and again.
Speaking of emotional connections… don’t be afraid to be emotional. People love to be engaged, and they especially love when they feel appreciated and needed. Products that stimulate an emotional response from its consumers are more likely to go over better than bland, every day packaging. People love the feeling they get when they see a brand do more than just what it says on the packaging. Creating an emotional response makes it easier for customers to develop an “emotional recall” for your product. If your mom often baked cookies while you were growing up, an emotional recall you might have is the feeling of being transported back to your childhood kitchen every time you smell cookies in the oven. As you can see, emotional recall can be a very powerful tool.
When customers have an emotional response to your product, they may overlook a higher price. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong emotion. Not sure how your customers will emotionally react to your product’s packaging? Do a test! Produce a few options to see how people react in a small group setting. Just be aware that emotions can be pretty finicky. If you are giving people the wrong feeling it could turn them off from your product. They may not give you a second chance.
Similar to what Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, “Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.” When you create a product, and invest time in the look and feel, you have taken on more than just what meets the eye. You need to invest in your customers feelings, and the outcome of those emotions. Make them feel valued, and cared for. Once you nail that, it is a big step forward for you and your business.
Amazing packaging can come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and designs, and even all different emotional responses. What matters is that you develop a brand. Make a voice for yourself and you will stand out. Now is not the time to be basic, but to elevate yourself and your packaging. Listen to Uncle Ben, take your power, your product, and make a name for yourself.