We all like to acquire new things.
Every new item arrives fraught with the unspoken possibility that this thing could make your life better.
But, a new phone, snack food, lipstick, or computer is made even better when it arrives in awesome packaging.
Product packaging has the power to inspire us to purchase a product and can make us feel even better about the purchase we’ve just made.
Product packaging accomplishes this by helping tell your brand story in an expanded format. Victoria Greene of BrandPackaging.com explains:
The way a product is packaged can create a dynamic, engaging story about your brand, drawing upon a multitude of features. These include the design itself, the shape and size and technical features, and the copy used on the packaging. It also extends to how it links with wider marketing campaigns… It even encompasses the materials used to create it: Is it recyclable or reusable? Vintage or contemporary? Each aspect of packaging works together to silently speak volumes about the product.
Effective product packaging does more than merely set the stage for a product. The experience of unpacking a product is part of a customer’s experience with a brand, much like a company’s name and logo.
The need to tell compelling brand stories will grow in importance in the years to come. Millennials and Generation Z are taking on bigger and bigger roles in the marketplace. As we see in current packaging design trends, these consumers value authenticity and seek out brands striving to make a genuine connection.
Let’s take a closer look at three businesses who do a great job telling their brand story through product packaging.
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Divine Chocolate: Featuring Brand Promise
Your brand story – as we’ve already mentioned – covers a lot more ground than just your company’s name, logo and tagline. And, your brand promise is a particularly integral part of your overall brand story.
Your brand promise is the commitment your business makes to its customers.
Lee Fredericksen, Managing Partner at Hinge Marketing explains:
A brand promise is an extension of a company’s positioning. If you think of positioning as the fertile ground that allows a brand to germinate, grow and thrive, the brand promise is a brand’s fruit—it’s the tangible benefit that makes a product or service desirable.
Divine Chocolate promises its customers delicious chocolate. But, that’s not all.
You may remember Divine Chocolate and its managing director Sophi Tranchell from 11 Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World.
Divine is a UK-based chocolatier. But, they’re so much more than that.
Divine has made it their mission to “make the world a place where chocolate is cherished by everyone, including the family farmers who grow the cocoa.”
How do they do this? By putting their money and their business where their mouth is.
Divine’s chocolate is farmed by the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana. The 85,000 farmers in the cooperative are co-owners in the company.
The farmers receive a share of the profits and have a voice in the business. Divine is following through on their promise in a very real way.
Their brand promise – luxurious fairtrade chocolate that you can feel good about enjoying – is an extension of this mission.
And, they’ve done an excellent job of prominently showcasing their brand promise within their larger brand story on their chocolate packaging.
The packaging for Divine’s chocolate bars prominently features their opulent gold script logo. This reminds customers of the high-quality and decadent chocolate experience awaiting inside.
The logo is printed in raised metallic ink, providing a tactile experience for the consumer as well as a visual one.
And, surrounding that logo is a pattern of adrinka symbols. These symbols derive from Ghanian culture – and are still embraced by the farmers of the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative.
Each symbol represents a virtue that is valued by the brand. You can learn more about them in the graphic above.
These symbols pack quite a bit of visual information in just the small amount of real estate available on the packaging. But, even if you don’t know what each symbol means, they remind consumers of the chocolate’s Ghanian roots.
And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the color scheme, an important psychological element in product packaging. Bright colors on a rich black or smooth, chocolatey brown background. The vibrant Ghanian-inspired colors layer over the chic luxury of the neutral background to communicate the two most important elements of their brand story.
And, that’s just the outside of the wrapper. The inside of Divine’s wrappers includes copy and graphics explaining their story.
Liz Miller, Divine’s Senior Marketing Manager, explains,
Consumers love discovering that the Fairtrade cocoa in our chocolate is grown by family farmers in Ghana and that they receive 44% of Divine profits… This empowers people to become a part of our story by treating themselves and others to Divine Chocolate.
Divine has masterfully communicated their brand story to their customers in an eye-pleasing and effective package.
What You Can Learn
- Feature your logo prominently to increase brand recognition. And, make sure that your company’s logo is the best possible representation of your brand.
- Make thoughtful choices about the graphics that will best communicate your brand story. Dig deep and be selective – use the images that pack the most meaning possible while also jiving with the overall design concept and brand story.
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Charlotte’s Web: Brand Perception
As much as we try to control the narrative around our brand, there is one element that we can influence, but never truly control. And, that’s our brand’s perception.
Brand perception is how your audience perceives your brand. And, it’s as much a part of your brand story as the elements you can control, like your brand promise, brand personality, and your branding style guide.
The Stanley brothers – founders of Charlotte’s Web – know this well.
Charlotte’s Web, a manufacturer and retailer of high-quality CBD hemp oil, must walk a fine line.
Cannabis has quite a reputation in this country. Ever since President Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971, cannabis has gotten some pretty bad PR.
But the Stanley brothers, founders of Charlotte’s Web, have worked hard to ensure that their product is “The World’s Most Trusted Hemp Extract.”
Their product is perceived as safe, legal, and of high quality. This is quite a feat considering the overwhelming stigma attached to the plant from which their product is made.
So, how do these legal sellers of medicinal hemp oils create such a positive brand perception?
They lean hard on their brand story of a dedicated family-run business and their heart-warming origins helping the real-life Charlotte become healthy enough to live like a normal kid.
And, their packaging design and package graphics help, too.
Charlotte’s Web products are packaged to inspire confidence.
They use bold, but trustworthy neutral colors that create the perception of sophistication – a far cry from the red, green and yellow Rastafarian colors usually associated with cannabis.
There are no mushrooms, hookah-smoking caterpillars or Grateful Dead bears here. The minimalist design is elegant, professional and understated with clean sans serif typography and simple line art.
But look closer – they’ve also modeled their design after traditional medicinal packaging. They mention the number of milligrams of active ingredients contained in the product. And, language like “balm,” “extract,” and “dietary supplement” create further associations with health and medicine.
In addition to that, the inclusion of the Charlotte’s Web logo and brand name links back to the fuller brand story of how their product was able to help young Charlotte – after whom the company was named.
And, finally, their branding is consistent throughout all of their products. From their hemp oil extracts to their capsules and their balms, all of the packagings shares consistent visual branding. This gives the whole line an air of professionalism and reliability.
What You Can Learn
- If your brand story is counter to popular perception, visually align your packaging design and package graphics to show the story that you do want to tell. Be careful to avoid references that might accidentally conjure the undesirable story with which you don’t want to associate.
- Consistently brand your product packaging so that consumers can get to know and trust your visual brand. Repeat interactions with your visual brand will build familiarity and confidence.
PoopBags.com: Brand Personality
Every brand has a personality that is integral to who they are.
Investopedia defines brand personality as:
…a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. A brand personality is something to which the consumer can relate; an effective brand increases its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits that a specific consumer segment enjoys.
These traits usually come from the person in charge. But, they can also be determined by the business culture.
And, if you’re aiming to create an authentic brand with a genuine brand story, it’s important that your brand personality comes from an honest source.
The folks at PoopBags.com are trying to solve a problem, help the planet, and have fun doing it.
In 2003 owner Paul Canella began selling biodegradable dog waste bags and he’s never looked back.
Dogs will always poop. And bags for cleaning up dog waste are in constant demand for city-dwelling dog owners. But, no one is really excited about the topic of dog poop bags – except for Paul “Mr. Poop Bags” Canella.
He felt bad using non-biodegradable bags to collect his dog May’s waste, knowing that they were not good for our planet. So, he set out to create an Earth-friendlier biodegradable version to solve this issue.
But, even though Canella is driven by a high-minded and worthwhile purpose, he’s never lost touch with his sense of humor:
Poop Bags! When you typed some keywords into your search engine of choice, you may have laughed when you saw the link for www.poopbags.com come up. Well, when I was walking my dog in the summer of 2003, I laughed too when I first thought about the idea…
PoopBags.com has a distinct personality that shines through in their product packaging.
PoopBags.com’s packaging design keeps things light and playful, showcasing their fun personality.
Their products come in boxes featuring a range of bright, exuberant colors juxtaposed with a neutral background. The raw cardboard color shows through beneath the cheery, saturated pastels to remind consumers of their dedication to using and creating biodegradable materials.
Their logo embraces the light and humorous personality of their brand with a gently rounded font and a cute flower to remind consumers of their eco-mindedness and provide a cheeky nod to poop’s role as a fertilizer.
They complete their brand story with a seal claiming that they have been “Saving the Earth Since 2003”. This seal features their dedication to helping the planet with their product.
PoopBags.com’s packaging unapologetically owns their role as purveyors of potty accessories and has fun with it. But, they also manage to deftly remind their audience of their enthusiasm for protecting our planet, all in one cohesive and attractive design.
What You Can Learn
- Choose colors, imagery, and fonts that reflect your brand’s personality. And don’t forget to use an appropriate voice for your packaging copy. You can communicate so much about your brand by showing instead of telling.
- Share what your brand is all about. Do you have a cause or mission that you’re passionate about? What motivates you? Feature that in your packaging design.
Product packaging offers a tangible way to help your company connect with your customers and prospects. They can see, touch, and (if appropriate) smell your packaging.
It’s rare that you’ll have this much of a customer’s attention.
So, take advantage and share through your product packaging as much of your brand story as possible.
This is your chance to help your audience really get to know you – and make a lasting positive impression
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