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Packaging Design - Keeping the end in mind and cost effectiveness

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article image What steps can manufacturers take to ensure their packaging is not only cost effective, but also hitting their target markets effectively?
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As traditional methods of packaging and advertising fail to reach consumers, what can your business do to get out to your audience? The Australian Institute of Packaging's  education co-ordinator, Pierre Pienaar, explains how businesses can stay ahead of the curve.

 
As a packaging consultant I would love the opportunity to be able to consult a reliable crystal ball to see what lies ahead for this very important industry we represent. Reaching consumers these days is difficult. No longer do traditional methods of advertising and marketing warrant the attention of consumers or their dollars.

Business owners and advertisers alike, struggle to come up with creative ways to grab even the smallest bit of attention for their products. Creating an effective package design is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways to do this but requires originality, creativity, and the ability to connect with consumers.

Originality
Most consumers are not readily open to changing their purchasing habits or experimenting with new products. Why fix it, if it is not broken? When introducing your product to consumers one needs to display originality in your packaging design. Consumers look for packaging that is visually pleasing and representative of the actual product. The package should demonstrate the company’s ability to uniquely display the product through color, size, and/or logos.

Point of difference
As with people, packages that are different tend to stand out. Using unusual colours, containers, and catchy phrase are all effective ways to attract consumer’s attention. You can reap substantial rewards by using packaging design to market the same product to multiple target groups. Product packaging can give new meaning to the same product for different consumers. It is important to note however, that creative packaging is no substitute for a great product.

Connecting with consumers
Therefore, your package design must demonstrate a fulfillment of a need of some sort, as well as the benefits of choosing your particular product. Consumers will purchase products because of a perceived need for them. Your package should elicit emotion from your consumer, whether it is happiness, serenity, or even hunger. If there isn’t a feeling of excitement or necessity, the product will not sell. Consumers like to feel that a company is in touch with their specific needs and offers them something special. You must connect with your target audience.
Effective package design keeps the consumer’s needs at the forefront while still remaining effective in demonstrating the product and its benefits. For better or for worse your packaging design will be a significant deciding factor in whether or not your product is purchased.

Cost effective packaging
There is probably no other area of packaging that has been less understood than cost. Although many organisations calculate the cost of the package material itself as the total cost, the true cost is in reality the total cost of the entire packaging system involved. A simple replacement of one component of a packaging material for a less expensive one may not be a true reduction and vice versa. The question to be asked is, “How will the change affect the entire packaging system, and ultimately increase (or decrease) sales and/or profits?”

Standardise whenever possible
All incoming packaging materials and outgoing finished packages should where possible be standardised. If a multi-plant operation is involved, standards are an absolute necessity. If standards are changed then clearance should come through a central authority.
Now more than ever before, packaging technologists must design with the end in mind, how it must function, who is to use it and the easiest and most suitable format for reuse, recycle or refill.

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