Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Packaging Design and the "Brand"

by Sarah Cornelisse, Sr. Extension Associate

In my last post, I discussed the functional purposes that packaging serves for food products.  I'd like to continue the discussion on packaging by covering the role of packaging design with the "brand."  In their book, Packaging Design: Successful Product Branding from Concept to Shelf, the authors lay out seven roles that packaging design plays in the definition of a brand.

Brand Evolution - Brands grow, evolve, and change over time; and product packaging will evolve as well.  Packaging is used to connect with the consumer, and as the brand evolves, so should its packaging to accurately reflect and convey meaning to the consumer.
The owner of this honey business, specifically chose
this unique container (brand identity) for her product to
differentiate it from the competition and to convey the
image of quality to consumers (brand promise).  

Brand Identity - The brand identity consists of the visual, tangible aspects of the brand used to "create an emotional connection with the consumer."  In relation to packaging, brand identity is created through the use of color, symbols, typography, package material, etc.  This aspect of packaging is something that I will continue to explore in future blog posts (so keep coming back!).

Brand Promise - When consumers purchase a product, they are believing that they are getting certain things - a certain level of quality, functionality, contents, etc.  The brand promise is conveyed to consumers through the brand identity.

Brand Equity - Brand equity is the good will and trust that is built up with consumers over time.  Packaging, serving as the image of the brand, conveys the "values, qualities, features, and attributes" of the brand; things that trust is built upon.

Brand Loyalty - The trust that is built with consumers, representing brand equity on the side of the business, hopefully converts to brand loyalty by those consumers.  When brands deliver on their promises and consumers develop loyalty, they are more willing to go to greater lengths to seek out a product, pay more it, or convey that loyalty by sharing it with others - perhaps by "liking" the brand on Facebook, wearing a t-shirt with the brand logo, etc. 

Brand Repositioning - Sometimes a brand has to reposition itself to compete more effectively in the marketplace with its competitors.  When repositioning, a brand has to be cognizant of its existing equity with consumers and carefully consider how any changes to packaging design could impact that equity.

Brand Extension -Brand extension occurs when new products are introduced to the product line or when the brand decides to enter a whole new product category.  Businesses will often try to take advantage of the brand equity that has been built up; one way of doing this is to extend aspects of the packaging design to these new products.

Packaging design plays an integral role in the "brand" and is something that business owners should work to ensure gives them an advantage in the marketplace.  Market research, specifically, understanding how the aspects of brand identity relates and influences the target market is key.

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