Have you ever bought something just because you liked the packaging? Of course you have. I’m not just talking about pretty colours and pictures, but actual design, usability, ease of opening – a feature that makes you pick it off the shelf over its next door neighbour?
Let’s take the example of heinz creating squeeze bottles. This is probably one of the best innovations they have made, and it had nothing to do with the product inside.
Gaining market share (& holding onto it) in a crowed industry is all about a product with a USP. Oftentimes people want to change the product, add something to it, change its colour, taste, smell. If you’re doing it for the sake of it, you’re wasting your time.
Going back to the Heinz example, they knew that the product they had is what the consumers wanted. That being said they wanted to create growth and frequency of purchase. In comes the squeezy bottle.
Another example: tampons (soz boys). There isn’t much you can do to make a tampon different. Yeah you can make them scented (kinda pointless) or more absorbent (even though this isn’t necessarily better). The real differentiators are in the packaging. Making them smaller, more discreet, easier to use, easy to dispose.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that a shitey product will be saved by really good packaging. It is, however, so fundamental in the customer experience. Have you ever had that utter frustration trying to open a packet of scissors without scissors? That’s not a feeling you want associated with your product and brand.
Probably one of the most talked about packaging innovations in recents years comes from Coke in the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. The product is the same, but they changed their entire product operations process to produce something with a USP: your name. Check out where it got them –
Share a Coke 2014 by numbers
• Over a thousand names on bottles
• 998 million impressions on Twitter
• 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag
• More than 150 million personalised bottles sold
• Over 730,000 glass bottles personalised via the e-commerce store
• 17,000 virtual name bottles shared online across Europe
• 65 experiential stops on the Share a Coke tour
Coke’s approach is also pretty much un-copyable. Very few companies in the world have the production and distribution power capable to pull something like this off – although some have tried.
Another one I love from Coke is their festival bands. They literally turned the labels on the bottles into wearable festival bands that gave you a chance to win tickets to one of the biggest festivals in Romania.
Trends at the moment suggest customers actually want less packaging. We’re all more environmentally aware than even, so businesses are going to innovate with recyclable and degradable packaging that doesn’t diminish user experience, to address this.
At the end of the day, marketers should be asking themselves how can they make consumers lives easier, better with their product. It might not be adding a new flavour, it might just be looking at what it comes in.
What’s the best packing you’ve seen recently, that made a different to the product? Tell me in the comments!