The basic function of packaging has always been to protect and contain a product. In a competitive market, branding and packaging are important and have become an integral part of the product. We instantly recognise products by the size, shape and colour of packaging.
The marketing department give a product a unique look and decide on the package design. This will incorporate the brand name and will differentiate the product from competitors.This is known as a unique selling point.
The shape, size and colour are important factors when packaging a product. The marketing department will want to make the packaging attractive and distinctive. Coke’s packaging is dominated by red. This helps consumers to recognise a product instantly, when they are in a shop. The same applies to the shape of the packaging. Deodorants and shampoos, for example, come in all shapes and sizes. Remember that the actual product is inside the container, so the packaging and advertising are all that will attract us to try a product in the first place.
Brand name and logo
Large manufacturers understand the importance of their brand name. Kellogg’s, Adidas and Microsoft are all household names which we associate with quality. As a result, we are likely to buy one of their products when we go shopping rather than an untried or unknown one even if it is say, a supermarket’s own brand. This is why it is important for their brand name or a striking logo to be prominent on packaging.
The main aim of product differentiation is to give a product a distinctive image which will differentiate it from similar products. An expensive perfume or aftershave might be sold in an elegantly designed bottle. This sort of packaging suggests quality and would be targeted at a person with taste. Even if the product itself was not very good, the packaging alone could give the impression that it was.
Effects on consumer behaviour
The success of a product through branding can lead to brand loyalty. A positive buying experience results in repeat sales. Consumers tend to stick to a product if we like it. This in turn can lead to a trust in other products under the same brand name.
There are so many products on the market, many of them similar to each other, that the decision to make a first time purchase can be a difficult process. If we don’t know about the product already, we take advice from people who do or we read the magazine reports about it. Without personal recommendation, we rely on advertising and the product’s packaging to help us make a buying decision.
In a highly competitive market, the marketing department try to make their products stand out against the rest. A supermarket is a good example of this, with shelves full of almost identical products to choose from. The challenge facing the package designer is how to grab our attention so we make an impulse buy.
Answer the question
Read case studies carefully as the information given will help you structure your answer. Make sure you give the correct number of examples.
Fizz, a soft drinks company, is bringing out a new product, which is a mixture of lime, apple juice and lemonade. They want to target it at school children. Give two factors that they should consider in their packaging, and explain your reasons.
When you have finished take a look at the sample answers on the next page
Surj wrote: Fizz should make sure their name is clearly shown on the packaging. Anyone who has tried their products before and liked them would be likely to buy this new one. As they want to sell to schoolchildren it would be a good idea to use bright colours on the packaging.
Surj’s answer shows that he only understands the basics of packaging. There is very little detail, and he has also only given one reason. This answer would probably get an ‘E’ grade.
Saf wrote: Fizz should make sure their name is clearly shown on the packaging to make sure their product stands out. Anyone who has tried their products before and liked them would be likely to buy this new one as opposed to another similar product. As they want to sell to schoolchildren it could also be a good idea to use bright colours on their packaging as this has been a very successful way of attracting children in the past.
Saf’s answer shows that she understands packaging quite well as she gives good reasons. She could, however, have been a little more detailed and used business terms. This answer would probably get a ‘C’ grade.
Marlon’s answer: Fizz should make sure their brand name and logo are clearly shown on the packaging to help the consumer recognise their brand and to differentiate the product. This would allow Fizz to take advantage of brand loyalty. Anyone who has tried their products before and liked them would be likely to buy this new one as opposed to another similar product. As their target market is schoolchildren it could also be a good idea to use bright colours on their packaging and perhaps even a cartoon character, as these have been very successful ways of attracting children in the past.
Marlon’s answer is very thorough. He gives good reasons for his suggestions and uses the correct business terms, like ‘brand loyalty’ and ‘differentiate the product’. This answer would probably get an ‘A’ grade.