Mar 07, 2017

How Shoppers Develop a Love Affair with Packaging

Packaging has a demanding job. Think about it: packaging needs to protect its contents, grab shoppers’ attention, communicate what’s inside, function flawlessly, be extremely convenient, and be environmentally friendly. No small task.
 
So, it seems natural that, when done right, packaging can make an emotional connection with a consumer. After all, it’s doing so much to not only enhance the buying experience, but to become an expression of the consumer’s life. A successful package goes beyond just enclosing a product; it’s hopefully the beginning of a beautiful, long-term relationship.
 
Before we jump into an example, let’s consider what retailers love. The quick answer is “Whatever sells!” which is true. Yet, for new products, retailers will take a chance on a unique flavor/scent/color or packaging that stands out. With shelf space so limited, alluring packaging could make the difference.
 
Let’s follow the journey of a package of dark chocolates, and its path to wooing a shopper. This particular romance, if you will, takes place during the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day.
 
Disclaimer: Yes, attempting to chart the unpredictable path of love may initially seem like folly. But, these “4 Stages of Courtship” are timeless steps to creating a lifelong bond.
 

1. The Human Experience

 
In order to take full advantage of the nation’s third-largest retail holiday (way to go, Mother’s Day!), the manufacturer of these fine dark chocolates wants to introduce special packaging that resonates with anyone who loves his/her mother, which is a good many folks.
 
The goal is to create packaging that comes as close as possible to a human-to-human connection—feelings, memories, responsibility, pride … an emotional spark. This is what we want the customer to see, experience, and remember. And just like a first date, the first impression is the most vital, forming in milliseconds and lasting even after being contradicted by factual information discovered later.
 
In the case of our dark chocolate packaging, designers are tapping into their own memories and feelings to create a presentation that starts an experience and captures the true personality of the brand. There are several inspiring quotes from famous mothers, a space for a hand-written message, and the entire package uses kids’ crayon drawings to tug at nostalgic heartstrings.
 
We’re off to a great start!
 

2. Personality Profiling

 
During any budding relationship (even during a first date), a determination needs to be made: Is this person worth my effort, time, and attention? For Americans, mothers are worth it, as $21.4 billion was spent to celebrate Mother’s Day in 2016.
 
Yet, how about our package of dark chocolates? Well, let’s explore its personality. As humans, we create a persona; what we present to the outside world around us. It helps us relate to others and create a unique personality. The same applies to packaging.
 
Although personalities are critical, as human beings, we can’t deny that physical appearance is important. How a person looks influences our opinion—their height, clothing, expressions, body language—and the same is true of our dark chocolate package. The designer uses colors, textures, fonts, copy, and shapes/sizes to impress and express its uniqueness. If the shopper sees a better him or herself while using that product, the connection is created.
 
Now, the passion is starting to sizzle.
 

3. Inspiration!

 
You can invest in a new relationship or choose not to. Our dark chocolate’s brand manager is inspired to create new packaging as an investment to lure future, long-lasting relationships. And, since the majority of consumers (70%) plan to actually go to a store to purchase their Mother's Day gifts, our dark chocolate’s new look is ready to work on-shelf and ultimately win the hearts of thousands of moms.
 
The right person (or product or packaging for that matter) makes us feel better about ourselves. When it comes down to it, whether it’s a person-to-person or product-to-consumer relationship, the secret to lasting happiness is pleasure.
 
Love is in the air.
 

4. Packaging’s “Wing Man”

 
It’s true; packaging can do a lot on its own. But, as any single gentleman knows, it helps to have someone to lean on. A “wing man.” For our package of dark chocolate, that could be retail displays, signage, and POS materials.
 
These brand-reinforcing executions support the brand and help drive home the promises of the packaging. The shopper thinks: if this package is important enough to have “friends on its side,” it’s worth my time. Now, trust is forming, which is the backbone of a true love affair.
 
Use packaging to court shoppers with emotional connections. A favorable interaction with packaging—just a single, magical encounter—can directly lead to repeat purchases. This love affair could last for a while!
 
Consider a packaging change for Mother’s Day, or another holiday. Let’s not forget Father’s Day. Dads need love, too.

Find out more about Menasha's print and design capabilities for packaging and retail displays. Contact us to learn more about how we can work with your brand to create that emotional connection with consumers!