Many people still view packaging as a transportation medium, although for companies it is their most important communications medium. A full 100% of customers touch the packaging, and it communicates brand values 24/7. A selling package both stands out to its advantage on the shelf and raises the value of the product, usually translating to higher consumer willingness-to-pay and repeat purchases.
Modern consumers are aware and thoughtful buyers. When purchasing products and services, they want to promote causes close to their own values, and do good deeds to themselves and the world. Unethical and unecological products are boycotted, based on both information and perceptions. What does your package communicate about the values of your brand?
From the viewpoint of circular economy, the key issue is understanding and helping the consumers. If consumers do not understand how a package is recycled, or find it excessively difficult, they may even decide not to buy those products. Use and disposal of packaging should be intuitive, without need for long, complicated instructions. In consumer minds, user experience should evoke the perception that this time, they and the environment were actually taken into consideration during the design process. In addition to functionality and responsibility, experientiality becomes an important dimension. Flimsy and tacky packaging gives the brand a vague image, regardless of how ecological the actual product might be.
”In consumer minds, user experience should evoke the perception that this time, they and the environment were actually taken into consideration during the design process.”
At the moment, brands are extremely interested in ecological packaging solutions. Research results allow companies to see things through consumer eyes, which is otherwise difficult as companies are too close to their own products. Understanding consumers helps companies optimise the benefits that ecological materials create for both the brand and consumers. If the consumers do not understand the benefits, the value of the packaging remains unrealised.
Instead of minimising packaging costs, companies should move towards maximising their profits. Thus, instead of counting cents or pennies, companies should consider how best make a full 100% use of their packaging, both as their product user interface and corporate communications medium. This requires not only just focused packaging development work, but also management of the incurred costs either as investments or marketing costs, which at its best can open up new business opportunities.
Virpi Korhonen, CEO & Researcher
Package Testing and Research, Co-founder of Sense N Insight