Packaging, in today’s cluttered shelf space environment, definitely plays a role in helping the brand stand out. There are various elements that help the pack differentiate itself from the rest:
1. Break the clutter—this is possible through multiple pack elements
* Pack colours, fonts—For example, Tuborg was able to break the clutter with a green bottle, where the strong beer market was known for its brown bottles. We have seen packs with sharper colour tones (not necessarily bright) cuing higher quality while packs with duller colours do get slotted as ‘local’.
* Distinctive pack shape/ material—Again, the ring-pull cap of Tuborg would be a good example—it grabbed immediate attention. Paperboat is a great example of how pack shape can help pull attention. Again, tetra pak in milk is a good example of differentiated material grabbing attention. In biscuits, we have seen Chocofills break the clutter with its singles packaging.
* Pack elements/graphics —Playing up some elements can help cue differentiated sensorial experiences (aroma
or even a richer taste) which can help consumers pick one over others. Juice packaging clearly demonstrates that (or other categories where flavour is of high importance). The hot cup of coffee cuing the aroma…or the colour of tea on the pack cuing the fresh taste, for example.
2. Cue differentiated brand values—we have seen packs communicating different values through packaging—for example, a transparent product window in foods helps cue transparency and quality (fresh, not old or stale material being sold); exclusivity (singles packaging in Chocofills in a mass market like biscuits); quality seal/double layered packaging to denote extra care/quality assurance; individuality (Pepsi MyCan), etc.
Sure, economics plays a role in packaging. However, it would no longer be the only driver. As the above points demonstrate, a change in storage habits (for instance, providing an option to seal back in tea/coffee packs, etc., helped sell bigger packs or single consumption packs to keep freshness intact for every consumption occasion), or differentiated values could be reasons for a packaging change.
Over the years, Indian brands have realised the importance of packaging and hence, packaging has definitely been gaining importance. To be precise, it has already shown signs of being a game changer for brands.
By Shalini Sinha
The author is group account director, Millward Brown