The First Impression
At Label Craft we have decades of experience in working with brands and their package and carton manufacturing. Brands should view a customer’s first encounter with product packaging the way they would view any type of interpersonal encounter. After all, the goal is to make a personal connection that leads to brand trust and loyalty. That means that packaging must attract, impress, and in-still trust at first glance. What are some ways to achieve this? Consider these branding points for packaging:
- Packaging should appear sturdy.
- Packaging should appear intentional. This means that the box should “match” the product.
- Packaging should be properly branded for easy brand identification.
- Packaging should make clear what a product is, does, or offers.
Of course, a great first impression is always happening on a subconscious level. Many customers don’t even realise that they are “shopping for packaging” when they’re shopping. However, those subtle signs of quality and attention to detail ultimately shape a customer’s perceptions of a brand in a way that is very difficult to reverse.
Using Colour as a Powerful Influence
Colour is typically the first thing a person notices about any object. The truth is that colour has a big impact on everything from mood to buying decisions. Different colours activate different parts of the brain tasked with various feelings and motivations. The simplest rule to follow about using persuasive packaging is that people are often attracted to striking colour’s that “jump out” at them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every brand needs to choose neon colours for its packaging. However, it does mean that brands should be intentional when selecting colours. Here’s a quick rundown of the feelings created by some of the most popular colours used in brand marketing today:
- Red: Red is a powerful shade that stimulates feelings of excitement, arousal, impulsiveness, and strength.
- Black: Classy and sophisticated, black brings on feelings of prestige and glamour.
- Blue: While lighter blue is considered calming, darker blue brings on feelings of clarity and seriousness.
- Pink: Pink creates feelings of romance, whimsy, and comfort.
- Green: Considered an eco-focused colour, green is seen as a natural and refreshing colour with wholesome undertones.
- White: White creates feelings of cleanliness, freshness, simplicity, and elegance.
All of these colours can be incorporated into packaging themes. However, brands shouldn’t necessarily go “all in” on a colour just because it evokes the feelings they want to create in customers. Choosing colours that stray from your established branding colours can make your products unrecognisable for customers. That means you’re missing out on an important branding opportunity!
Shape, Structure, and Configuration
The shape of packaging really ties colour for first place when it comes to creating a first impression among customers. Why does the shape of packaging matter? What’s really being discussed here is a matter of conventional versus unconventional. Shape matters because it sets up expectations for your brand’s sensibilities. For instance, a square box sets up an expectation of being very conventional. A triangle-shaped box may set up the expectation that your brand innovates. The decision about which shape to go with ultimately comes down to the impression your brand is attempting to make. Do you want to be a sturdy, stable choice? Do you prefer that your customers expect the bold, daring, and unexpected? The seemingly simple decision about which packaging shape to go with really can dictate where customer impressions land from the first glance. Here are some other quick considerations to remember when choosing packaging shape:
- When choosing unconventional packaging shapes, always value function over form. Customers won’t appreciate shapes that don’t match the shape of the product.
- Avoid a situation where you have unusable space in your packaging due to the shape of the design.
- Avoid a situation where products are being “crammed” into packaging to fit a specific aesthetic.
- Consider shipping costs. Price out the way that different shapes will impact the price to ship for each item.
- Consider how package shape will influence your ability to stock items in warehouses.
- Consider how different shapes impact how products are displayed on store shelves.
Making your product seem unique using product packaging that deviates from the norm is a strategy for creating a strong first impression. However, this strategy is only as good as your brand’s ability to keep packaging highly practical. Don’t sacrifice usability for the sake of novelty appeal.
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