Customized packaging is the art of designing packaging around the products. It is a branding strategy where you focus on “promotion” function of packaging by making secondary or tertiary packaging layers tailored to fit the product as well as to narrate your brand motive. We all know story of “Cinderella”, the part where she wants to go to the ball but cannot because she does not have appropriate packaging— clothing. She is a perfect girl who cannot live up to her full potential just because she does not have an appropriate dress, almost like a great product lacking in great packaging. Ever wondered if the prince would still have noticed Cinderella if she was not wearing that magical gown, specifically designed to complement her. Just like that glamorous ball gown by fairy Godmother helped Cinderella achieve her full potential, customized packaging makes your products stand out from crowd by grabbing a consumer’s attention.
Potential vs targeted customer:
To understand the concept of potential vs targeted customers, let’s bring in Cinderella one more time. Her goal was to go to ball, grab attention of a rich guy who loves her, marry him and then live her life in peace. In this scenario:
- The product is Cinderella,
- Potential customers are all the men (rich of course) coming to the ball aged 18 to 80 i.e. All people who have potential (money, motive, strength) to buy.
- Her target market is 18 to 25 i.e. people who can be interested in the product, and
- The target customers are all the young men aged 25 i.e. people who you know with certainty will be interested in the product.
To design effective customized packaging you must know your target audience; people who will be looking at and contemplating to buy the product. Customized packaging will get you a definite, clean kill— sale I mean.
Marketers are forced to yield better results with lesser budgets. It is extremely difficult to design a successful marketing campaign, as Customer’s behavior does not rely on logic these days. We all think we’re rational beings but in reality our subconscious is puppeteering us. A force 300 times stronger than the conscious brain. Humans make 95 percent of decisions through their subconscious, these include the purchase decisions as well. Marketers today know that Emotion > Logic. They must design their marketing strategies to evoke a strong emotional response. Regular marketing strategies fail after a while because people are constantly bombarded with ads, promotions, and their brains start ignoring the very things that were designed to grab attention. The element of surprise leaves the strategy as consumer can anticipate what’s coming next. For the sake of innovation, marketers are turning to more advanced (rather radical) marketing techniques.
Neuro-marketing and revolution in Customized Packaging:
Neuro-marketing is a relatively nascent science that sounds (and is) something straight out of a black mirror episode. In this method brain activity is combined with eye tracking data for research. It is science of using medical technologies, to rethink strategies and create smarter marketing solutions. Coke, Procter and gamble, Unilever, nestle and so many other giants are using neuro-marketing.
A classic example of use of neuro-marketing in packaging is that of a kid’s diaper brand from Unilever. While designing marketing campaign, research data indicated that people find babies attractive, so pictures of adorable babies were used on the packaging; still the campaign wasn’t hitting it off. Neuroscientific techniques were used to gather data about the campaign and why it wasn’t working. The data revealed that pictures of babies were capturing the attention of consumer but just as an aesthetically pleasing thing, it wasn’t compelling consumer to buy because after looking at the picture they didn’t look at product specifications. Marketers devised a solution to this by positioning the photo in a way that baby was looking at product specifications. This made consumer subconsciously look towards the specifications. Sales of the product increased and the campaign was a success. Packaging designed after analyzing emotional responses of customer influenced their subconscious. It was just a slight change that made huge difference.
Getting customers out of decision paralysis:
Emotional resonance of consumer with the product is the most crucial indicator of a marketing campaign’s success. Level of engagement or emotional arousal of consumer while looking at the product decides if it will be a hit or miss. In retails outlets customers come across an ocean of products to choose from. More options should mean more sales, but it causes the opposite effect. Customers are more likely to avoid shelves with a lot of products mounted over them. This makes packaging crucial, as customer will never get to know about your product’s potential if he/she won’t even look at it. Customized packaging gives your product a chance to at least get noticed by the consumer (provided the packaging is attractive though). Attractive custom packaging gets customer out of the decision paralysis by influencing their purchase behavior.
Cosmetic industry is the biggest example of using customized packaging for influencing buying decisions. Many brands use custom cosmetic boxes packaging to make their products stand out. Compostable and sustainable packaging are rising trends in this industry. Jeffree star cosmetics is one of the leading indie brands that use customized packaging as their main branding technique. An alien feel to all the makeup products and attention to details on the boxes is how they’re creating brand identity.
Is Influence marketing ethical?
People argue if influencing buying behaviors to this extent (through packaging) even ethical? Manipulating people’s minds and directing their minds to buy products they don’t even need. The answer is unless you’re not promoting anything harmful, deceptive, or illegal, it is fine. Ethical questioning has more to do with your product or service than with the marketing or promotion techniques you use. If you’re creating a product that has potential and being honest about it imminent effects, you can use whatever marketing technique you like.