The Importance of Packaging: Winning the War Before the Battle

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but you could probably make the same case for packaging!

Now, when we refer to packaging, we’re not talking about the physical “packaging” that a product comes in, but instead the way you imbue your product with the qualities that prospective buyers really want. It’s all about how you present it to the marketplace.

This matters because humans make decisions based on emotion: Does this job applicant “feel” like they’d be a good fit? Will I be happy if I buy this car? Could I see myself having fun with this person?

If you want a truly successful business, you need packaging that delights your buyers and exceeds their wildest expectations.

An Emotional Experience

People use logic to justify a purchase after their emotions tell them they want it. That’s why it’s so important to pinpoint how you want your product to be perceived.

You can see the power of packaging with a simple thought experiment. Say there are two different companies selling the exact same beverage (you probably have a good example in your head already). The only way these two businesses can differentiate themselves is through unique marketing and packaging — they need to communicate something beyond the value of their identical products.

Coca-Cola is a great model for packaging. Its dominance in the marketplace comes from nostalgia and the image it projects of Coke as part of happy moments. Buyers have emotions attached to the brand — not just the sugary brown carbonated water in a can — because Coke is a master of eliciting emotion and creating the right perception for its product.

Mastering Emotions

As long as people have emotions, buying will never be straightforward and rational Click To Tweet.

Consumers will always be swayed by the idea of status, luxury, convenience, nostalgia, and so on.

And this isn’t unique to individual consumers. Businesses will pay much more to work with the perceived expert in a field, even if that expert’s advice isn’t truly worth 10 times as much as the next expert.

So, what can you do to master emotions and use them to your advantage?

Start with that all-important P Word known as purpose. What problems are you going to solve with your product, and why are you the one to solve it? Is there a story behind your solution?

Cheetos did a great job of uncovering an unexpected purpose for their product. Cheetos maker Frito-Lay conducted MRI scans of people who were eating Cheetos and saw that the cheese puff snack lit up the area of the brain related to childish pleasure. So, they created an animated mascot that encouraged people to be childish and flout authority figures.

And even though a lot of their audience is adult — or maybe because of that very fact — the campaign worked! It proved that Cheetos truly understood its customer base.

You need to think through what your product actually accomplishes in the marketplace. If you can dig deeper than the surface level, you’ll connect with your audience on an emotional level.

Marketing and Distribution

With packaging in hand, it’s time to get your product or service into people’s hands by getting the message out. Marketing tells the story defined by your packaging, and distribution delivers it.

By nailing the packaging first, you improve the chances that your products will appeal to your audience across all media channels. Take some time to think it through — your packaging could mean the difference between a product that barely sells and a product that changes the world!

In my latest book “Prosperity Found in Ps” I elaborate on the secrets of successful packaging and tie it with concepts like purpose and passion to help you create products that solve real problems and also position them as gamechangers.

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