Hands up if you’ve ever given a child a present and they’ve been more entertained by the box than by the object that was inside. My guess is, you’re now reading this with one hand in the air!

While a child’s imagination is turning that brown cardboard box into their next cubby house, as we become older we expect someone else to do that imagining for us. As consumers, we want objects to speak to us and tell us all about them just from the way they sit on the shelf.

That’s why packaging is just so important for retail products and why the ‘big boys‘ spend so much money on it every single day.

As marketers and designers, we understand and appreciate the needs of packaging to speak this silent language that consumers constantly seek.

Colour, form, shape, size and texture all influence the packaging on top of all the logistical aspects such as shipping, distribution, shelf life and shelf space. The key though, is about understanding the market and knowing what is going to drive a consumer to choose your product over another.

Coke is probably the best example with a trademarked bottle shape and a distinctive red label. It’s hard to miss no matter where you go across the globe. But you don’t have to be a multi billion dollar company to get packaging right…you just need to understand your consumer.

There are a bunch of considerations when developing packaging. It’s a real mix of strategic thinking, logistical analytics and creativity (plus a dash of science too!). For many organisations, it’s easier to join the ‘pack’ than it is to develop packaging that clearly differentiates them from the competition.

This is where larger organisations have an advantage. Larger production runs means more customisation of labels, bottles, boxes, lids, capsules etc. But don’t despair…there is always an innovative solution and it’s just about being clever.

Just remember that it’s not just about slapping a label on something and expecting it to sell. As much time, energy and effort that went into the ingredients of your product is what is required to develop the ingredients for a great packaged product.

What’s the use of putting all those resources into an incredible product if the packaging doesn’t express to your consumer what’s inside?

So get your consumers reaching for your product and leave the kids to play with the carton!

P.S. Brand that too…they grow up to be consumers too!!