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Outpackaging the Competition Before They Outpackage You by JoAnn Hines
August 10, 2007
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Outpackaging The Competition Before They Outpackage You by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

Does a product’s packaging count or make a difference in the eyes of the consumer?  Traditional advertising and marketing methods are under attack. They just aren't working anymore. Is your product packaging prepared to take their place? The important issue to recognize is that the package is in a position of power. It can capture a consumer at  the first point of contact in a retail environment.

Consider this recent announcement:<<McDonald’s Corp.’s packaging makes preschoolers think its Chicken McNuggets, hamburgers and french fries taste better, according to a Stanford University study aimed at reducing childhood obesity.  Sixty-three children who took part in the research tasted foods and  beverages from McDonald’s, some of them served in regular McDonald’s packaging and some in plain paper. The kids, who ranged in age from 3  to 5 years old, preferred the taste of the items in the McDonald’s  wrappers. >>

Preschoolers recognize the role packaging has to play. Through the power of the package, the children preferred the McDonald’s carrots!

Seriously, the packaging can make or break the sale in many cases.  Just think about the last time you purchased something new. What compelled you to pick it up off the shelf? The package and the message it conveyed to you of course!

Ponder these important facts.
- The average consumer takes only 2.6 seconds to make up their minds  whether to purchase your product or not. (So, will your product stand  out from the competition?)
- 70 percent of all purchasing decisions are made at the store (This  provides an unlimited opportunity to tell your product’s story --  provided you capture their attention).
- Women either influence or make the purchasing decision 85 percent of  the time. (This means you have to sell to her first regardless of who  she is shopping for.)

Packaging is your silent salesperson. It tells all there is to know about the product inside. So it better be on track with the right message to the right consumer.

The package has an immense role to play. Besides transporting, protecting and keeping your product secure consider what other things the package is doing simultaneously: educating about what's inside or how to use the product, helping the consumer to make an informed purchasing decision, making it convenient and easier for the customer to use, providing a sense product integrity and trust in your brand.  Heard enough? Can your package meet these criteria?

Think about the people who shop and interact with your package.  Today’s consumer is a moving target. You have market trends, demographics and market niches that are continually evolving at any point in time. It's your product packaging “connecting” to them with the right message. That core “message” is one of the most important attributes of your product packaging.

The package needs to "engage" the consumer by clearly stating value, benefits and reasons why a consumer should make the purchase. How will purchasing the product make someone's life easier? How easy or convenient is it to use? How does it mesh with the consumer’s lifestyle? And most importantly, what's in it for the consumer once they make the purchase?

Ask yourself these important questions that will help you build your package brand and set you apart from your competition.
- Who is your buyer?
- How old is your buyer?
- Where does your buyer shop?
- How often do they shop?
- What features are they looking for in your product packaging?
- What is the most important aspect of your product package that will appeal to the buyer?
- Will your package persuade people to buy it?
- Can your package be easily compromised, tampered with or counterfeited?
-  Is environmentally friendly or green consumerism important to your product message?
- What "hot" emotional buttons will engage your consumer? Is it color, shape, design, user friendly, fashion statement, trendy, "in style",  eco friendly or just plain cool!!

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