One great thing about all that “Dry Food” is that start-up costs are relatively low, and frankly, you really can compete with ginormous players, right from the beginning.To that though, to really compete, you need packaging that is literally head and shoulders above the others.
The five strategies below are not just about design, though design is important too. They’re also the overall packaging “package.” That includes the base box, pouch, bag, canister or jar and the environment you’re planning on placing it into.
1. Put your measuring scoop or spoon on the outside!
Make it colorful. And make sure it’s an integrated part of the design from the very beginning, and make sure it seems like an extra premium, or a “freeby” from the very start.
Shopping decisions are made in-store more often than not, so if you’re not spending on any other marketing, advertising or promotions, don’t skimp on this one. A branded scoop from Measurex is a terrific way to set your product apart.
2. Make Sure Your Design is Telling a Story
It could be the story of the company, but it’s even better if it’s the story of your consumer, benefiting from the product and being able to relate to where it came from. Does that sound like a tall order?
Imagine your baby formula is part of movement, and that movement includes the best of scientific technology being put toward the care and nutrition of babies. Your diet formula could be exotic, from the tropics, or it could be space age from a chic laboratory in Switzerland. All of those fictional stories add up to a more complete package design. So make sure your designers have an idea what your consumer likes and what they’ll respond to.
3. Imagine That Your Product is The Changed Consumer
It doesn’t have be extensive or expensive packaging, but you do need to understand the environment your consumer will place it in. Again, think of that Swiss lab, the exotic tropical wellness center or the kind of ideal boutique specialty shop where it might be purchased. You don’t want the consumer to think of another frumpy product in the frumpy supermarket.
On the contrary, your product needs to carry the imagined ideal environment simply and right straight onto the label and to keep it there. It’s a big part of what your consumer is purchasing! The Environment they want is the environment you supply and that environment will ultimately change who and what your consumer is. The complement to that changed consumer is your product, and understanding that change, is again, the narrative you’re supplying.
While all of that might sound complicated, there’s still a lot to be said for the simple benefit being plainly apparent. So your ideal environment might need to discard with a lot of the details of a complex dietary regime, or practical considerations. That stuff will fit on the label, but lower down in the hierarchy of information.
4. Don’t Be Just Different
Be better and different. Plan your hierarchy of information – from initial focus point to the immediate benefit the consumer will receive. No secret benefits are allowed. But your benefit can be ethereal and even two to three steps into the future after using the product. “Drink this. Look better. Feel better. Conquer the world.”
Then make sure that you look at everything else in the aisle (not just the shelf) where your product is likely to appear. Take a LOT OF PICTURES. Share them with your design team and print them out to show what you like, what you don’t like, and especially what stands out. Super markets tend to get a little freaked out when people are taking pictures. We suspect you’ll need to be a little clandestine.
Don’t forget to take pictures of the ideal places – boutiques, specialty shops and pharmacies – where your product should be sold (even if you’ll never get the right distributor for all of them).
5. Don’t Work with “Sensitive” Product Designers
Bad product design is everywhere. Designers are often the ones who complain the loudest. So make sure you can go through a rigorous design and drafting process that explores every possibility and that really nails what your consumer is hoping to achieve. For that you need tough as nails, thick-skinned designers who won’t get attached to initial visions. Run through as many drafts as it takes and remember, you’re creating environment and not just “labeling.”
Measurex Scoops and lids will complement just about anything on the market. We’ll work with you to get the container just right and then watch it blast off the shelves, but understanding where you’re launching is step one.
Remember, lastly, as broad as your target market might be, your product labeling and packaging should be focused on a few types of ideal customers and consumers. Those who are likely to be true fans of the product are more important than all of the multiple splinter groups who will only ever show a passing interest.
This article was written by james t. James is a New Jersey native but currently lives in Mexico City because it’s a tad bit cold in New Jersey at the moment. Still, he is looking forward to the 2014 Super Bowl being held in his freezing home state.