How do brands become household names? How do retail companies convince shoppers they're the best choice among an industry full of options?
By establishing brand loyalty, a commitment instilled in customers that keep them coming back for more of one particular brand time and time again. Loyalty can sprout from many different places, packaging design being one of them. According to research from Vaal University of Technology, packaging may actually encourage brand loyalty more than pricing or even market awareness. With that in mind, what specific attributes regarding packaging have proven their ability to reinforce brand loyalty?
1. Appeals to multiple senses at once
Let's say you have two dollars, one in either hand. In your left, a crisp, newly-printed bill fresh from the back. In your right, a worn, flimsy bill given as change from your local pizza parlor. The value of both are equal, yet many would argue the bill in your left hand would be vastly superior to the one in your right. Why? The fresh bill looks better, it feels better to the touch and even sounds better when you slide it into your wallet.
The same basic principle applies to packaging. Sight isn't the only sense brands want to utilize while marketing to their customers. In fact, products like soaps or cosmetics may need equal, if not advanced, consideration for smell and touch. Packaging that appeals to more than one sense may not only entice shoppers, but a study by Pro Carton revealed shoppers may be willing to pay more for products with multisensory packaging. This could justify overhead spent in designing marketing that sounds or smells as good as it looks.
2. Includes targeted inserts
Marketing through social media is all about having a conversation with customers, but this idea isn't a new one. Many companies have already had a lot of success by communicating with repeat shoppers through packaging inserts.
An insert can be anything from a small thank you note to little tokens of appreciation like coupons or stickers. Inserts are also excellent cross-promotional opportunities – a colorful list of other products you offer may tempt customers to branch out to newer products while still holding a place in their hearts for brand staples. These little add-ons really drive the message home: We love our customers and want the relationship to last.
3. Attracts the attention of 'non-believers'
A single purchase can win over customers who've never purchased a brand before, but it could just as easily be a reason why they'll never ever buy again. Brand loyalty is only a boon to a given brand if customers relate its products to positive traits like reliability, high performance and top quality. How can shoppers do that if they've never purchased the brand to begin with?
Packaging must be able to transmit messages customers will find magnetic without relying too heavily on the brand's history and past successes. Has your brand performed recent market analysis to see exactly what shoppers in your sector look for? Have scents and flavors your products use reflect popular trends? How do text and images combine on your packaging to convince newcomers to give your brand a chance?