Why your product packaging still matters


I ordered a new STEM toy for my kids, and was watching them open & start to play. It was great watching them play with the toy, and possibly better still when they finished and tidied it back up (how rare is that?). The experience really got me thinking about how they had interacted with the product, and what impact the packaging had made.

The Grand Opening

Logistics, stacking & storage benefits aside (these are important, and your packaging massively contributes, we won’t cover it in this article though), the image on the outside of the box immediately communicated what the toy was, what was included and how it was supposed to be used. The age tag was an important reassurance that, yes, they could do this – just like any professional certification. We hadn’t even begun to open the box and they’d already made a series of assessments.

Having understood the product (in milliseconds), getting everything out of the box was the next priority. Easy to open flaps, that didn’t tear when pulled & a distinct lack of (indestructible) tape holding flaps closed – meant that the interior tray came out nicely. The product was immediately visible, which gave a moment of pause, and perhaps appreciation, before the assembly started. Playing with the toy is the goal, so making sure they can get to it immediately & easily is really important – as is the satisfaction of being able to see it when the box opens.

The product layout on the interior trays is surprisingly important. Whilst it’s much like a grand unveiling, where your attention to detail is rewarded with user delight – it’s also an (almost) linear instructional path for them to follow. Allowing you to guide them through the discovery, setup & assembly in a specific order.

How the products are kept, and managed on the interior trays is just as important. Single use plastic bags & zip ties, make it very difficult to repack the product. Whereas velcro or cable ties are easily reusable. A well thought out box interior, can make it easy for your client to repack & store your product.

Think about a good board game. If you couldn’t put everything back properly, after just a few uses it’d be useless. You probably wouldn’t buy spares, as much as you’d be disappointed that you’d lost everything.

It’s important to remember that 100% of your consumers will interact with the products packaging, making it one of the most critical aspects of your product. So much so that Louis Vitton even had a post announcing its new packaging! Whilst you’re thinking about your product packaging and how you can improve it. Here’s an example of some excellent packaging for inspiration:

  1. Exterior clearly indicates what the product is good for and how I can expect to use it & communicates brand value
  2. Obvious & easy to open flap, which keeps the product the right way up
  3. Product is immediately visible. No unnecessary wrapping or plastic bags.
  4. As the product is removed, the accessories are revealed

If you’re an eTailer, remember that the only part of your brand clients will physically interact with is the packaging (and the product of course).

Netflix Offline Crown advert, a jeep in raffles place

Take your markeitng offline, Netflix style

Very few companies get omni-channel marketing right. Online retailers (eTailers) and most online services tend to focus predominantly on online marketing, and most brick & mortar/offline services are still struggling to market effectively online. Mixing it up isn’t easy when you’ve been doing business the same way for a while (read: too long).

That’s why I’ve been so impressed by Netflix. I expect to see their adverts online, instead I see their crazy installations (below) downtown, and read about the exciting things they’re doing at local cafes. It’s different and it’s a jolt that reminds me that things in my online world are still real. It’s not just an app icon on my tablet. How effective are their offline stunts? My wife watched an entire season of ‘The Crown’ in a weekend after seeing the jeep (at Raffles Place). She’s hooked and is already scouring Netflix for more to watch. I’d say that’s effective.

Netflix Offline Crown advert, a jeep in raffles place

They’re not the only one’s clued on to this tactic though. HootSuite recently held the first (of an annual series) of events for digital marketers at a city hotel. There was a fairly wide mix of people, but what was evident was that everyone was (drinking, networking & …) talking about HootSuite. Sure loads of companies host cocktails, but they aren’t usually SaaS companies – nor do they usually have branded cocktails & cupcakes.

HootSuite cocktail event

So if you’re an electronic business, start looking at what you could do to get your marketing offline. It doesn’t fill the typical boxes of “scalable” & “low touch”, but when done right it can certainly help to get you organic content coverage and sticky mind share. All the same rules apply, define a target audience, be clear and concise and remember to measure everything.