A good packaging fulfills several roles, some are functional (container, protector, logistics…) and many others are of an emotional nature (experience, award, pride…). In mass consumption, the main functions of packaging normally act well at an operational, more tactical level; But on many occasions they fail in their contribution to brand building.

It must be remembered that Packaging begins and ends with the brand and for this reason it should not be relegated to one of the 4Ps of marketing, but should be considered at a level closely linked to the construction of a strong brand, that is, of value for the Company, from a global perspective defined by branding.

The key to packaging

If we analyze a little, we will see that each area and function within a company contributes in one way or another to the foundation of the brand. In the case of product brands, their role can even become the “missing link” between the company and the customer. The problem lies when it is well known that branding creates long-term value and, on the other hand, packaging (one of the disciplines of branding) is required to achieve short-term results. The key is to find the right balance between short-term results (sales) and expected medium-long term results (engagement).

The packaging strategy should not focus only on the design to meet the specific needs of the marketing department. A global vision is necessary, sponsored by the brand area, capable of merging innovation, production, logistics, marketing, communication, sales… always with the focus on the customer.

To achieve this, as in any other strategic process, there are a series of steps that help in defining the roadmap and making decisions. In this case I have summarized them on three levels: Sense, sensibility, desire.

The Three Levels of Packaging

A- Sense

Associated with the discovery stage that allows you to understand a starting point and a certain framework. Where is the brand, what is its positioning and personality, what is the product, what are its benefits, how does it contribute to creating brand value, where and how is it sold, what is its target, what is the objective pursued…

It will be necessary to have a good understanding of the sector in order to identify its own strengths and use them as differentiating elements to connect with a consumer who is expected to be met successfully.

Jim Stengel, the former CMO of Procter and Gamble, said in his book “Grow” that brands that improve people’s lives grow three times faster than their competition. A revelation that should give meaning to everything that is projected from the Society.

B- Sensitivity

The thorough analysis in the previous phase will reveal the starting points and the action scenario. Now it’s time for sensitivity, that faculty that will allow us to distill the objectives of the brand, why that is going to be important and how we are going to achieve it with the help of packaging. Sensitivity affects both the moment of analysis and design (structural and graphic), normally working on reduced forms and spaces, where an exercise of prioritization and renunciation is essential.

The essence of the brand will be taken into account and the shapes, colours, images will be calibrated, but also the simplicity, the clear hierarchy in the messages, the differentiation…

C- Desire

Desire is the main weapon to win in the decisive moment of truth against a shelf saturated with products. It is a battle that must be won in two steps:

  1. Getting Attention
  2. Be the chosen one

In the first, linked to the two previous levels (sense and sensitivity), there will be a design capable of connecting directly with the emotions of the customers.

In the second, other external factors will also be intertwined, such as trust in the brand, the story behind it, previous experience, recommendation, promotions, price, etc.

Often, packaging strategies are mistakenly articulated from a purely tactical objective based on attracting attention and being attractive, perhaps even achieving sales increases. But only if they are articulated from a global perspective that is born from the brand strategy itself, is it possible to strengthen engagement, loyalty and desire; In other words, brand value is created.


Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock

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