When you walk into a supermarket to do some shopping, how to you decide what to buy? Is it habitual? Do you choose a well-known brand? The one-off promotion? Do you select the product with the best value for money, the one with the most eye catching logo, or the brand supported by the eye-catching advertising campaign?
Isn’t it strange that when marketers and their agencies talk about campaigns and communications most of what they discuss is actually quite remote from the store? It’s particularly strange given that, on average, 75 per cent of a supermarket shopper’s purchasing decisions are actually made in the store.
Stranger still is the fact that as marketing and branding grows increasingly fragmented, and consistency becomes ever more highly prized, marketers persist in briefing a range of agencies to deliver individual strands of one campaign. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common complaints we hear from marketers is the lack of joined-up thinking running through these campaigns.
In spite of the desire for consistent communication, there is one crucial marketing resource that has been largely overlooked. Any guesses? Packaging has historically been considered a functional and important part of a brand’s presentation but it has never really been regarded as the cornerstone of a successful campaign. We believe that it should be placed firmly at the heart of any marketing strategy.
Packaging is the purest expression of a brand. When executed well, it captures and communicates the fundamental ideas and values that drive a successful brand. It also provides the perfect foundation upon which other forms of communication can be built.
Good packaging is totally brand-centric and provides marketers with a media neutral starting point for developing their other communications.
With so many decisions being made in-store, it seems pretty obvious that shoppers will be more likely to choose a brand, if its in-store and near-store communications, are clearly connected to the fundamental ideas that drive the pack and packaging. If this approach works in the in- and near-store channels then there is no reason why it can’t also act as the springboard for genuinely joined up communications in broadcast media, digital and promotion.
At Anthem Worldwide we’ve been putting the theory into practice. We recently helped launch Forever Ink, a tattoo healthcare aftercare brand. Forest Labs created the product. We worked with them to develop the brand identity and packaging as well as all aspects of the launch campaign. This included a website, social media, mobile, direct mail and point-of-sale activity. By using the packaging as a springboard, and exploiting the brand idea that drove the packaging, we were able to create a media-neutral campaign that was successfully adopted across all channels.
Brand marketers need to take a different approach to how they view packaging. It should be considered as the most valuable and potent touch point and an asset that can, if it’s used intelligently, provide the solution to the perennial problem of creating genuinely integrated brand campaigns.