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What Will Make Your Brand Stand Out On The Shelf?

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Traditionally, packaging was developed and used for purely functional purposes, including the transport, storage and protection of everyday goods. Now we live in a different world where packaging drives sales, communication, advertising, branding, and product security.

Shoppers have changed as well. Today’s youngest adults, the Millennials, are digitally savvy shoppers who can use all types of technology and are constantly engaged with what retailers offer them. They especially want an “experiential buying” experience with packaging that appeals to the senses and really stands out.

Shelf appeal has long been at the heart of marketing campaigns and specialty coatings applied to a package can enhance a product’s appeal. However, simple glossy coatings alone no longer add the differentiation needed to stand out on a shelf. Just walk down any store aisle and try to find the item you are looking to buy. They all seem to blend into one large kaleidoscope of attractive glossy packages.

To avoid this and differentiate the product, some items are being enhanced by adding a variety of special effects coatings to the packaging. Glitter, pearl or metallic coatings can be combined with contrasting matte and gloss effects to provide visual contrast, stimulation and differentiation.

According to a study by the Point of Purchase Advertising Industry(POPAI), a package has three to seven seconds to make an impression.

Only 58 percent of shoppers purchase something they did not plan to. Only 24 percent of purchases are pre-planned. When consumers see approximately 1,700 packages and brands on the shelf, packaging must stand out or impulse purchases won’t happen.

According to Martin Lindstrom’s ground-breaking research in his book “Brand Sense,” he states that “83 percent of all commercial communication appeals only to one sense—our eyes, leaving a paltry 17 percent to cater for the other four senses.” The book goes on to explain how the most successful brand owners use strategies to integrate packaging that appeals to all five of the senses—touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.

According to the book, sight is still the most important, but smell and sound are not far behind (Figure 2). It is also a fact, according to POPAI, that 70 percent of packages that are picked up are purchased, so it is impossible to minimize the importance of the sense of touch. The more senses a product appeals to, the more emotionally connected the consumer feels. The connection of consumers to brands through the senses adds five important dimensions:

  • Emotional engagement
  • Visceral reaction
  • Connection between perception and reality
  • Creation of a brand platform for product extensions
  • Trademark scents