Finding Nemo Within Packaging
I read once that goldfish have a working memory of approximately seven seconds, every seven seconds they start their lives all over again. So I pose this question; are average consumers goldfish? Today, consumers are more visually stimulated than ever before. At one point in time, the marketing problem was how to catch the consumer’s attention. Now, the problem is how to keep it. “Hi, I’m Dory.” What was my next point?
Packaging…valuable real estate.
“This is an ocean silly. We’re not the only two in here.” There are thousands beyond thousands of SKUs in a typical grocery store, therefore forcing consumers to make fast decisions. How does a brand stand out on the shelf? I use the word ‘shelf’ loosely; think of it more as the overall category. A rise of competitive brands can stimulate the consumer’s interest in the category; however, oversaturation can cause negative effects making it more important than ever to differentiate. We as consumers are not built the same, we all have different influencers, and these influencers are constantly changing. Catch my drift?
Packaging…a visual vocabulary.
“I wish I could speak whale.” What does a package communicate through its appearance? A successful package uses a visual vocabulary that can be noticed, felt, smelled, understood, and recognized within a few inches in one second or less. How? Science; the Sequence of Cognition. Most commonly discussed in terms of creating a powerful brand mark, yet still rings true in the world of packaging. Visual images can be remembered and recognized directly, while words have to be decoded into meaning, roughly translated, it takes more effort to take the time and read. Reading is not necessary to identify shapes, but identifying shapes is necessary to read.
The first sequence of cognition is SHAPE. The brain acknowledges distinctive shapes, which makes shape the fastest and easiest way to make a lasting imprint on memory. Does the package look like and or fit the category or does the package create it’s own niche? All of this can be communicated within nanoseconds by use of shape.
The second in the sequence is COLOR. Color has the ability to trigger emotions with the consumer subconsciously, as well as, evoke brand associations. Target with red, Starbucks with green, Facebook with blue, UPS with brown, etc.
Last but certainly not least is, CONTENT. While this component is not normally the eye catcher, it is what keeps them coming back for more. Consumers are suckers for a brand they can relate to on some level. The consumer’s brain takes longer to process the information showcased on the package, but here is where you can close the deal. In other words, a package can be the tangible relationship with a brand.
Successful packaging has an appeal that translates well on the shelves, as well as, in the mind of the consumer. All consumers have developed subconscious and heuristic cues that guide their purchasing decisions, yet they are always looking for something bigger and better; easily persuaded to try something different or even the same product that has been given a facelift. We are all goldfish…”just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”