Most people probably don’t sit down and think about the psychologies behind the products they purchase in the supermarket. For most of us, it’s an instant, instinctive action that operates on our unconscious level. Yet, what we choose to buy or not to buy, is actually a very complex thought process based on our emotions. The packaging of the product is a key component for brand perception and decision to buy.
Packaging and Brand Perception
The packaging of a product isn’t just for holding the contents of the item together. It plays a much more vital role and marketing experts spend considerable time, effort and money in getting this aspect right. It’s a well-known fact amongst psychologists that what you see on the package of a product will influence what you think of the brand and the contents – and ultimately whether it results in a purchase. If you can’t see, feel, taste or hear the contents or a product, then its packaging is all that you can go by to get an indication of what’s on offer.
Colour is key
Marketing professionals widely accept that packaging colour is the biggest influence on product and brand perception. This makes sense, since colour is usually the first thing to register in our minds as we rush around a busy supermarket trying to make decisions on what to buy.
In fact, marketing experts go as far to say that the choice of colour can evoke certain feelings and emotions, which are transferred onto the product or brand. Therefore, understanding how the emotions evoked by different colours and relating these to your brand or product is essential. For example, browns and greens are seen as earthy, environmentally-friendly colours and could give off this perception to your brand. This could work well if that’s the image you’re trying to portray. But it’s important to remember that the type of product will dictate colour preferences, also. For example, using green or brown packaging on a bag of sweets or soft drink won’t seem that appealing to youngsters who react to strong, vibrant, bright colours.
The use of graphics and typography on packaging can also strongly influence a customer’s opinion of the product and brand. There is a huge difference in terms of styles, fonts and sizes of typography and how they are perceived. For example, elegant graphics might work well on fine cuisine packaging and fun-style graphics ties in well with kids’ cereals. If the graphics and typography don’t look right for the product, then consumers aren’t going to trust the contents or its brand, and may choose to not purchase it.
The shape of a package can strongly influence how the item is perceived, as well as create interest in it. Unusual shaped packaging can work well in some circumstances and can boost a brand’s appeal, for example, using products marketed at children. But in other cases, where consumers expect certain products to be of a standard shape, then it might only evoke suspicion and mistrust.
How a product feels in its packaging and what materials the packaging consists of, can also form ideas amongst consumers about product and branding. Sturdy, solid materials and well-made packaging will give the impression of reliability, trust and confidence. Flimsy, cheap-feeling materials may well have the opposite effect. Increasingly, those materials being used which are environmentally-friendly and recyclable are attractive to consumers, as it shows the brand is conscious and caring of what it is delivering to you.
Written by Gozde KAR for UK Packaging: the leading on-line suppliers of packaging materials in the UK.