In my experience the life cycle of wine packaging is generally about 2 – 3 years. After that it becomes tired and needs to be rejuvenated and refreshed. This can prove a costly exercise (although it needn’t be so) so wouldn’t it be more cost efficient to spend more on advertising rather than packaging?
Ted Mininni, president of Design Force, argues that investing in packaging is the way to go and he gives us some advice:
- It’s no secret that most conventional advertising isn’t cutting it. When marketers think about how to allocate their budgets, maybe they ought to be spending less on advertising. Why not take those dollars that aren’t going to be spent on advertising, and invest them in packaging instead?
- Many marketers would scratch their heads and say that they already do invest substantially in product packaging. If that is so, why does a plethora of category packaging out there look so boring, so similar, so uninspiring? Remember that consumer packaging may be the only opportunity many brands have to “sell” consumers, since so much advertising is lost on them.
- What does the consumer interface with first—the product, or the package the product comes in? The package. So, it is expected to do a great deal. Get the consumer’s attention in three seconds flat. Stand out from competitors’ products. Hold the consumer’s attention long enough to identify with the message, lifestyle and emotive cues in the imagery and communications prompting them to pick up the product. Make an all-important connection. Take it home.
- Now be honest and ask yourselves whether your packaging is doing the job. Even if your products represent category leaders, is your packaging really selling the brand? Given the mercurial nature of fast-changing consumer desires and today’s retail environments, a change may be in order. That change might be subtle, yet make a huge difference, while requiring a fairly modest investment.
- If packaging isn’t doing the job, it’s time to reinvest in this most crucial element in your marketing mix in a significant manner. That might even involve—gulp—radical new thinking. That takes courage. But look at it this way: It’s less risky to break new ground if a brand has little equity or market share, and it might be just what the doctor ordered.
Bottom line: brands demanding unique positioning in the consumer’s mind demand unique packaging. Whether the challenge is to market heritage brands to newer generations of consumers or to launch new brands to the marketplace, the packaging focus has to be the same: owning mindshare. Packaging may be marketers’ first and only opportunity to make that vital connection with the consumer. If your products are lost in the retail shuffle, or you’re about to jump into the marketplace foray, you’ve got a big challenge on your hands.
Now tell me there’s a better way to allocate marketing funds than trail-blazing new packaging.
By Mike Carter.