Brand managers are all looking for their product packaging to contribute towards profits. Unfortunately many of these packaging designs fail on-shelf and fail to achieve the unit sales projected. A poorly constructed brief is one of the 12 major contributing reasons packaging designs fail to deliver on-shelf profits.

12 Reasons Packaging Design Fails.

Reason # 1) Poor Brief.

Here is a baker’s dozen of key elements required to ensure an effective brief.

  1. Project description – What is the purpose of the new design brief? Is the project brief describing a new product pack design or a revision to an existing design? An unclear or un-detailed project description for the required design can set up a packaging design failure and cost blowouts right from the start.
  2. Background – Provide a detailed background and reasons for the project design. The information required should include the market place, size of market, products brand share, marketing objectives, product USP and price positioning etc.
  3. The product – You should provide a comprehensive description of the product, including pricing and USP relative to your competitors.
  4. Brand positioning statement -Describe the essence of your brand. Keep it as close to one sentence as you can.
  5. Brand personality – Does your brand have a personality or an image it needs to portray to it’s targeted consumer? These are key points that help with brand essence and positioning.
  6. Unique selling proposition -Does the product have it’s own specific USP? What is the brands real or perceived benefit differentiating it from the competing brands and products? giving the buyer a logical reason to prefer it over other brands/products.
  7. Competitors – List the competitors products and any relevant competitive information.
  8. Target market – Describe your customer demographic, psychographic and applications. How do they feel about the product, segment or brand. What is it that specifically motivates the target group?
  9. Design direction and strategy – Describe the strategic approach to the design and any direction that you’d like to be considered during the design process.
  10. Design objectives – What objectives must the design achieve?
  11. Communication hierarchy – What are the key primary and secondary messages? (presented in the form of copy hierarchy.)
  12. Timings – What are all the key project deliverable dates?
  13. Detailed requirements/mandatories
  • Pack specifications – size, dimensions, die-lines
  • Where will it be used? Print, digital, in-house
  • Print process
  • Mandatory elements – logo, typefaces, colours etc.
  • Mandatory copy – nutritional, legals, address, barcode, brand and weight etc.
  • Restrictions – What restrictions must be avoided
  • Appendices – where possible supply samples of competitors products, support visuals etc.

When it comes to “the brief” you need to invest as much time as possible to ensure that everyone is on the same page with as much detail as possible. A shoddy communicated brief delivers a poor on-shelf outcome.

Packaging design often fails to deliver the unit sales projected because of a poorly constructed brief. In the next blog post we will review the second reason why packaging designs don’t deliver on-shelf profits, poor strategy.