Packaging first – Moving customers to buy in a sea of me too

by | Apr 20, 2018 | Creating powerful and effective Corporate Design Communications, Strategically thinking through the design process

Creating packaging to move customers enough to buy your product means you have to put packaging first.

COGS under pressure – Packaging Design just an afterthought

Constant Procurement pressure on COGS(Cost Of Goods Sold) reduction means that your number one salesperson, your product pack on-shelf, is being short changed. This is akin to sending your top performing sales person out to visit customers without sales collateral.

Cost of goods sold is the accounting term used to describe the expenses incurred either creating or obtaining goods for sale. In the not too distant past, the basic rule of thumb was that “if it doesn’t go into the actually process of making the good that you sell, it doesn’t belong in your COGS”. However with the rise of Procurement within the corporate leadership, so too the actual pack and label design of packaging has crept into the organisation’s COGS. In many instances packaging has moved from the Marketing budget into COGS.

To its detriment, packaging design has found itself as a last minute after thought in the COGS development cycle as opposed to what was a Marketing priority. Unfortunately for many Brand Marketers, even in those instances where the pack and label design is not included in the COGS, it still doesn’t get the quality attention it so desperately requires to be a top performer.

More products, more packs…less sales!

The current market place has seen a massive proliferation of new products surfacing in all FMCG categories. However whilst we as marketers are getting really good at creating new products and packaging, why is it that so many are failing to gain any long term traction?

Assuming we are creating really good products that solve a real need of your target consumer, then how come either

a) you’re not getting the initial sale or

b) even worse, the ongoing sales? For your product pack/sales presentation to be successful, it must stir your audience’s feelings and captivate their intellect.

How do you solve your customers problem?

Let’s assume you have a great product and let’s assume it truly solves a consumer problem and yet your sales are still in decline. If your product sales are in decline you have to look seriously at how your pack is communicating to your target consumer?

Often what is critically lacking is the packs ability to actually sell and do it in a way that’s both cool, and that inspires customers to want to buy. Very often your packs just aren’t connecting with the consumer at both the logical and emotional demand pull?

The answer could be as simple as knowing what your target audience knows and where they fall on the Nescience Loop©. The Necience Loop© tells you as both a brand marketer and a designer what functional messaging and emotion-stirring leavers which need to be pulled to make the sale.

The Nescience Loop© – knowing what your target audience knows

The Nescience Loop© is the unconscious buying framework that consumers go through when they are shopping. Having knowledge of this unique customer insight framework allows brand managers to identify what level of sophistication their target consumers are at. This awareness ensures that the product pack (on the shelf or online) is aligned with the their customer’s needs.

Knowing what your audience knows

The Nescience Loop© is a strategic marketing design tool specifically developed by Jam&Co to assists our branding and packaging designers to dive into the minds and emotions of the target consumer. With this tool, our packaging designs are strategically focused and they target both the emotional and functional needs of the target market.

The Nescience Loop© framework can help brand managers and marketers “know what their target audience knows.”

This powerful design mechanism helps designers to develop designs that move customers enough to want to put your product in the shopping cart.

What does your pack need to say, both intellectually and emotionally, to get your customers to eagerly buy and keep buying from you?

It’s a new game – The rules of play have changes dramatically!

The pressure is on, like never before, for Brand Marketers to get it right and get it right fast. With tight budgets and even tighter deadlines you can’t risk average. The ever increasing private label competition plus new entrants and copy-catting means that you have to take six steps forward just to get any forward attraction and momentum.

Because of the proliferation of new products and packs along with the ongoing increases to private label products, its become harder and harder to get your product noticed in the sea of me too packs on the shelf. It’s now more difficult than ever for Brand Managers to use a common garden variety pack design approach to generate a steady flow of new customer sales. However because of decreased budgets, maybe you can no longer afford the traditional design agency prices. You may be forced to either bring your design in house or you may well be tempted to use many of the less expensive design solutions available on the world wide web.


In a Ben and Jerry world of multiple bundled flavours will vanilla still cut it?

Will vanilla Toyota cut it on today’s highly competitive shelves or do you need a Mercedes Benz design to create cut through? But your budget does not allow for Mercedes Benz, I hear you say. The fact is you can’t afford not to! That said the good news is that today you can pick up Mercedes Benz design at Toyota Camry prices.  However you do have to be deliberately clever and discerning about it because there are plenty of wolves out there parading in sheep’s clothing.

We should never underestimate the task of captivating a target customer. We must move them emotionally and intellectually, so they see and pick our product off a shelf of competitors.”

Average versus experienced

Whilst most average or untrained designers may understand the mechanics of how to design for FMCG, what’s missing is the experience of knowing how to deliver a product message in such a way that it educates, delivers value and that sells.You just can’t put an old head on new shoulders. Packaging design is both an art and a science that can take years to master.

Pretty on shelf may work in some markets, but I’m guessing you need more than just that. Disrupting the shelf is only one aspect of the consumer buying journey. Your pack needs to not only create the desire to buy, it needs to also promote good-will and a long term relationship. Oh and BTW it would be even better if your product pack was so awesome that it created “shareability”.

How does it get better than that?