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FLEXO Magazine : July 2010
Improving In-Store Branding Power Packaging is Key to Communicating Your Message By Jack R. Gordon Branding was relatively easy in the 1960s, with affordable 60-second spots that provided plenty of time for product sell. By the time the 1970s rolled around, marketers complained when they had to cut messages down to fit 45-second ads. In the 1980s, ads had condensed into expensive 30-second spots that left marketers grumbling. Today, that 30-second ad is expensive, forcing many brands to find alternative solutions to establishing and communicat- ing product distinctiveness and benefits. Some, smartly so, have embraced some alternative media forms, such as the Internet and infomercials. Undeniably, today ’s most powerful branding opportunity, and the only one many brands can afford, is readily available through the brand’s in-store presence and often includes creative packaging, display material, and shelf talkers. More consumers see and have the opportunity to interact with a brand’s packaging than any other available advertising medium. That’s right, I said advertising medium. I am often surprised to find that many companies fail to see their packaging in this light. The grocery store provides a powerful opportunity for branding among those marketers who embrace its possibili- ties. Unfortunately, many marketers who would rigorously test any commercial before putting it on air, base go/no go deci- sions on product packaging using either “corporate wisdom” or qualitative testing. Final packaging sometimes shows up on store shelves simply because management “likes it” best, or “the color scheme is better than other options considered.” A brief glimpse of any supermarket aisle will reveal an abundance of blue or white packages. Consumers generally indicate a preference for blue, an easy background color to include; and white conveys purity and is easy to overlay with copy. Do these packages stand out? Do they successfully convey any brand differentiation? No one, single place is better suited to communicating a brand’s message than in the store. Everyone shops. Category shoppers generally go down specific aisles with regularity. What would cause a consumer to stop and look at a particu- lar package? What would they take away from it if they did? Who better to ask than the consumers themselves. There are many issues to consider when using in-store materials as the primary branding communication: • When packaging is thought of as an advertising medium, testing must become more rigorous. • Building brands is largely a matter of emotional bonding between the brand and consumers. What emotional consumer responses are generated by the packaging and how do these compare with brand objectives? • Consumer research shows that they prefer blue and white, but do these packages stand out and convey brand differentiation? The package is your most effective advertising medium. IndusTRY IndiCaToRs 12 FLEXO JulY 2010 www.flexography.org FLXO_July10_v2.indd 12 7/16/10 9:36 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010