It doesn’t matter whether you’re an established company or just starting out, product packaging is an important part of your marketing, advertising and branding strategies. Sure, the product is what people discuss, and yes, it’s the product that they come back for, but it’s the packaging that draws people in. It’s packaging that entices people to buy your product in the first place (well, at least it’s one of the reasons).
We can’t say it enough – product packaging is tremendously important to your brand.
It’s the physical manifestation of your brand, an extension of your product; it’s how your product is presented to the world. To a degree, your product packaging is a reflection of how your consumer wants to be perceived by the world. It’s the old adage: I buy, therefore I am.
But we’re not here to talk about consumers. We’re not even here to talk about branding (that’s a lie – there’s a little about branding too). We’re here to talk about product packaging.
Let’s look to industry leaders, with real-world examples of successful product packaging (and branding). Take this brand, for example:
Recognise this colour from somewhere? How about that signature white ‘wave’ – the ‘Dynamic Ribbon Device’?
Of course you know it’s Coca-Cola, and not just because it’s the go-to-example for successful branding. Everyone knows who Coca-Cola is. According to a study, 94% of the world’s population are able to recognise a Coke product from that red and white profile. Now that’s a testament to consistent branding.
While Coca-Cola are certainly an excellent example of branding, they are by no means the only one. Let’s look to another industry leader: Wrigley’s, or perhaps, more specifically, Skittles.
Now, before we go any further, we need to set the scene.
We’re taking you back to the year 2016. It’s Pride weekend in London. Rainbow flags are hanging from apartment windows, glitter is on the street, and floats are making their way through town to the beats of “Grace Kelly”, “Go West” and “It’s Raining Men”.
You might be wondering what this setting has to do with Skittles. We have one word for you: rainbow. Rainbow – that signature spectrum of colours that brightens all Skittles packaging. It’s happy. Consistent. Iconic. But for Pride 2016, that rainbow disappeared from their packaging.
In an open letter to the LGBT+ Community, Skittles wrote:
“So this is kind of awkward, but we’re just gonna go ahead and address the rainbow-coloured elephant in the room. You have the rainbow… we have the rainbow… and usually that’s just hunky-dory. But this Pride, only one rainbow deserves to be the centre of attention – yours. And we’re not going to be the ones to steal your rainbow thunder, no siree.”
Skittles’ monochrome packaging for Pride carried one simple message: “Only one rainbow matters this Pride. Give the rainbow, taste the rainbow.” Simple as it was, the statement Skittles made was profound.
The impact of Skittles’ change in product packaging, whether they anticipated it or not, was HUGE.
The monochrome packaging took the world by storm. The campaign Give the Rainbow, taste the Rainbow, was so successful that the brand repeated it for the entire month for Pride the following year, and again this year.
The gentle, temporary rebrand of Skittles’ packaging did more than increase sales during Pride celebrations. Skittles established something far more valuable – a partnership with LGBT+ and wider communities. More than being clever, topical and eye-catching, through their product packaging, Skittles proved that they were progressive and stood for equality. Just like that, Skittles was back in the headlines and, of course, everybody’s pocket. They even featured as a float during Pride celebrations.
Not everyone can pull off a temporary product packaging rebrand like Skittles.
You would need to have a well-recognised brand and consistent product packaging for a change like this to leave an impression. Skittles could because they cultivated an image in the public eye through years of careful and consistent branding. The subversion of their branding wasn’t subtle – it was impactful. A powerful message was delivered by an influential brand and the vehicle was product packaging. The end result wasn’t just an increase in sales over Pride, it was a legitimate connection with the wider community.
So, in the end, what’s the takeaway?
The power of packaging.
Product packaging makes a statement. It reflects who and what your company stands for. Packaging isn’t frivolous – it’s how your products are literally seen by the world and how you’re remembered. Product packaging says something about you, so make sure that you give the design of your packaging the time your products (and your business) deserve.
If you want to make the right statement, we can help. Whatever your brand needs, we can deliver – because at NOUS, brands are what we make. If you would like to discuss your brand strategy or product packaging with us, please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.