3 Tutorials that teach Packaging
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Author: James Howard

This lesson introduces the marketing ideas behind packaging.

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Video Transcription

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Hello, and welcome to this tutorial on packaging. Now as always, with these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need in order to get the most out of time that you're going to spend here.

So let me ask you a question-- are you able to recognize a product just by its packaging? For instance, are you able to tell the difference between a Coca Cola and a Pepsi just from the shape of the package that it's in? Well, in this lesson, we're going to be discussing brand collateral, logos, packaging, and labeling. The key terms for this lesson are going to be logo and brand collateral.

So let's start off and take a look at brand collateral. Brand collateral is the supportive materials that communicate the brand. And here, we're talking about things like the logo or the packaging or what the label on the actual package looks like. Next, we're going to talk about a logo. And a logo is simply a visual symbol of an organization's name and brand. It's usually trademarked, and it will have this little symbol, TM, next to it.

Some iconic logos-- if you can think of some iconic logos like the Nike swish or Harley Davidson motorcycles-- everyone recognizes the prancing stallion of a Ferrari automobile. A trademark, as we see here, is a brand of legal ownership. It tells everyone that this particular company owns this particular logo, its idea or design or expression-- the symbol that that logo, or that brand, represents.

And an organization that owns the trademark will have exclusive rights to use it. No one else can use it without their permission. And what they're doing is protecting their brand and making sure that their brand isn't portrayed in a negative light. If you can think about someone misusing the Coca Cola logo, so that it is not used in a way that is favorable to Coca Cola, there's a lot of value in a logo. But portraying that logo in a bad way-- what that does, potentially, is risk revenue for a business and gives them a bad name for the public. So it's going to risk their future sales also.

Now packaging is more than just putting a product into a container. It should work to protect that product. It should offer convenience, for that product, to the customer. And it generally promotes the product.

Now there are a lot of design considerations when you think about packaging-- for one thing, cost. How much cost is this going to add to my product? If the packaging is too expensive or too elaborate I may end up pricing myself out of the market for what it is I'm trying to sell. There are legal requirements. For instance, child proof pill bottles have to be child proof, legally, so that the kids can't get into them.

Then we're going to look at single or we're going to have multiple packages. Is it going to be a single package of something, where I have one single item in a container, like a two liter Coke, or I'm going to have a 12 pack. Or maybe I want to do both.

Also we have to look at the consistency of the design. This is primarily for branding. Remember, we want the brand to be consistent across the board. We want people to associate good things with our brand. So if we're going to put our brand out, we need to make sure that the labeling is consistent so people recognize the brand and my organization or company.

It also serves a promotional role. If you remember, again, we talked about those funny shaped Coke bottles. Well there's a reason they're like that. They're iconic. And Coke goes to great pains to think about how that bottle is shaped. And they don't take changing that shape very lightly, because it, in and of itself, is promotional for the product.

We have to look at retailer needs and wholesaler needs. What do they have to do with the package? If I have something that's extremely oddly shaped, it's not able to be packaged in a larger package well for shipping, it's not going to do my wholesalers or retailers very much good, because it's makes handling that product that much more difficult.

And I have to think about environmental responsibility here. Is it able to be recycled? For instance, if I throw caution to the wind on environmental issues, I'm likely to ostracize the very customers that I'm trying to reach.

Now labeling is something a little bit different. Here we're talking about the printed communication that displays information about that product. It could be actually on the product, like a Chiquita banana, or it could be on the package, like this jar of jelly. If the label wasn't there, it would simply be a red jar. I'm really not sure what is. Now I know it's strawberry jelly just because I have the label on the front.

Now there are legal requirements to labeling. And there are some promotional value to be had for this. An iconic brand, on a label, adds promotion to a product that it might not otherwise have. Our jar of jelly, here, looks pretty plain. However, if it had Smuckers on it, that would be very, very promotional, because then I would recognize it as a particular brand-- not just some strawberry that I could pick up at the store. I would have an expectation attached to it.

Packaging and label design are often integrated together, so that what ends up on the label and where it is up in the package, are complementary. It looks good. I don't have strange, odd contrasting colors. I'm not trying to put an overly large, misshapen, square label on a round jar, for instance.

So what have we learned in this lesson? We looked at brand collateral-- all those things such as logo, labeling, and packaging that go around a product to help define its brand. We looked at logos-- that visual cue of an organization's name and brand. We looked at packaging-- what the product is actually put in and some of those considerations that we want to make sure we pay attention to when we design and put out our packaging. And last, we looked at labeling-- what goes on the package that informs me about the product inside that could also serve promotional value for my product.

I want to thank you, as always, for spending some time with me today. I hope you had a good time. And I'll see you next time.

  • Brand Collateral

    The supportive materials that communicate the brand.

  • Logo

    Visual symbol of a organization's name and brand.