Your packaging design may already stand out on the shelf through color contrasts and striking visual assets. It might communicate key information in a logical layout and set proper value expectations. But, ultimately, a packaging design needs to persuade consumers to buy your product.
Persuade through a balance of category and brand-specific drivers
The key to making your packaging design persuasive is to find a proper balance between communicating category benefits and distinctive brand benefits.
For example, a shampoo bottle might convey that it cleans hair (category benefit), plus that it makes your hair, and by extension your personality, shine (explicit and implicit brand benefits). A bottle of water could communicate that it quenches thirst (category benefit), plus that it will turn your ordinary meal into a passionate Italian love affair (implicit brand benefit).
The most persuasive packaging designs have found just the right balance between category drivers and distinctive brand-choice drivers.
It is difficult to pin point exactly what motivates consumers’ brand choices. Consumers themselves are generally not able to rationalize or articulate the brand choice they make. This is because brand choice is often driven by subconscious and emotional motivations.
For example, consumers were asked directly why they preferred a specific brand of sunscreen. Answers included because of the ‘immediate, effective protection’ and ‘being able to enjoy the sun without worry’. But these are only generic category benefits: all sunscreen brands deliver against these needs. You shouldn’t leave out mentions of category benefits from your packaging design, but they will not make a difference to the brand choice.
The way to persuade consumers to choose your product instead is to balance the category benefit with a secondary benefit specific to your brand. In the sunscreen category, ‘it promotes a bronze colorization’ and ‘trustworthiness’ are some examples of distinctive brand choices.
The Nivea Protect & Bronze design offers a particularly good balance in this category. The sunscreen bottle design strongly communicates both a category benefit (‘protect’) and a distinctive secondary benefit (‘bronze’).
Add a persuasive call-to-action on your packaging design
Another element that is often used to persuade consumers to buy is an on-pack call-to-action. A bold statement telling the consumer it’s a ‘new formula’ or offering ‘8 + 2 free cans’ might give the final push.
In our packaging design market research experience, we have evidence to suggest that these types of claims tend to have impact. However, the impact varies depending on the product’s category and the specific statement or offer.
Find out more about creating amazing packaging designs
We’ve pulled together all our packaging design best practices into a whitepaper, which you can download below.