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Packaging is Critical to Brand Identity

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: February 27, 2009, from the March 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

Luxury, specialty and mass beauty brands all know packaging’s power to project an identity and move product through the till.

Compelling shapes, shiny surfaces, attention-grabbing colors and well-chosen graphics all combine to make an enticing package for today’s color cosmetics products. But more than to be simply eye-catching, today’s beauty packaging leads the charge in conveying a brand’s identity. On this matter, there is no equivocation. Whether your brand is aimed at luxury, specialty or mass consumers, ignore packaging’s power to define your brand at your own peril.

Unexpected, but not surprising, questions put to three companies about brand missions and identity revealed broad use of natural elements in both product and packaging. A sign of the times, perhaps, or just maybe a sign of the future? Either way, it also happens that packaging suppliers are ready with materials to satisfy every need.

Nvey Eco—an Australian luxury color cosmetics brand from Nvey le Maquillage that is manufactured and marketed globally— is certified organic by the Organic Food Chain and the Australian government. “It is critically important for our brand message to come through all aspects of our business, and this includes the packaging,” says Jane Dirr, president and CEO of the brand’s U.S. business, located in Covington, Kentucky. “The materials used, the graphics and the performance must reflect our commitment to the health of our clients and of our planet.” For Dirr, the real challenge is to reflect the brand’s mission while maintaining its luxury look, feel and performance—a big goal that she thinks has been achieved. Matching an earth-friendly ideal with the visual elements of packaging is a concern of brand owners across sales channels.

Maria Sansotta, marketing and sales manager for New York’s Tarte Cosmetics, observes that new natural brands are launched, seemingly, every day. The 10-year old brand—which built its natural formula products under the premise “glamour can be good for you”—has worked to align its packaging with its brand mission, in part, to stand out in a crowded market.

“This often-ignored aspect of being a truly natural brand really helps us stand out in this saturated category,” says Sansotta. Packaging is a cornerstone of the brand’s “earth-engineered” approach to ingredients.