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Where Brand Identity Meets Economies of Scale

By: Elizabeth Abrams
Posted: April 6, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

The carton, jar or tube propped on that store shelf provides the first impression of a brand’s product to a consumer, and the brand and product packaging is critical to the success of both. The color, shape and even texture helps define the brand, and as a company or brand image alters, so should the packaging.

But there is another side to that jar of whipped blush the consumer is considering, perhaps more now than ever. Consumers want sustainable goods with less environmental impact, and are clamoring for these goods during a slow economy. In essence, consumers have adopted the idea that less is more, making the goal to reduce waste and reduce price a primary one. Forward-thinking executives know packaging should take into account both environmental and logistics costs. If done correctly, beauty, sustainability and cost can all be accounted for to create a beautiful and affordable green product that also saves brand owners money and increases sales.

Beauty: Please the Eye

There has been a clear and recent packaging evolution for cosmetics and fragrances. Instead of intricate, detailed and often overworked tubes, labels and logos, brands are streamlining their look and projecting a clearer image of their products to their target consumers in the process. The reasoning goes that consumers equate simplicity with good taste and high quality.

MAC and Nars cosmetics follow this trend succinctly. Simple, white logos on black packaging make for a professional and, therefore, high-end look that rivals that of more expensive brands. The message here is: Let the product speak for itself. The more elaborate the packaging, the more difficult it is for consumers to discern what it is they are buying—pretty packaging or a sound product. In some cases, consumers even equate intricate labels and signature-shaped compacts to lower quality goods, relying on the theory that a product lacks sophistication if the packaging does not project that professional look.