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In beauty, there are two constants in packaging: it must be functional and attractive. It must effectively contain and dispense the product while also engaging consumers from the shelf, enticing them to pick up this product instead of the one next to it. However, increasingly, beauty packaging is becoming integral to the use experience of a product, and these added value elements are making collaboration between packaging suppliers and beauty brands that much more important, as well.
“Packaging needs to evolve to help display innovative products. If a product is innovative, the packaging may have to be as well,” says Damien Dossien, president, HCP Packaging USA, Inc. “In the consumer’s eyes, packaging and product are inextricably intertwined.”
“It’s about integrating the whole experience for the consumer,” says Anisa International president Anisa Telwar. “The best packaging solutions actually improve upon a great beauty product by making it more suitable for a consumer’s lifestyle,” she explains.
“Besides just housing the product, packaging should be a vehicle for any brand to communicate the essence of their product through the form and function of the package,” shares David Hou, director of marketing and sales, Cospack America Corp., on how brands can benefit from added value elements in packaging.
Such packaging considerations help the consumer connect the brand and the product better. “Added-value packaging allows the most flexibility to differentiate a product and make it stand out among products in the same category. Whether it’s an obvious innovation, takeaway or decoration, consumers experience an instant visual connection that will enhance the value they place on a product,” notes Des McEttrick, market development director, North America beauty, Aptar Beauty + Home.
And Dossien continues the thought, saying, “Active, busy consumers of today have limited time for product selection, therefore the packaging has to be communicating the brand offering, and the total look needs to be recognizable or eye-catching to stand out in overcrowded retail positions. Package shape also adds value to differentiate the product and provide brand identification. The pack can effectively increase brand awareness through innovative design. If a pack is beautiful and looks expensive, it adds to the charisma of the purchase.”
That better branding is one of the best ways for beauty brands to see additional value from packaging. “In our case, it usually means taking something that is a stock item and tweaking it slightly to achieve something the customer needs. For example, it might be taking what is essentially a stock bottle—something very familiar or common—and then embossing their name or logo into the plastic for a fairly economical [solution],” says Marny Bielefeldt, director of marketing, Alpha Packaging. “Another way that we can do that is through decorating. We can actually use a textured ink to print a logo that is raised ink on a stock container.”
Basically all beauty products—hair care, skin care, sun care, color cosmetics, fragrance, bath and body, and beyond—can benefit from added-value packaging. For example, McEttrick notes, “Decorative bottles, customized components, premium printing and charm elements that can be worn are a few of the ways brands set themselves apart from other fragrances. Additional added-value options for fragrances include customized dip-tube covers, like Diesel Loverdose, and caps, Magic Inside dip-tube accessories, and our So Chic! pump, specially designed for charm or accessory placement.”
Staying on added-value packaging for fragrance, Kristy Hooper, global marketing manager, MWV Beauty & Personal Care, also shares, “Our NoC dip tube, which uses light-refractive technology to disappear when it comes into contact with the fragrance solution, is an unique value add for fragrance pumps. This offers a streamlined look for a premium fragrance package, or a private label brand looking to compete with premium brands, and allows the bottle to take center stage.”
Often, for brands, the importance of added-value packaging is making sure the product shines in order to connect quality and that specific brand. But there can be very practical considerations, as well. “Some packaging can improve the life of the product and protect it from damage—UV sprays, for example, provide scratch resistance,” Dossien explains. “HCP offers many spray options—for example, high gloss, which makes the case last longer and can protect the decoration, and soft touch, which can make the pack more tactile and easier to handle.”
And Bielefeldt shares, “I can’t tell you how many people picked up regular stock containers—very normal shapes, [including] anything from a Boston round to a basic oblong—and would say, ‘We want something exactly like this, but we really want to reinforce our brand and make it something that helps protect against counterfeiting as well.’ Because a lot of these larger brands are pretty easily targeted for counterfeiting.”
Packaging that reinforces branding and helps the product stand out is especially helpful for brands, but many suppliers also provide packs that directly offer added value to consumers as well. Sandra Hutson, sales and marketing director, Topline Products, says, “Packaging can add value by improving the user experience—making application more effective, more enjoyable, easier and more convenient. For example, the Almay Intense i-color Smoky-I Kit created by Topline was designed to make it easier for the user to know where to put each eye shadow shade.”
Ease of use obviously is a great added-value option for packaging. Highlighting another opportunity, Bielefeldt says, “A lot of companies are looking for ways to really grip their containers better, so we can add a small indentation or a gripper area. It’s [mostly] for shampoos and [bath products], to give users an easier way to hold them.”