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The Link is the Thing: Determining a Cohesive Packaging Strategy

By: Abby Penning
Posted: November 26, 2012, from the December 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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So not only does a cohesive package strategy link together a beauty brand’s products, it also helps strengthen the brand overall.

“One constant in beauty product packaging and marketing is an intense desire to create a recognizable brand image that consumers can relate to,” says Calderone. “In the retail or e-commerce environment, consumers make their purchase decisions very quickly based on several well-documented factors, inclusive of aspects that take place long before they arrive at the store or log onto their favorite website. When dealing with [something like] the mass hair care category—specifically within a retail environment consisting of hundreds of competing SKUs placed in close proximity—the challenge is to help the consumer quickly find that product—your product—which they are seeking. Brand elements—and the intense desire to create a brand image across multiple SKUs—remain increasingly important in the retail, as well as e-commerce, environment for these reasons.”

It’s about identifying what makes your brand special, and then translating that across your products’ packaging through a harmonious implementation. “A lot of times, whatever that overtly branded experience is from a package perspective shows up in research,” says Scott Doherty. “So our consumer and market insights group will go out and try to help us narrow to whatever that own-able brand element is, that sameness, with a package within a given category.

“Ideally, this sameness—the reason that we keep having sequels, whether its movies or books or anything else—is because there is the perception of reduced risk from a consumer perspective,”

Scott Doherty continues. “So ideally this family linkage or this sameness helps breakdown those barriers to adoption. Because the consumer is essentially acting on past experiences, this is not a wholly new experience for them. They’re thinking, ‘I’m basing this on past experiences because I trust this brand, I know this brand, and it’s worked for me before.’ So it’s really an extension of that perceived value or expectation of a performance from an already-familiar product to a new one, which maybe isn’t so new because there is already that level of familiarity and comfort.”

That type of relationship between consumers and a brand is not only what keeps them coming back for the same beauty products but also reaching for products in the same brand family when they seek out something new.