Packaging as a means to sharing core values

June 24, 2019By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing, Industry Intuition

By Julie Bonnell, vice president of operations

This isn’t the first time I am restating the mantra of one of my under-grad professors — the package is the product.  I was reminded in the past week this is true on so many levels. When my professor declared it, she had a slide of a beautiful shimmery caramel apple highlighted against a deep velvety black backdrop and the words on the front panel read: makes 12 caramel apples. It was clear what the experience would be if I bought this product.

This came rushing back to me as I was reviewing data I had pulled from our vast product master file and replete package content database, looking for insights about how natural ingredients are being presented to consumers and saw a shift. The information on the package was not just speaking to me about how by using this product I was choosing to eliminate harsh chemicals from my experience, I would also be making choices that would make a difference on our environment. The company’s values — to respect the planet we live on and use its resources wisely – were right Core value iconsthere on the package for me to support with my purchase. If given the choice between two similar products, the company that conveyed this type of information on packaging let me know that we have a shared point of view and perhaps mission.

The messages I found during my review included commitment to fair trade practices, zero waste factories, use of recycled materials in packaging, and even use of wind credits in the manufacturing facilities. And if you think these claims came from new and emerging brands, let me assure you, there were some pretty big players in the mix as well. Including these corporate responsibility statements resonates with many shoppers and puts an environment-friendly motivation as a consideration in the consumers’ decision-making process rather than leaving it to just the features and the benefits of the product. It switches the conversation from one about the brand and their product to one that’s about me and what I value and aspire to. That is a powerful way to build a relationship.

So, at the root of it all, the package is the product. The package is where I can now see if we have common values. Do you share your corporate values on your packages? What change are you trying to drive one product at a time?