Okay, I admit it. I am looking for trouble right out of the chute. How can anything be both the first and last step? Unless you are a mobius strip, it defies the laws of physics. However, in brand building, product packaging does indeed become both the first and the last step in the process.
Let me explain.
Before a company can sell a product, it must be packaged. Accordingly, the process of developing a creative package must start early. And that’s where the fun begins.
A product’s packaging has a lot riding on its shoulders. It must attract a customer, tell a story, convey the brand’s positioning, and stimulate an immediate sale. That’s a lot to ask from a few pieces of folded cardboard, or a label and some printing.
And all of this takes time.
When a company engages with a professional brand and packaging agency, the first step is often a brand assessment. In this process, the team and the client will discuss the brand, what it means, and whether it needs refreshing or repositioning. They also will evaluate the company’s current look and logo and perform some competitive analysis. Expect this process to take a couple of weeks.
Afterward, there may be a new logo design, with several options and iterations and revisions. This process can take several weeks to complete.
After the brand positioning, look, and feel and the logo have been determined, the development of the actual product packaging can begin. From concept to sign off, the process can take a few weeks before printing begins.
Today, the most affordable printing is coming from China, which of course adds several weeks to the timeline.
Add it all up, and companies are looking at around three months—or even more if overseas production is required—to take their brand and packaging from concept to completion.
Accordingly, the time to start thinking about your brand and your packaging is well in advance of its roll-out. In other words, planning and developing your packaging needs to be the first step in building your brand.
A good packaging designer also understands that it is the last step, as well.
The packaging is the last thing a customer sees before deciding to either purchase or pass on a product. Only a few cannabis companies can afford massive advertising campaigns that they hope will drive customers into stores to ask for their products by name. Advertising opportunities direct to the consumer are limited, and even with a hefty ad campaign, there are no guarantees the customer will select your brand once inside the store. This is why smart marketers make sure that they don’t skimp on their packaging. It is the last line in the war to win the consumer.
Moreover, consumers don’t make purchasing decisions on a whim—especially in the hyper-competitive cannabis market. They browse, they read, they see what strikes their interest. There are simply too many choices to expect that a product will achieve any percentage of market share by simply being on the shelf. A product must stand out, look attractive, and convey a convincing and captivating brand image in order to entice a consumer to make a purchase.
The fact is, product packaging is among the very first things that needs to be considered, planned for, and created in the brand development process, and it is the last thing that is considered by the consumer in the purchasing process.
Make sure you give your product packaging the consideration it deserves. A lot depends on it.
KARY RADESTOCK brings more than 20 years of award-winning print and packaging expertise to some of the top brands in the world. She launched Hippo Premium Packaging in order to fill a need for professional, compliant packaging, brand development, and graphic design for the emerging cannabis industry.