Industry Insight: Vital Communications

Stuart Pritchard March 20, 2017




This issue we speak to Vince Kerrigan, Strategic Solutions Manager at branding agency, Vital Communications…


Can you tell us exactly why good packaging design is so very important?

Packaging tells a story about a brand whether it is strategically crafted or not. By not considering what your packaging says about you can leave a brand narrative conflicted and dilute the company’s core message. With visual perception being half the battle when communicating brand values, the strength of controlled storytelling through packaging shouldn’t be overlooked and brands need to take the time to put packaging to greater use.

How can manufacturers ensure they’re making the most out their branding?

In a world where customer engagement is at the fore, it is often the simplest and most subtle communications that are most effective. Ensuring a brand is using all of its tangible and intangible assets, including packaging, to deliver core values can help to cut through the busy marketing noise faced by consumers.

There are a number of brands that have been putting their packaging to good use to reinforce their values and ethos. For example, The Body Shop produced packaging out of air pollution by extracting harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to make containers and bottle lids for its popular range of body butters. In doing so, the brand further strengthened its commitment to sustainability and its environmental credentials. Reinforcing brand values throughout every aspect of a business, including the packaging, sends a strong message to consumers about who a business is, what it does and more importantly, what it stands for.

Brands are also increasingly recognising that promotional merchandise in the form of packaging helps to increase brand reach. Using packaging as a ‘mobile billboard’ ensures that all assets become an extension of the brand and subtly helps to reinforce presence among their target audience.

Would you say that sending a ‘strong message’ helps to increase brand-loyalty?

With the rise of the ‘faceless’ e-commerce retailers, brand loyalty can be difficult to convey, particularly without the physical instore experience. Packaging is often the only physical element of a brand other than the product itself. Brands are therefore establishing ways of encouraging repeat purchasing and loyalty through packaging such as incorporating supplementary offers on delivery.

How else can packaging be utilised more efficiently to draw customers in?

Packaging should move away from being a purely functional tool and enhancing the customer experience should now become more important. Giving packaging an additional purpose helps to make brand materials live beyond its original use. For example, an innovation from Pringles where the used tube could be made into a speaker stand not only reinforced values of being fun and socially-centred, but also allowed the packaging to be used long after the item was finished. Consumers expect brands to promote themselves through packaging but they are much more likely to generate advocates if they incorporate wider trends or hone in on their customers buying preferences. Aligning additional uses for packaging to factors that brand’s customer’s value is vital to enhancing worth and buy-in.

What advice would you give to someone when approaching new packaging?

Packaging should be well-considered within the wider marketing mix to ensure a brand’s communications programme is fully integrated. Failing to realise the benefits of packaging can leave a brand lagging behind its competitors. Innocent Founder, Richard Reed, revealed that often packaging is ‘more important’ than the product itself and their packaging move from ‘carton to carafe’ increased sales of their orange juice from £4m to £80m and proved just that.