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Fundamentally, shopper marketers are challenged by their clients to answer one basic question – how can we get shoppers to put our products in their basket?

Our industry has been built on ways to stop shoppers in their tracks and garner a few seconds of their attention. While often effective, vehicles like aisle blades and freestanding displays can be costly, and only temporarily draw shoppers to the shelves.

There is, however, one of the most strategic points of connection along the path to purchase that’s often overlooked. It provides a consistent presence and can raise a brand’s equity. It’s the product’s packaging.

Even in categories that focus on new product benefits for innovation, packaging can still play a critical role beyond a benefit call out. Look at Kotex’s launch of U by Kotex that used black to distinguish the brand from the sea of pink and light blue. But standing out doesn’t guarantee success. Just like all marketing touchpoints, packaging needs to bring people into the brand in a meaningful and relevant way.

There are a few packaging trends that are starting to hit the shelf. And many are coming from smaller brands that don’t have the big CPG budgets. Regardless of size, these brands are looking at their packaging as more than a place to put copy points, but a way to create impact with a purpose.

Second Life:

Value goes beyond the price we pay for the product to the role it plays in our lives. Smuckers is one of the originators of rethinking this role by encouraging people to use its jars as glasses. At the table, each glass of milk reminded mom of the jam that helps her take better care of her family. An important issue for today’s mom is how to get her kids to be more active. So a Turkish dairy company, Pinar, found a way to extend the life of its packaging by making the cartons connectable so kids could use them to play soccer, or whatever game their minds imagine.

Personification:

While many people still desire the interlocking Channel Cs or the LV imprint on their bags, even disposable products can say something about you. The best example is the recent Share a Coke initiative – which not only made the purchase a personal expression, it also gave people something to talk about.

Full Cycle:

Developing products out of recycled materials has become the norm. So what’s the next step in the evolutionary trail to further a product’s eco-friendliness? Organic biodegradable packaging – in other words – edible. While some fast food restaurants have used it as a gimmick, food manufacturers now have a way to bring edible packaging to the shelf

So the next time a new product launch or line extension is being scheduled, why not tap into the creative assets of the people who’s job it is to be in the shoes of your most valued shoppers everyday.