There is no denying that packaging design has a big impact on the way consumers perceive the brand, directly contributing to competitive advantage for marketing a consumer product. One of the features that are becoming more critical to this make-or-break equation, as pointed out at the latest edition of the Packaging Innovations event in London, is the demand for informative packaging.
“It’s not enough to just launch a product – customers must understand how to make the best use of it. Multi-step routines require packaging that feature set-by-step instructions and whether the product is designed for day or night use,” said Emanuelle Bassman, founder of London-based beauty trend intelligence agency In-Trend, during the event.
In Brazil, this trend is still in its early stages. “We understand this would add functionality to the product, but we have not yet identified a demand from our Brazilian clients for usage instructions to be printed on primary packaging,” says Marcus Correa, marketing manager for consumer products at packaging manufacturer Bemis.
Hair care company Truss, however, seems to be ahead of the curve. Its hair moisturizing kit #loucasportruss – including shampoo, intensive hair repair conditioner and smoothing hair mask – features clear usage instructions on the packaging. The brand’s founder and CEO, Manuella Bossa, says the numbers are a straightforward indication of the sequence in which the products need to be applied to maximize their benefits. “Following the right order is vital for obtaining optimal results,” she says.
Truss’ Workstation Miracle line also comes in informative packaging that shows how different product combinations within the range can create tailored results for different hair needs. “We have a strong focus on packaging design. While the visual appeal component is important, the packaging must also feature product information in a way that is clear and easy for customers to understand,” says Bossa.
Casa112’s graphic designer Bruno Lemes sees the ability to learn how to use the product in a quick and easy way as a major advantage for consumers. “Adding usage instructions to packaging makes the product more user-friendly. If the customer is looking for a product that addresses specific needs and can find this information without having to read the fine print, that is definitely a plus.” However, Lemes believes this must be achieved through short, straightforward copy. “In some cases, additional information to that of the packaging may be necessary.”
Casa112 had its designs awarded at the 2016 Embanews Awards. The packaging created for Profuse’s dermatological water was one of the winners in four categories, including Design and Marketing. The back of the packaging features clear recommendations on how and when to use the product. “Having usage instructions printed directly on the packaging offers a streamline customer experience,” says Löic Prud’homme, director of business development at CASA112.
Correa says most packaging formats can welcome this trend, although dimension may pose a challenge in some cases. “The physical space available for communication is very limited in smaller packaging, especially considering the need to include mandatory consumer product information, brand identity, barcodes, etc.”
Legal requirements can also have an impact on labeling, says Prud’homme. “In Brazil, some product categories must follow specific guidelines stated by local sanitary authority Anvisa, including the need for secondary packaging and leaflets.”
Adding information to primary packaging may help reduce costs by eliminating the need for secondary packaging. However, Correa says this option is not available for all products. “This trend can lead to more sustainable, price-competitive packaging solutions for manufacturers, but not all products can afford to go without cartons or boxes as these elements may play a major role in logistics, product preservation and shelf display,” he says.