The Element of Surprise in Packaging Design

Part of The 7 Secrets of Powerful Packaging Design Article

Many people don’t realize that, in the past 8 years, one marketing industry has risen to be the number 2 largest spend by today’s brands: Experiential marketing. Of course, digital is still number 1 and growing by 16% annually. But, experiential marketing is now number 2 with 6% growth from 2014 to 2015 (Study by EventMarketer). The reason for this is simple: people crave memorable experiences more than they crave things. It’s now a well-known fact that millennials value experience more than they value owning houses, fancy cars or expensive items. This shift in consumer behavior from desiring things to desiring experiences has a direct effect on packaging design.

How, you may ask, can a package design be like a live event? The thing that makes live events so memorable is that moment where something happened that was unexpected, and blew your mind. Packaging designers can take a lesson from live events by delivering a similar element of surprise to the shopping experience. For example, the moment when a package lid is lifted, and the inside of the carton is flooded with a bright color that says “this secret experience was designed just for you”. Or when the customer realizes the package was designed to have a second life after you unpacked the product, and doubles as gift box or storage box for other things. The packaging design’s face panels may create a larger image when viewed next to each other on the shelf. Or, when the packaging unveils a bonus gift item that wasn’t even advertised on the carton—that coupon code, window sticker or keychain that declares “I’m a real brand loyalist, and only loyalists get these.” The possibilities for elements of surprise are vast so be sure to challenge your packaging designer, or your client, to develop an element of surprise into your next packaging design.

CAPTION FOR IMAGE ABOVE: Create an unexpected moment of surprise for the customer. Stage that element to be discovered during the unwrapping of the product. The resulting experience will delight and satisfy–moving your brand to the loyalty winner’s circle. Example: Flood the inside of a folding carton with color that reflects the fragrance, attitude or style of the product about to be experienced.

Key Element: For the past 10 years, the fastest growing category of advertising/marketing budget expenditures has been Digital. The second fastest growing category: Experiential Marketing. Why? Because experiences engage our sense, stimulate emotional responses and earn a place in our long term memory. Find a way to make your packaging a memorable experience.

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Terra Deal

Author Terra Deal

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