When bad product packaging is good marketing

Many entrepreneurs might underestimate the power of product packaging when it comes to determining success, but it is a crucial eye on the soul of a business. Some would argue that the quality and usefulness of the product itself is what attracts consumers, but packaging plays a huge role in determining consumer decisions, which is what we’ve learned here at Path of Will.

As a brand of natural skin care and essential oils for active lifestyles, we were in the early stages of launching our brand new face brightening serum in the popular beauty and wellness subscription box. be, FabFitFun, when we encountered problems printing on the package. The color of the packaging turned out to be a very bright yellow, making it almost impossible to read the white print. The color is such a small difference with a potentially huge impact that we just didn’t realize.

We decided to use it and sent 300,000 units of product to FabFitFun, where 1 million of their subscribers would receive it as a mystery item in their Winter 2018 box. Unexpected packaging incident turned out to be in marketing miracle. Traffic to The Path of Will’s website almost tripled. We started receiving hundreds of positive emails, comments and product reviews just about the Brightening Serum. The overall customer consensus gave the serum a huge boost, but it was the packaging that piqued their curiosity more.

We know the wrong color was the problem because over 95% of people mentioned that they couldn’t read the information on the package because of the color. Most mentioned that they need to do a Google search and find out more about the brand. It shows that they were intrigued by the packaging design and the product itself, enough to motivate them to go online and find out more about Way of Will.

The fact that Way of Will received reviews with similar comments also proves it – they specifically highlighted the white / silver font on the yellow packaging.

See some examples here:

  • “Bad packaging, great product. I had to call someone to read the instructions on the package. Please do something about the box, yellow with silver writing, not a good idea. But the product is fantastic.
  • “Good product, bad packaging. Having never used this product, I needed instructions. However, the packaging of this product is horrible. The box is bright yellow and the print on the box merges with the yellow and cannot even be seen with my glasses. The print is tiny and the color blends into the box. I had to come to this website to search for directions and ingredients. Decent product so far, just needs legible text printed on the product.
  • “Good product! Horrible packaging. The product is great. Makes my skin soft and amazing. But, the packaging is the worst ever! I can’t read it at all. I had to go to the website to read the instructions and product information, at least change the font color to black.

We were shocked at first, but realized that sometimes unexpected situations lead to positive results and memorization in the eyes of the consumer. We’ve turned this packaging “mistake” into an efficient, lightweight way to connect with the people who use our products and those who will potentially become loyal customers. We also took the opportunity to analyze and assess the situation from a business perspective and implement it in our future packaging design strategy.

At the end of the day, it’s the product that matters, but it’s the way you communicate your product that leaves a strong impression.


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