As a follow on from my last post about international packaging considerations, colour is another consideration that you need to be aware of.
"An understanding of cultural color and symbolism is essential to anyone doing business with other countries and other societies. These associations with color have been a part of many societies for centuries and you must be aware of both the positive and the negative implications of using particular colors when marketing to these societies." Judy Scott-Kemmis
Please refer to Judy Scott-Kemmis (B.SocSc) article and other amazing articles about colour by clicking on this link: http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/cultural-color.html
Colour choice is very important when deciding to design your packaging. Colours conjure up feelings, symbols and emotions that are innate or learned in our cultures - so it's important not to offend or confuse your customer when selling your product in a culture different that your own. Don't use colours that are off-putting to your target market! Make sure you study what colours your target market are drawn to and why, and the colours to steer clear of, and why.
It is also helpful to put into words, or become conscious of what colours mean in your own mind / culture. Sometimes we are not even aware of our thoughts until we see them written down (like in Scott-Kemmis' article).
"Because of color trends and the ever-changing design taste of the consumer, the average life span of a package is two and a half years. If a company doesn't invest in repackaging efforts, the product itself will look like yesterday's news and the newer more current designed product will be more actively purchased." Donna L Montaldo.
Please refer to Montaldos article by clicking here for more useful information on the importance of colours in packaging design: http://couponing.about.com/cs/aboutcouponing/a/colorme.htm
Colour Palette photo: http://modernl.com/article/colour-lovers-colour-trends-and-palettes
If you are currently supplying a product to the Australian market, and want to expand to the international market, amongst other things you need to think about if your packaging branding, designs, fonts and images are appropriate to your international target market audience. It all comes down to researching before, during and after your product launch.
Some things you need to be aware of:
Your brand name: What does your brand name mean in other languages? (Especially in the country you want to stock your product.) Make sure it isn’t rude or offensive or will make people laugh (in a bad way) and potentially ruin your brand image.
You may need to change your brand name if it is offensive, otherwise just keep it. Of course changing your brand name could mean that you lose the brand equity that currently exists, but it would be a good idea to change it if you don’t have any brand equity in that country and if keeping your current brand name could cause you potential damage.
Hopefully you did your market research and created a 5 year plan when deciding on your brand name before you launched your product. 'There are many practical reasons to keep your name the same around the world: It's simpler; you get economies of scale; it's significantly less complex; and you create a unified global company."
Images: Cultural differences such as ensuring you are not using inappropriate images (as well as words). My suggestion is to research what is appropriate in the country you want to supply your product to. Google their cultural values, what they deem offensive, and look at successful packaging in that country. When you have an idea, try to get in touch with someone from that country that you can trust to tell you what would and what wouldn’t be appropriate on the shelves in their country.
You don’t want to be selling a body lotion cream with a picture of a bikini clad woman on the product and trying to sell it in Saudi Arabia, with a brand name meaning something offensive. Your product would be boycotted, or not allowed on the shelves.
Different cultures have different tastes: Australian luxury product packaging can look different (different colours, images, designs) than Chinese luxury products for example. Look at what a brand in your product category offer in Australia, then look at what they offer the country you want to stock your product in. You need to keep with your brand offering (ie if it is a premium product in Australia, then ensure it is perceived as a premium product in other countries), but again with research, you will be able to figure out what images and colours are perceived as luxury in that target country, and to check your brand equity won't be ruined.
Colours mean different things to different cultures: Make sure you’re not being inappropriate with your colours on your packaging to avoid confusing people as to what the product is inside.
Labelling: Remember there are different legal requirements for different countries.
Your message: Western cultures are all about what satisfying the individual, whereas Asian cultures are about satisfying those around them. For example, toothpaste advertising in Australia is all about how the individual will feel better about themselves, whereas toothpaste advertising in Japan is all about how you can make friends, family and colleagues more comfortable being around you.
If you start advertising only the benefits to the individual in Japan, people might not buy your product because they won’t see the benefits to them. (And that is why people buy products - because it satisfies a need or serves a purpose).
Translation: Make sure you check with a professional translator everything you have written on your pack is ok before major production! As you can see, the people creating the packaging for the noodles in the picture above did not check with a professional translator before allowing major product and packaging production!
I can't stress enough the value of research before, during and after any marketing move you make! Good luck!
This quote features in a previous blog, but it’s relevant here, so I will feature it again:
‘Meaningful customer experiences begin when consumers are motivated to pick the product up, purchase and use it, confirming in their minds that it lives up to its brand promise and then seek it out again. That’s a tall order that begins with packaging.’
Photo courtesy of: http://moodyknows.com/post/3727438073/ramen-packaging-fail-soup-for-sluts-lets
A plain cover for cigarette packets being distributed by Tobacco Station Group. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
This article titled 'Cigarette cover-up under investigation' just through in the SMH. Comments throughout the article include:
"This is a tobacco group virtually saying 'we think this (plain packaging) is going to work so we are going to go out and try and defeat it'," he said.
"People who make a living selling tobacco are aware just how powerful plain packaging and graphic health warnings are at turning smokers off," she said. "We will continue to watch closely and make sure no laws are broken."
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/cigarette-coverup-under-investigation-20130103-2c6t7.html#ixzz2Gt8OhNce
It re-enforces the power that packaging has - that these companies are going to any length, and trying to find legal loopholes to ensure their packs aren't plain (plain packaging of cigarettes has recently been legislated in Australia).
Packaging can make or break a business. Below are a variety of packaging failures. Although the below 'packaging fails' will probably not make the businesses fail, it will make people annoyed, or see you in a negative light - and we all know it's easier to keep return customers than try to gain new ones! So don't annoy your customer!
You need to do a lot of research before launching your product (in its packaging), as with any marketing move you make.
Amongst other things:
- you need to get a sample of the packaging before allowing it to go into bulk production to test it
- you need to engage with your Graphic Designer / Packaging Designer to discuss what the finished product will look like (including where the handle holes will go etc)
- you need to spell check
- if you need the information on your packaging translated in to another language - make sure you engage a professional translator to do the job
- you need to think about the 'customer experience' when dealing with or opening your package. Don't annoy them by making it hard, or wasteful or time-consuming.
This is why it's important to incorporate any hand holes or anything else in your packaging design, or at the very least, get a sample made up before it goes into major production!!
It's more important than ever to have clear and concise warnings on your food or allergy prone products. If you are not a native speaker of the language you are printing on your packaging - you need to get a professional translator (not your friend) to translate for you. You could put someone's life in danger!
As you can see, they didn't spell check!
Again, if the language used on your packaging is not your own native language, you need to invest in a professional translator. Also, get a sample of the box made up and sent out to you before going into bulk production or check with your translator the packaging images / wording is correct/ok.
Frivolous, annoying, time consuming, wasteful packaging can make people annoyed! Your end product might be great - but if it comes in a massive package, your customer will be thinking that maybe you have added an additional product or gift! Always think of the customer experience when creating your packaging. Most people are time poor so creating easy to open packaging is best.
Again, this kind of frivolous, wasteful packaging just makes people mad. You need to understand that even if your target market customers are not the type to be environmentally friendly minded, there are people that will view your product on the shelves that are. They will not be amused! Think about the environment and the impact your packaging will have on it, and also about your costs. Some things - like bananas, don't need packaging! so don't waste money were it isn't needed.
Best of luck with your packaging design!
Thank you to:
Clara Cassidy, Founder and Marketing Manager of Custom Printed Bags & Boxes, is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, promotions and events.