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New inventors often ignore packaging and marketing till they have spent a ton of money getting ready to manufacture their product. When you start to market and distribute your product, you are asking people to invest their own money and resources in your product, and one of their primary concerns is the package, how well it sells and protects the product, but also how well it fits into the distribution channel. For a retail product, for instance, will the package hang from a hook, sit in a bin, or be located on a shelf. The other big concern, especially with lower cost products is packaging cost. Since normally you need to mark-up products 4 times to cover its cost, that means a $0.50 package will raise the retail price of a product $2.00.
A Powerful Package
A new product gets only a second or two to sell its advantages. A retailer won’t put a product on the shelf unless it can sell itself in that second or two, either because it meets a need people have, or provides a new and unexpected benefit. There are three areas to concentrate on, copy, graphic design, and structure and materials.
Copy: Figure out what will be written on the package before you dig deep into the design. Space is limited, so be brief and figure out a hierarchy. Leave room for the brand name, the company name, a slogan (if desired), some quick, but important attributes/ benefits/ descriptions and any supplementary copy (instructions, storage info, warnings, etc.). Copy is another branding tool where you can be creative. If you want to be as clever and brilliant as possible, you may consider consulting a copywriter.
Graphic Design: Graphics compel the audience and quickly communicate significance. They can either be printed on the packaging materials or may appear on a label or tag of some sort. The basic design essentials are: color, typography, composition, logo use/ development, photo/ illustration use and the overall style/ concept of it all. This is another area where research is important. Setting up all the elements neat and orderly is a start, but it does nothing for your brand. Let’s say you have an exercise product that’s branded as a high-quality, high-energy, extremely efficient piece of equipment. Research those themes to inspire provocative imagery. What are some sources of energy that you could conceptualize around? How can you tweak it to connote quality and efficiency as well? With these rough concepts in mind, what fonts, colors and graphic elements could interplay in harmonizing your brand identity?
A Name and Tagline That Communicates
You don’t necessarily need a cute tagline, but rather one that customers can identify with in one to two seconds maximum. Now, not every inventor can come up with a clearly identifiable name for their product. Some products are complicated and don’t lend themselves to quick communication. You can start by getting feedback from your friends. This is a good time to post jobs on Upwork, www.upwork.com or Freelancer www.freelancer.com for marketing help coming up with a name and a tag line.
Evaluating the Options
A good place to start is by getting four packages of similar size and similar priced products for your market. Then ask a group of friends what they like or don’t like about that package. Include both the package itself, and the package graphics, which explains the product, Ask how long it takes them to figure out what the product is. See what headlines they like or don’t like. Then make a rough mock-up of a package that you think will work and show it to your friends again along with the original for products for feedback before going to talk to graphic artists, who create the sell sheet, and packaging companies who make the physical package, in your area.
You might also want to check with SCORE www.score.gov (service Corps of Retired Executives, or your local sbdc (Small Business Development Center, http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-development-centers-sbdcs). Both groups offer free consulting with experts in the field and one of two groups might have a packaging person who can help you.