Over the past decade or so, we've witnessed an exciting new direction in packaging—personalization. Companies have developed targeted packaging as part of their campaigns, reaching out to customers on a more individualized level.
Personalized packaging is now a staple in the packaging industry. What once seemed like an up-and-coming trend is now here to stay. Let's take a closer look at some of the most notable forms personalized packaging has taken over the years. We'll also discuss a few considerations to weigh when you're thinking about personalization in packaging and some other recent packaging trends your business can leverage to appeal to your customers.
History of Package Personalization
The advertising campaign that boosted the package personalization trend to the forefront of the industry was Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign, which began in Australia in 2011. Suddenly, Coke bottles across the country bore personalized labels, each one containing the phrase "Share a Coke with . . ." and a person's name. Mikes, Jennifers, Aaliyahs and Hamishes across the globe eagerly searched store shelves for bottles containing their names or the names of their family members or friends.
Part of the genius of this campaign was its focus on social connections. Social media blossomed with fun photos of people with the Coke bottles bearing their names, so it became an excellent platform for word-of-mouth marketing of the new personalized bottles. When consumers saw pictures of smiling friends and families enjoying time together, showing off their personalized Coke bottles, they wanted to get in on the action too. As it expanded worldwide, the campaign sent Coke's U.S. sales soaring by more than 2%.
Of course, Coca-Cola did not personalize a Coke bottle for every person to locate at the local gas station or corner store. The company merely printed labels with thousands of popular names to increase the likelihood that consumers could find their own monikers on Coke bottles. Still, the packaging felt personal to consumers, and the campaign was successful because of how many people could identify uniquely with the products.
The "Share a Coke" campaign reached many other countries worldwide and spawned several popular spinoffs. One U.S. version, "Share a Coke and a Song," featured the lyrics to trendy songs printed on Coke labels and broke an Instagram record for likes with a photo of singer Selena Gomez drinking a Coke. A U.K. twist on the campaign printed over 75 tantalizing vacation destinations on the Coke bottle labels and allowed consumers to enter a drawing for a paid vacation to one of those locales.
Heinz soon followed suit, allowing users to create personalized soup cans bearing the message "Get well soon" and a word like "Grandpa" or a person's name. Today, the brand features endless customization options, with users able to design personalized cans and ketchup or mayonnaise bottles via the internet and receive them in the mail.
Frito-Lay has created a similar campaign using personalized packaging. The company has produced thousands of customized Lay's potato chip bags featuring submitted consumer photos of their favorite summer moments. Excited consumers could post social media photos of chip bags containing pictures of themselves, their family and friends, or locations with special meaning.
When the "Share a Coke" campaign took off and similar promotions followed suit, personalized packaging was a hot new fad. It had tremendous success over the short term. Still, marketing experts and packaging design professionals were uncertain about the staying power it would have.
Today, what was once the package personalization trend has become a permanent feature of the product packaging landscape. Package personalization is consistently part of the top packaging strategies every year. It has been a robust trend over the past several years and cemented itself as a permanent force in product design and promotion strategies.
Factors to Consider in Choosing Package Personalization
Package personalization offers tremendous benefits for your company as you seek to attract and engage with new clients. As you pursue this opportunity, you'll want to keep a few considerations in mind:
- Boosted profit margins: One of the great benefits of package personalization lies in the value consumers ascribe to it. A generic Coke bottle may not seem incredibly valuable as it sits in the refrigerated case in the grocery store. After all, dozens of identical bottles are waiting all around it. A Coke bottle with your name on it, though, can instantly seem like a treasured commodity. Consumers are often willing to pay more for that increased sense of value, sending your profits soaring.
- Cost: Non-personalized packaging lends itself to a single stream of mass production. Because package personalization requires producing many different items, the manufacturing costs can be a bit higher. Companies will need to balance those upfront costs against the potential for higher revenue as consumers get excited about and buy more personalized products.
- Relatability: Companies considering package personalization should consider how their packaging can remain both unique to individuals and broadly relatable across large swaths of consumers. Coca-Cola struck this balance perfectly. People have thousands of unique names — yet every single person has a name to look for on a Coke bottle. Striking that blend of personalization and broad appeal helps similar package personalization campaigns realize the same success.
Other Recent Packaging Trends
A few other recent packaging trends are worth looking at because of their potential to appeal to consumers in the same way package personalization does:
- Green packaging: Many consumers want to know the brands they purchase products from share their values. They seek confirmation that companies are conscientious stewards of the environment, reducing waste and pollution and limiting their carbon footprints. About 74% of consumers are even willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. One excellent way to meet this consumer demand is to invest in green packaging upgrades, such as packaging with post-consumer recycled content or compostable materials.
- Enhanced visibility: Increasingly, many consumers are interested in seeing into packaging before they purchase a product. They want visual evidence of the safety and quality of the items they are about to buy. Enhanced visibility gives consumers valuable information about the condition of products from office supplies to consumer electronics to pharmaceuticals.
- Color-change packaging: A few brands have innovated by creating packaging that changes its appearance. Some companies want to increase visual appeal for the consumer. Frito-Lay, for instance, has developed UV-activated packaging that causes new designs to appear when the packaging receives sunlight exposure. Others use color-change packaging as a quality indicator — think of the Coors brand and the way the mountains on the cans appear blue when the cans are sufficiently cold.
- Clearer typography and graphics: Consumers today have less time to spend on shopping and less desire to linger in store aisles, peering at product packaging. They want to get in, see what they need, get out and get on with the rest of the day. Large, clear typography and clear graphics indicating what the package contains make store trips more convenient for shoppers.
- Enhanced aesthetic experience: Many brands have focused on the visual appeal of their packaging. Graphic art, geometric patterns and intricate, beautiful typography are excellent ways to attract consumer attention and create enjoyment as people unbox their purchases.
- Narrative and character: Story- and character-driven packaging create a whimsical appeal that captures attention and entices consumers to buy. The Wide Awake Coffee brand, for instance, uses cute, wide-eyed animal characters just begging shoppers to buy each coffee flavor.
Let QPSI Design and Manufacture Your Personalized Packaging
To see the benefits of personalized retail packaging solutions for your company, work with QPSI.
QPSI has extensive capabilities as a contract packer, or co-packer. Our project management expertise, packaging versatility and commitment to quality customer service make us a dependable choice for all types of personalized packaging. We are happy to work with you on customized bags, blister carding, electronic bundles, liquid and powder sachets and pallet displays, among many other options.
Contact us today to get started with personalization in packaging or learn more.