Yesterday in Waitrose, I watched a 10-month old toddler in a pushchair lean over to the supermarket basket his father had placed by his pushchair, while his parents chatted, waiting in the queue to pay. He chose this product and some bananas from the other products in the basket. He recognised "his" product by the colours, shape and texture of the packaging. I could see him enjoying the colour and feel of the Ella's Kitchen pouch.
His young, new, mother looked at me and said: "I know I should be making him home-cooked food, and I do but sometimes it's so easy to buy these..."
There is an awful lot of pointless packaging around. By which I mean what I call the "stylised leaves" kind of pack design. The kind that looks blandly "nice", like stuff you've seen a lot of times before. It doesn't offend. But nor does it catch your eye. It's well behaved. The client and the designer probably went through long agonised discussions over it, to create something broadly similar to lots of other packaging. It doesn't say anything much.
There are some pointless products out there in pointless packaging.
I've been in the aisles a lot recently interviewing consumers about packaging - what catches their eyes, what suggests natural and what doesn't, what's new, what's old. Women notice the nuances of packaging: the shape of the bottle, the shine of the cardboard on the cardboard sleeve, the colours, the font, all the pack messaging .... nothing misses their beady gaze.
So, how can you do it well? Here's a new example to learn from.
Claire of Breckland Orchard, maker of posh pop, has all the freshness and zing of one of her drinks, and here she is to share her Four Things with you, in her words:
1. SHARE EVERYTHING YOU KNOW
"Sam Walton, the founder of Wal*Mart, had a great saying: ‘Share everything you can with your suppliers. The more they know, the more they'll understand. The more they understand, the more they'll care. Once they care, there's no stopping them’.
I was the Mars Account Director for Asda for several years, and although Sam’s words kind of made sense then, it’s only when I started my own business that they really hit home.