Product packaging has come a long way in the last few years. More recently, using creative package design is a powerful branding and marketing tool to invoke brand loyalty in consumers. Multi-sensory packaging is becoming one of the biggest rising trends amongst many product focused businesses.
Multi-sensory packaging touches on the 5 traditionally recognized senses of perception which are taste, sight, touch, smell and sound. The idea is that by giving consumers multiple sensory impressions from a product or product’s packaging, they are more likely to become buyers. By creating an emotional connection through the senses your product and brand become more memorable to shoppers, thus increasing overall brand loyalty as well as converting them into sales.
Products are now being enhanced by adding visual stimulus, touch stimulus, sound stimulus or smell stimulus through the retail packaging itself. This is being done through different modern packaging technologies such as embossing, soft touch coatings, raised UV coatings, glitter coatings, etc.
An example of how multi-sensory packaging first became popular is Anheuser-Busch who designed a multi-sensory label for their beer brand. The packaging for their beer featured not one but many multi-sensory labels. One of the branding images their beer was known for was the skull-like mask on the label. It became visible only under ultraviolet light or when pressure was applied (by fingers) to the label itself. On the back label of the beer bottle was a colour changing element that thanks to thermo chromic ink the label changed colours when cold. On a side note, Coca-Cola also did this with their pop cans changing colour and appearance based on temperature. This is an example of using touch stimulus in creative product packaging to promote memorability of the product and brand as well as create brand identity and loyalty to the company.
Scent is also being used as a powerful stimulus on product packaging, as it is the most powerful sense tied to memory. This is being done by different scent enhancing technologies such as scratch and sniff product labels, or infusing the actual packaging with a scent that releases once opened. iPod packaging does just this, inside the iPod carton, once opened, releases a fragrant spring air smell to the consumer. What a powerful way to have the consumer have an emotional response to your product and have them come back to purchase again and again.
Sound, used as a way to elicit an emotional response from the consumer is one that cannot go overlooked. As a very simple example, the sound of opening a product’s packaging or even pouring yourself a drink of your favourite beverage is enough to have your senses stimulated positively (or even negatively). The popular snack company Frito Lay introduced a new form of bio-degradable packaging for their chips back in 2010. However, opening the bag was so noisy that it actually turned off customers. As a result of the negative feedback, the company was forced to remove it from the shelves and go back to something less “loud”.
What we can take away from this new marketing trend (multi-sensory packaging), is that anything that helps you stand out from the crowd is a good thing, and multi-sensory packaging is a proven way to increase your brand loyalty and memorability amongst consumers. By using technology to become innovative and fresh you will be sure to capture attention (create buzz) and garner more interest than ever for your products.