The life of any company lies in the product/service that it sells. Not only is the product the underlying reason for the company’s existence, it is also what forms the entire premise of the business industry. It’s an economical need of society, a way to balance the demand-supply equation. Whenever people need a product/service, there will be companies that produce that particular product/service and hence the cycle will go on and on.
That is precisely why there has always been cut-throat competition between companies in contention for more and more customers. Not only do they want to bring in new customers, they also want to retain their customers. The best and most effective way to ensure that is to either have a superior product or alternatively, present your product/service in a better way than your competitor.
This is how advertising was born. Even if you’re the market leader in any category you still need to present your product/service and keep it relevant in the minds of your customers. This is why brands spend billions of dollars each year in their marketing efforts. Premium packaging is a key element of those marketing efforts. But also this raises an important question.
Is packaging really as important as the product? There are a lot of people that continue to present the argument that if you have the best product/service on the market then customers will continue to use it regardless of how much or how less you market it. It’s a fair point and under normal circumstances, it would probably be true as well. However, marketing is supposed to represent an exception to those normal circumstances. There are countless examples of how better products continue to lose out to comparatively inferior products on the basis of how they’re presented to the public.
Consider the famous Marlboro Man campaign. It is routinely considered the turning point in the history of advertising and marketing. People tend to forget but a key factor in transforming the public image of Marlboro cigarettes was the radically different packaging that Marlboro introduced. Most cigarettes used to be available in paper wraps, Marlboro introduced it in cigarette packs that have become the industry standard today. That one initiative was responsible in transforming the image and more importantly, the sales of the Marlboro brand.
It’s also important to mention the fact that Camel cigarettes were the better product, but that one characteristic was vehemently incapable in helping it retain its position as the market leader.
There can never be compromise on the product. It is the entire foundation upon which the product is built. But when two brands have products that are on pare in terms of quality then it’s the question of how well each brand presents their product. The presentation i.e. the packaging is what leaves the first impression. Marlboro’s revolutionary cigarette packing was revolutionary for its time as it oozed the message of quality while Camel’s paper packing sent the same generic message that every other brand sent at the time.
Today, brands have become ten-folds as much competitive as they were in those days. There are plenty of reason for that. One of them is the fact that the sheer number of competitors has risen. All of these brands have their own distinct characteristics that they aim to serve to different audiences. It has similarly become even more important how brands present themselves in terms of packaging since it’s highly unlikely that potential customers will give them a second chance.