I found the packaging example above in a recent store visit and I figure I am going to talk about it for at least two posts, as it points out a number of things – both good and bad.
Being that I’ll be talking about both good and bad, I’d like to extend this caveat regarding the product and the brand: I have nothing against RCA from any standpoint and would like to further point out that the network cable above is of good quality and is working great. Now, if you’re listening RCA, I can really help you with your branding and packaging. I am slightly expensive but I work really fast, and do great work! *nudge, nudge*
Now, getting to the point of this entry, let’s think about where RCA has determined to place their logo mark – the bottom of the card. Not a lot of companies dare place the logo at the bottom of packaging for a number of reasons. I know an oldster who NEVER wants to put the logo at the bottom. I think mainly it’s about being a big stickler for ‘the higher on the package, the more important a thing is’ line of thinking. The logo, in his eyes, is most important. It never is the least important, thus never on the bottom. I like to think a bit more situationally regarding this thought, so I have my doubts about this one.
Another very important point regarding logos at the bottom of packaging design is that when things are merchandised, there is a very good chance that the logo will be covered by secondary labels and structure. This may not be a big deal, as long as one accounts for it when making the merchandising elements – as well has having a strong enough trade dress to pull it through.
When we look at this card we can see that with the above head on shot, the logo seems pretty prominent, mainly due to the awkward, centered location (nothing else is centered) and more so the use of the stand-out red on the white field.
When the card is peg-hooked the situation becomes different. If this package is looked at any downward degree, the logo is obscured by the clamshell and product within. With the logo gone and no other discernible trade dress to carry the brand (which is another topic, all together), the package has lost all of its RCA brand cache. The product now falls into that area of ‘misfit toys’ populated by cheaply sourced, questionably made items people put low trust and value to. This is probably one of the reasons why these cords were $4 (and on sale for $2) while similar cords with a bit more nascent branding were selling for $10 at Wal*mart.
If we compare the RCA product with this product from Singer, you can see how much of a difference the prominence of the Singer logo location has over the RCA. The size and the location broadcast the brand far more effectively. It would seem that Singer may be much more proud of their products than RCA is, leading customers to think that perhaps the Singer may be of better quality than the RCA. After all, the person who takes responsibility is far more trustworthy in people’s eyes.
That oldster was right about one thing: branding is very important and perhaps the logo mark is the most important item on your package. The reason for the importance is that by placing your logo on all your products you are, in essence, saying that you guarantee the same level of quality across all of the items with this logo. What does that mean for the customer? It means that if I buy this CAT5e cable and it works great, then the chances are high that this other RCA product will be just as good of a value.
Obviously, this works best when you actually care about your products, but if you do care about your products and you want to get that loyalty then you have to make it as easy as possible for the customer to spot your products and you do that by having a strong trade dress and a distinct and immediately legible logo mark, otherwise you risk falling into the indistinguishable sea of commodity items.