Your Packaging’s Back Panel, the Undiscovered Country

There’s a lot of attention always being lavished on the front panels of packaging and with good reason, but the back panels are usually an after-thought. Especially, this happens with carded items.

The back of a card really should get much more attention than it does. After all, it’s essentially a bit of free space to help sell your product – and usually it’s larger space than you have on the front – but there are even better reasons than this.

Above, we have the pretty darn excellent Betty Crocker cooking implements packaging that you can easily find in Dollar Tree. Yes, that Dollar Tree, home of “everything is a dollar”(which should hammer home the point that you should be always in it to win it, no matter what the price point is). So what’s so great about this trade dress? The answer is on the back.

Sure, there’s all the usual stuff you’d see on the back of a package: the closure, the legalese, and of course, the UPC. But what else does it have? It has a call to action, asking people to go to the Betty Crocker website for more whatever, but it also gives something a bit more to the consumer. It gives a little recipe. How nice is that? Perhaps the product has no features to talk about on the back but instead of just letting that space go, Betty added a little extra gift for the buyer. It cost them nearly nothing but it gives something even more than the logo. It gives the ‘feeling’ that the company is invested in your cooking or baking journey and wants to help you get there – not just sell you a cheap plastic thing for a dollar. The added detail is like if Betty Crocker herself gave you a little wink and a go-for-it thumbs up.

Even more, it gives Betty Crocker a chance to cross-sell it’s baking and cooking food products, while perhaps not in the same store, it will stick in buyer’s head for when they come across it. Mmmm, creamy chocolate or vanilla frosting! A sneaky bit of advertising concealed in a cleaver value-add.

Comparing this work to a not so similar product that’s in an arguably similar store situation, you can see the real difference in the perception of how each company really seems to care about the buyer. The product on the right is a package of epoxy from Harbor Freight (and the stuff works really well!). The glue is sadly an example of how many companies treat this extra space that could be so valuable to them. There’s all the basic stuff that you need and that’s it. Otherwise, it’s bone dry – not even any branding on the back, and certainly not at the level of completeness that the Betty Crocker has.

Harbor Freight has invested in printing on the back and even in two (possibly four?) colors, why not go all the way and really make the product experience as complete as possible for your customer?

When you’re making a lot products it’s easy to blow through the backs of innumerable cards, but it’s important to think that the back of the card is really your salesman that gets to go home with the consumer and makes sure that your product’s experience is as complete as possible. I’d like to think that how you treat the front of the package in these small instances as how much you care about your product and the back of the card is how much you care about the customer. If you had these opportunities, shouldn’t you capitalize on them?

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