Branding for Shopping Bots, Apps and Tastemakers

In the world of today, humans are the prime benefactor and target for branding work. We see it with our eyes and we process our experiences and desires to make judgments whether products and services are for us or not. We also can divine through good branding campaigns the extensions of products or services we will enjoy or recognize the ones we will not.

We all have a personal brand that we use to keep track of the things we like, the things we didn’t and what we’d like others to think of us. From this, we determine if products align with our brand. If they do, we buy. If not, we pass it by.

As the world moves into the future, we can extrapolate how much more dependent we will be on technology. Already we have begun to trust our mobile devices more than we trust our own senses or knowledge. Maps and way-finding are a perfect examples. A few decades ago we relied on physical maps, sign-age and perhaps even a little intuition to find our way. Today, we have GPS and apps that just tell us the steps that we’d have to take. We blindly trust that Magellan knows the way.

What about knowing what we like? Would our technology then do the deciding of likes for us? Perhaps there’d be some sort of algorithm that would take into account similarly branded items and deliver our tastes to us?

Technology could easily understand our habits and predict our tastes, then deliver suggestions, creating blinders to everything else as we travel down our own long tails of personal taste. Google already does this for us, to a degree. They list our browsing habits and forecast similar sites. Why not do the same in physical stores? Couple this with a more finely tuned location aware application and the inside of a store becomes as specialized as a Nordstrom’s visit.

Now that things are far more helpful, what would this do to branding? It would essentially make the mobile device the brand consumer. The device would be in charge of continuing the loyalty to a brand, as long as the actual consumer does not specifically say not to. Brand loyalty may actually become like opt-out email campaigns, we continue to support them just because we’re too lazy to shut it off.

Devices will find the selected objects in stores by some sort of location awareness or NFC technology. This will save us time, primarily from the waste of browsing or deciding as we will trust our devices to understand our personal brand and the brand loyalties we enjoy.

Packaging will still serve to close the final decision. Instead of selling the product, it will serve to support the buying decision merely as a re-check against the branding algorithm. Advertising could have an immediate effect. Ads with QR codes could be instantly scanned (if liked) and added directly to the shopping list, and the buyer’s personal brand likes are updated.

Branding would become more of an algorithm than a face of a product or service – it will still be there on the packaging and in ads, but the brand’s most important component will be how it is found and interacted with in the mountains of cloud data that connects preferences with shoppers. A shopper’s buying habits will be analyzed along with countless other shoppers to form a kind of ‘like’-chain, making it easier to suggest products in other categories. Using their devices, the shopper will rate the product afterward and their preferences of brand and product will change slightly and the cloud would be updated.

As the world becomes more and more hectic, our reliance on our devices to make the more mundane decisions for us will only increase. These decisions will extend into shopping and having a program that recognizes what we like, keeps up with our (subtitle) changing tastes and recommends items will become invaluable. These apps will guide us through shopping experiences with precision and ease, cutting down on the time it takes to buy our needs. For that, we will be grateful, even though decisions on brand loyalty will be made by a small device and a large, distant server rather than by our own tastes.

What Will Happen to the Droid Brand Now That Google Bought Motorola Mobility?

Curiously, I was talking with a friend of mine about Motorola’s plans this past weekend and we had gotten on to a discussion about the equity in the Droid brand. Our conversation revolved mostly on how Motorola’s then plan to introduce another operating system and the destruction of the Droid brand it would bring. Obviously, things changed on Monday.

Google’s purchase could mean a number of things for the Droid brand. The interesting aspect is that this will essentially be Google’s first real consumer brand that lives outside of the Internet. Brands that extend to the tangible world – and especially the product world – are different beasts than purely digital ones. The care and feeding of a brand like this is much more than what Google has experienced in the past.

The Nexus line was probably their best foray into actual products and it could hardly be called a success. Otherwise, you have the current push for the Chrome laptops, which I am sure that many who are reading this probably haven’t even heard of. Even the Android operating system, which is poised to be ‘the’ mobile device platform in the coming years has anemic advertising behind it, smacking of Business-to-Business bland-our.

Should Google notice, they may have lucked into a solution that could make their own branded phone a success. With Droid, they have essentially a turn-key branding solution for their mobile products, as well as the channels necessary to make it easy to get things in front of clients. More importantly, they have the cache to convince shoppers to buy.

Motorola put a lot effort into creating the brand, which is possibly the strongest Android brand on the market, even though it seems that Motorola has backed away from the push, cutting down on the more pervasive, high-value advertising campaigns. With a little effort, Google could breathe some life back into the Droid brand and perhaps own the market once again, just as Motorola had done initially.

The question is will Google understand what needs to be done to maintain and grow the brand? There has been a lot of talk about Google’s purchase being merely for the mountain of patents that Motorola had relating to mobile devices and not so much about the actual product lines. Perhaps Google just doesn’t know what they have. It is not without precedent that large companies lack the understanding of everything they receive when they buy other companies. It happens all the time.

The other issue that’s brought up in this Businessweek article is that Google may just have to scuttle the brand to head off an exodus from the Android OS and scatter us to a number of proprietary mobile OSs. Should that exodus happen, WebOS and Windows phones may become the heirs to Androids other-than-iOS crown.

What would be the best way to operate this purchase? I would think that allowing Motorola Mobility to operate as a somewhat independent subsidiary would yield the best results. Google would get its patent protection for Android. Google would also get a premium supplier of handsets to make sure their Android vision is properly executed. In order to do this right, Mr. Page would have to keep Google’s branding off of Motorola – a hard thing to do with mergers. When people buy things, they can’t help changing those things.

For the Droid brand, it would be massive mistake to push forward a co-branding scenario that’s all too common in these situations, like ‘Droid by Google’ or ‘Google Droid’ Ruining strong brands is easy when you dilute them with the misplaced necessity of staking claim.

Personally, I am a big fan of Motorola and their mobile products. The Droid campaign was genius and perfectly executed against everything iPhone. I am also a fan of Google and the products they put forth, although I am unsure that this plan will work out on in the most fruitful manner.

Did Borders Miss its Pivot?

We all know the sad demise of Borders. Some of us know the the rest of the story as well: crushing debt and poor timing on taking on competitors, amongst other things. Could the real problem be that Borders did not make its ‘pivot’ when it should have?

Borders was a bookstore chain, but Borders was more than that and perhaps in this ‘more’ was their solution. What else was Borders? We have to look at what people used it for to really answer the question. Within that answer was the direction Borders should have changed its business plan to.

Certainly, people went to buy books – or at least look at books. People also went because it had a coffee shop where people could look at the books in depth and decide to purchase. People also used the bookstore as place to meet with others, as you could easily do in the aforementioned coffee shop.

The manner at which Borders coffee shops were set up was different than other coffee shop competitors. The area was far larger and could be used (most times) by a working patron. It had lots of tables instead of plush chairs. You had a better chance of finding an open table there than at any Starbucks. The larger space committed to the coffee shop portion made it re-configurable for larger groups, so you’d normally see students studying or people talking with each other.

The three kinds of shopper who frequented the coffee shop were shoppers, workers and socializers. If these were the people who most came in to the store, shouldn’t it be obvious that the store be redesigned to attract more of these sorts?

This would be the little bell for Borders to pivot.

Perhaps Borders could become a coffee shop? After all, a coffee shop attracts people in much the same manner and the great part about it is that Starbucks’ stores are really not set up to handle the sorts of activities at the scale Borders could. With a ‘coffee shop’ the square footage of a Borders, a company could afford to have more people drink coffee for longer without worrying as much at turn over. Perhaps instead of removing chairs and tables from the showroom floor, they should have put more in.

What if Borders traveled down that path further? If Borders had thought not as a bookstore with a coffee shop but more as a socializing place for people, things would have been different. They would have to make a business of bringing people together inside the store, or better yet, make a situation where the shopper would be inclined to stay longer? What if Borders was to become a social neighborhood hotspot? Perhaps even they could have sold more books.

People come together for a united cause. Friends are friends because they share something similar, whether it be the same love of cars, live in the same neighborhood or play the same sports. People also spend to be united in cause. Finally, most people are desperate to socialize (We are social animals after all.) Bring enough people together and socializing happens and for Borders, the longer people are in stores, the better the chances those people will buy.

This could have happened easily enough for Borders. It could have been a grass-roots sort of affair. It could have started as innocuously as with author talks, then with book clubs (driving book sales). Borders could then hire cool hunters to sort out the new thing and bring that in for demonstration, thus driving socialization and in the process, sales. If one is not constrained by thinking of purely authors, there are a world’s possibilities available for attracting shoppers.

Borders could have seriously embraced technology as it had early in its life and worked to bring both the cloud-world and the bricks & mortar world together. When people leave a Borders they stop thinking of going to Borders until they drive past or feel a specific need. With the social capabilities of technology that they could have leveraged, they could have made a persistent presence in shoppers’ lives. They could do this with all of the store engagements they execute. What good is having them if no one knows about them.

Of course there are other gems that could have polished. Perhaps then with a digital reader app that allows one to preview books only at the local borders, thus driving people to physically go to the store. It could have been pushed further; coupons would be sent to be redeemed when they checked into the store. They could have further pushed tech by creating in-store apps that connected people in interesting way, and broke down the awkward barriers people have to talking to new people. It could have even had a (gasp) ‘singles night’ like my local grocery store has ( yeah, that’s for real!).

All of these suggestions could have helped to at least slow down the decline. They take money, yes, but so does making money. The only way Borders could have pulled out would have been if Borders would have understood that there was no more money in being a bookstore and it had to do something else: Pivot.

Sears & the Perilous Nature of Selling Private Label Brands into Other Stores

So we all know how Sears/Kmart is just not making it happen. It seems to be a beast that’s trying to get it’s groove back while coasting on its massive inertia. It also doesn’t help that the owner looks at the business as giant real estate investment.

The lastest plan Sears has is to create profitability by selling its amazingly successful private label brands in other stores – instead of using them to create a basis for driving sales into their own stores. In some ways I imagine that this could work out, but there are a lot of reason why this would be folly, at best.

One of the first things to think about is that this will be the first time Craftsman (or Kenmore or Diehard) will have to compete against other brands.

You could say that they’ve always have, but if you take it store by store, Craftsman has never had to compete at the shelf level. There has never been another brand that’s hung right next to a Craftsman product where a customer would hold both and decide between them. You came to Sears to buy a Craftsman tool. The world is different when people go to a brand neutral store like Ace where Stanley and even Ace have their brands.

Hmmm, I don't see any Craftsman packaging there, do you?

Why does this matter? While Craftsman has a strong brand (and that may be enough for a while), they will now have to compete on features and perception in direct comparison with other brands. If they fail at this, then all they’ll have left is to compete on price – a dangerous place for any company to be.

Sears will now have to work to make their packaging and marketing amazingly more effective. If you’ve ever compared Craftsman’s packaging to say, Stanley, you can see that the design work has gotten soft due to the lack of in-store competiton. This re-treatment will be costly. Hopefully, they’ll decide against creating two lines of packaging for Sears and then for others.

I think the real question is what does Sears get out of this? It’s one thing to plow Craftsman into Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary. It’s quite another to spread your private brand equity around to any other store that wants to carry it. Sears stands to gain a lot more product sales, sure, but at what cost?

Allowing other stores to carry your flagship products destroys any reason for consumers to visit Sears stores. If I can get Craftsman tools at Ace, why should I drive to Sears to buy them, right? What’s the problem? Sears still gets a sale, right? They do certainly, but what they lose is shoppers in their store…shopping for other things and impulse buying, No longer do you have someone coasting through clothing to get to tools. There’s a reason why you can get into the mall through Sears and Sears seems to have forgotten it.

My thinking is Sears essentially looses its anchor brand draw to its stores, losing Sears store traffic and now has the added burden of converting a non-competing store brand into a national name brand. What happens to Sears, now?

Re-introducing Aged Products with Combo Packaging

I’ve made a lot of ‘bonus’ packs and certainly a lot of ‘combo’ packaging. Most of the themes of these packs have been to convince shoppers to buy the main product. Clients will throw in an extra item to sweeten the proposition in relation to the competition. Who doesn’t want to get the drill bits for free when they buy a drill?

I saw something quite interesting the other day that puts a different spin on the combo pack concept. This bread mix by Carnation is after something else, or at least what I perceive as something else. They seem to be using their bread packaging to introduce and advertise another product in their line, Carnation condensed milk.

I have it on good sources that condensed milk, once championed by home bakers in previous generations, has waned a bit in popularity. Most recipes have been re-designed to work with other materials, so the little cans have been forced down to the lowest tier on the gondolas, and we all know what that means.

Carnation, though, not wanting to let a product die out is working hard to push condensed milk back in the spotlight. This combo pack is really a kit that reduces the need to hunt all over the store for all the components needed to make the bread, creating a one-stop impulse buy, perfect for endcaps, but more importantly, it slyly re-introduces condensed milk into baking.

Their packaging reflects the push to advertise the condensed milk by not only talking about it, but featuring the milk in its most common packaging. This creates product recognition for the next time the consumer is in the store. Condensed milk is basically fat and sugar, so the bread, when made, will taste extra sweet and tasty, so the gambit here is that consumers will consider the milk as necessary for a great loaf. They will remember the look of the can and the great taste it made, spurring them to purchasing more.

To make sure they hammer it home, they’ve even used the imagery of the can on the back panel when discussing directions, and on the front panel in the ingredients section, further re-enforcing the connection and brand imagery.

Sadly, I found this package in the discount area, so I guess this won’t be a line extension for Carnation this time around. If my assumptions are correct, this was a pretty dramatic push to re-invigorate a brand. It’s really amazing considering Nestle doesn’t seem to have a wing that normally creates cake and bread mixes, nor does Carnation seem to make anything like bread.

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?

Keeping Packaging Cohesive

The best thing you can do is build a united front across the entire shelf space. It’s pretty hard to do. There’s financial aspects of doing a hard roll-out so you end up piecing the new look out or you’re a gigantic company with many divisions so it’s difficult to cut across silos to unify the trade dress.

What do you get if you can make it work? You get a brand that looks sharp. You get a line of products that all look current and products that look fresh. Your products have been reborn in a new dress that speaks to the customer in a way that’s timely rather than dated.

If you can’t make it work, you are presiding over a shelf that’s more like a brand’s history lesson, displaying every managerial dynasty the company has had. The new products are weighed down by the old trade dress making the entire line look like someone who’s treading water. It’s the difference between dressing like a hipster and dressing business casual. Sure business casual person looks the same as every other business casual office worker but then again, you’ll never mistake them as hobos.

Alright, so that was a little pithy, but I do have examples. Below is a shot of products by Sony found in a nondescript Wal*mart in America.

So you have a Radio on the right and tapes on the left. It’s obvious that there’s a Radio factory owned (or licensed by) Sony and there’s the Cassette factory owned (or licensed by) Sony. The dress doesn’t match. Has one been on the shelf longer? Am I buying the junk that doesn’t sell? Is one going to be discontinued? And perhaps the biggest question: Are these really made by Sony or just some company that’s paying Sony to drop its name?

These are all questions that a brand manager never wants to hear about their packaging.

Let’s compare this to what Betty Crocker did in the Dollar Tree (yeah, I shop at Dollar Tree – how else can I have a calculator in EVERY room??).

Betty Crocker obviously owns the cooking implement segment in this store. There are no older products to smear the look – all of the packaging matches. When it all looks the same the packaging acts as one giant billboard for your products. By doing this, they’ve put together a story of richness that rivals, and perhaps surpasses, the offerings in stores with much higher price points. Are the products comparable? I have no idea. I don’t think I actually own a spatula anymore. But it looks like it is. That sells the Dollar Tree shopper. It would sell a Wal*mart shopper as well, I bet.

Now, I know that this Betty Crocker thing is really hard to do for most companies. There’s all that stock of printed packaging that’s already here and product that’s already been packaged. Then there’s the product on the shelves running the old stuff. It would be too costly to bring it all back for re-pack, to be sure.

There are certainly benefits to making it happen, though. Change the things you can. Sell the accountants. Get rid of the old stock and make the shift to the new trade dress happen faster, your shelf presence and your brand image demands it. The company that does this is offering a pledge to consumers that they care about how their products look on the shelf. If the company cares how they’re presented then they obviously care about the products they make, right? It goes to the brand’s promise.

Nobody wants their company’s trade dress to be a time line of all the stuff that doesn’t work anymore. Every customer shops for the best product they can afford, but they really want to be assured that they’re getting their money’s worth. If the company doesn’t care that their looks don’t match, how could you reason they care about how well their stuff works?

Making the Back of a Package the Front

The trouble with showing your product on the front of your package is that the product usually takes up a lot of space for marketing. Not to mention the product can go a long way to seriously  muck up the trade dress, making the offering look seriously awkward or unattractive. Kind of funny, huh?

Carded products are usually the worst for such things. Cards tend to be rather conservative with area for many reasons and then there’s the blister, which seems to remove a big portion of the rest of the card just by being there.

It seems that Autolite has decided to go for it and make a rather drastic change to get that marketing area back – by making the back of their card the front.

Wow, look at that billboard space! And to think: it was there all along!  That said, let’s have a more serious look at this solution.

Moving the blistered products to the back gets you the entire card area for branding and marketing. The dynamic imaging and trade dress really get a chance to shine. Autolite is owning that orange.  There is also a luxurious amount of space for sell-points. If you can’t get your point across with that much space, you really shouldn’t be selling that product.

Comparing the Autolite package to the Bosch packaging here, you can see how much more exciting and capable the Autolite is, which brings us to the downside…

There has always been a lot of talk about needing to actually see the product you want people to buy and this is the serious bone of contention about flipping your cards. There’s something re-assuring about seeing the spark plugs on the Bosch package. , As a consumer, I can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps it’s that you feel more confident you’re getting what you’re thinking about with the Bosch. Autolite tries to rectify this by putting a pretty dynamic illustration of a spark plug doing its thing on the front. Is that enough? Should it have been an image of the entire plug instead?

Here’s the other issue: store stockers notoriously do not care about the presentation of your product. Case in point: my mom wanting to buy a big heavy thing at a large home center. All of the products were stocked with the Spanish side out. Mom isn’t bilingual, nor a body builder. She gets frustrated and leaves…

Bringing this back home to Autolite’s packaging, I predict that they’ll have a hard time making sure that the blisters face the back, as we are all programmed nowadays to put the blisters to the front – even the consumers putting things back. Thinking of this, I hope that the back of the Autolite is as compelling as the front of the competition’s! As you can see from above, I don’t think it’s up for the task of competing back to front with Bosch.

Just for the record, I bought the Autolites because the Bosch packaging was just not approachable for my short-attention-span noodle.

Why Minimal-looking Packaging Only Works for Apple

From time to time, I get requests to make packaging that is ‘minimalist, like the iPod’s’. Once we get to work on it and a few revisions later, we’re pretty far away from the minimalist concept and much closer to the standard packaging look, kind of like this great video that came out a few years ago:

While this video is comically funny and at poor Microsoft’s expense, it hints at why most other companies can’t do the Apple packaging. The real reason is that Apple’s packaging isn’t really designed to convince the shopper that their product is the best at the shelf level – and it doesn’t have to.

Apple’s marketing and branding is set up so that the sale happens well before the shopper even gets into the car to go to the store. The packaging only serves as reassurance for the customer, rather than something that has to convince. They do this by having a very rich saturation of advertising that sells to a lesser extent the product and to a larger extent the emotional conductivity to the brand and the perceptions this entails.

Most companies, whether they sell consumer electronics or Macadamia nuts just doesn’t have the pervasive outlay that Apple puts out, so they rely on the packaging to be the final decision maker at the shelf level. The packaging, then is salesman and has to convince the shopper that the product is the one they want.

It becomes a big gamble then to leave the packaging clean, perhaps too big of a gamble for any marketing person to take. Important information must go onto the package in order to guarantee the competitiveness of the item, or so it seems.

Perhaps the real issue here is that Apple doesn’t sell personal media devices, they sell a lifestyle. People buy more on the idea of engaging in the Apple lifestyle rather than the actual features of the item. In this world, the Apple packaging is perfect as it sells the awesomeness of living in Apple-world. 5Gb as opposed to 32Gb is not in the vision of the person who wishes to live the Apple lifestyle – this information can certainly be left off of the package.

As a further aside, Apple has also done a very good job of separating their products at shelf level where the plain opportunity of comparing the items is difficult and speaks to the lifestyle concept: either you are looking at just the Apple products or you are not – and we all want to be part of the cool club…

So, if you really want the clean, minimal packaging for your products, the most important things to copy from Apple, is  to at least create a pervasive and rich advertising campaign, but the optimum thing to have is to sell your product as something that doesn’t have features but has the means to transport the consumer to their ideal life. Then features become less important and the exciting world that the brand creates – if done well- is far more enticing than battery life or the kind of salt on them nuts.

Designing Your Packaging Through Your Customer’s Eyes

Here we are, the final installment of this trifecta of packaging talk. The up side is that this is when I bring it all together!

Previously, I talked about the importance of where you place your logo and then we got into the hierarchy of the package and text. This time, I’m taking those to two bits and actually applying them, but first I have to talk about thinking through your customer’s eyes.

To really make an effective package, one has to realize that the package is basically the salesman for the item and the final gasp by your company to actually sell your product. Most times (and certainly with network cables) there is no extra marketing that helps swing home the sale. What really does it is what is said on the packaging – and it better be the right stuff. To hammer it home, the right stuff is the very things the customer needs to have. Most times, these are completely different from what your spreadsheets tell you.

Customers look to buy things to solve problems. Sometimes it’s a nebulous thing, like they need to feel better, richer, worthwhile or perhaps skinny or something. With network cables, that’s pretty easy: they need a cord to connect their computer to the internet – NO! They want to go online. That’s what they really need. The cable helps the customer get there.

Thinking like this, the biggest benefit we can put on that card is that this items connects you to the internet, right? I beg to differ in this instance.

While the above thought is important, the most important thing is the differentiation of the network cable from the phone cable. There are plenty of people who can divine the difference easily but for most it can be very confusing – especially when considering that stores usually put phone cables next to network cables. Therefore we need to say this is a network cable and say that loudly, because you need to take into account the environment your product will be placed in.

After this, on the scale of importance comes the reassurance that this product does connect to a network.  We must say ‘network’ rather than ‘internet’ because we must not confuse things, as this item certainly cannot connect without a modem of some sort, as well as to not confuse the small-office buyer or someone who needs to get on a ‘network’.

The next most important bit of information will be the length of the cord. For this, the reasons are obvious. The cord length is given a place of prominence on the top of the card and in a location where one can quickly thumb through other cards to find the size you need, in this case the upper right corner.

Finally, at the bottom of the card we put the qualifying specifications that need to be said. We need to specifically say the compatibilities to make sure we encompass as many customer’s conditions as we can.

For fun here, I have cobbled together a mock-up of what I figure to be a solid solution for this card going forward.

This card addresses all of the things I had discussed earlier. We now have a strong branding element in the large red swath of color behind the product that connects to the logo as well as popping the product off of the card. I have also moved the logo to the top the card, to a much more prominent position that should be far more legible. The new logo location also allows for the logo to be larger. This company is doing a good job saying it is proud of its product, rather than hiding itself.

Speaking of legibility, all of the text on the package has been weighted bolder for more impact and made larger for easier reading – an important feature for older demographics. It is a bit of comfort to the buyer to find pertinent information quickly. It goes to feeling comfortable with their decisions and we all know that most people buy on emotion rather than on logic.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of packaging design thinking!