Packaging is often an under-appreciated and under-utilized marketing asset.
I’m not talking about the marketing joke with the basic theme that every new brand manager wants to change the label design. Rather, let’s explore how packaging (both structure and design) can become part of the actual concept and go-to-market strategy.
A California winery has just launched a new range of wines, that in my view, addresses a fundamental issue with buying wine: more often than not, consumers lack basic wine knowledge and are thus intimidated, confused and uncomfortable buying wine. But it’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the wine industry. I speak as a former wine importer and distributor who used packaging to address this hurdle.
Sonoma County wine company Truett-Hurst caught my attention because they’ve decided to make wine more approachable and easier to buy via using the packaging as an education and communications vehicle.
The line of wines is called Evocative Wrapped Bottles, and includes five variants or “brands” as the company refers to them that “are designed to tell a story, give a recipe, or celebrate a special occasion.”
The winery notes that “with the added paper real estate, the wraps allow for more copy, recipes, and engagement among consumers in a way that a tiny back label cannot.” This supports and brings to life the brand concept: “consumers will be able to select a wine that suits their personal desires and needs, an attribute that the wine industry doesn’t address with standard packaging design.”
Design firm Stranger & Stranger commented on the ideation process: “We thought about why someone might be buying that particular wine. Then we wrapped the bottle in paper covered with recipes, pictures and stuff relating to whatever that occasion might be.”
Truett-Hurst has identified 22 buying occasions and apparently created 22 corresponding wines. Nine SKUs are selling at the Safeway grocery chain in an exclusive US distribution launch (per Packaging World magazine).
Packaging World reported that “another eight SKUs will be released in spring 2013, for a total production of 100,000 cases in the first year. Wines are priced from $11.99 to $29.99.”
Details on the packaging technology are available here.
Packaging can be a powerful component of the marketing and branding mix – when used skillfully. Consider packaging at the beginning of any new product development process, and devote a section of your annual marketing plan to the topic. Overall, let strategy and concept drive your packaging decision-making. With today’s technology, combined with superior customer insight, packaging can be a real difference-maker for your products.
Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.