Alice Louw & Michelle Kimber
The Customer Equity Company*
In recent years packaging has developed well beyond its original function as merely a means of product protection and now plays a key marketing role in developing on shelf appeal, providing product information and establishing brand image and awareness. As packaging’s role in the marketing mix gains momentum, so research into this arena becomes increasingly important. Given the potential for packaging to successfully achieve marketing goals; does research into packaging truly reflects its value within the marketing mix? Do we fully understand the role that packaging plays in a marketing environment and how best to leverage this tool to influence consumers? If packaging is so important, what is the best way to measure its effectiveness?
The Customer Equity Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of TNS (UK) which has been set up
to develop the marketing sciences and support brand equity and Commitment modelling worldwide.
What is packaging?
The definitions of ‘packaging’ vary and range from being simple and functionallyfocused to more extensive, holistic interpretations. Packaging can be defined quite simply as an extrinsic element of the product (Olson and Jacoby (1972)) - an attribute that is related to the product but does not form part of the physical product itself. “Packaging is the container for a product – encompassing the physical appearance of the container and including the design, color, shape, labeling and materials used” (Arens, 1996). Most marketing textbooks consider packaging to be an integral part of the “product” component of the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion (Cateora and Graham, 2002, pg 358-360). Some argue that that packaging serves as a promotional tool rather than merely an extension of the product: Keller (1998) considers packaging to be an attribute that is not related to the product. For him it is one of the five elements of the brand – together with the name, the logo and/or graphic symbol, the personality and the slogans. While the main use for packaging can be considered to be protection of the goods inside, packaging also fulfils a key role in that it provides us with a recognisable logo, or packaging, so that we instantly know what the goods are inside. From the consumer perspective, packaging plays a major role when products are purchased – as both a cue and as a source of information. Packaging is crucial, given that it is the first thing that the public sees before making the final decision to buy (Vidales Giovannetti, 1995).
Objectives of packaging
Packaging and package labeling have several objectives: • • Physical Protection – Protection of the objects enclosed in the package from shock, vibration, compression, temperature, etc. Barrier Protection - A barrier from oxygen, water vapor, dust, etc.
Containment or Agglomeration - Small objects are typically grouped together in one package for transport and handling efficiency. Alternatively, bulk commodities (such as salt) can be divided into packages that are a more suitable size for individual households. Information transmission - Information on how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product is often contained on the package or label. Reducing theft - Packaging that cannot be re-closed or gets physically damaged (shows signs of opening) is helpful in the prevention of theft. Packages also provide opportunities to include anti-theft devices. Convenience - features which add convenience in distribution, handling, display, sale, opening, re-closing, use, and re-use. Marketing - The packaging and labels can be used by marketers to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product.
Although packaging plays a role in both logistics and marketing, this paper will be focusing mainly on its relevance in the area of marketing.
The Relevance of Packaging...