Problems with on pack messaging? Then you need to understand this…


On-pack is often our best opportunity to communicate with our consumers. The pictures, the colours even the packaging that we use speak volumes about who we are. Yet we are often quite constrained by the space available and by legal requirements dictating much of the information shown.

And then there are the consumers, most of them never read the pack anyway.

So, while even our most loyal consumers, cannot tell us in any detail what it says on the packs – because they don’t read it – they can, in most cases, tell us the main messages. These messages have been absorbed by our consumers while handling our packs.

They might not read them, but consciously or unconsciously they are aware of what the pack is communicating and what is different about your brand from your competitors…

…Sometimes, this impression that they have coincides with what you are trying to communicate. But often it does not.

If consumers do not read our packs how can we ensure that we communicate the messages that we want them to hear

The solution adopted tends to be; we know what we want to say to our consumers and then focus upon the best way to communicate it. The vocabulary that we use, how we can communicate with pictures and colours rather than words, where we position the message on pack, and so on.

A more effective solution is to focus upon how we want our consumer to feel about our brand rather than the detail of the message.

 When we take this approach, we start to think about our communication differently.

 ·     What are the emotions that we want to arouse in our consumers?

·     How do we ensure that these emotions are associated with our product and feel true with our category and our brand?

·     What are the best ways to evoke these emotions?

·     How do we use everything about our packs and products to build our story without the consumer needing to take any action on their part?

 To do this well we need to understand the emotional journey that our consumers travel when they interact with our brand and our packaging. There is very little that is logical or rational about this journey, so we cannot expect consumers to explain it to us. But when we can track their emotional journey and understand how and why this journey is evoked by our brand, our packaging and our messages, we can adapt how we use all three of these to deliver the right emotions to our consumers.

 If it were easy your competitors would already be doing it, but it requires a little more application and skill. However, when you do get this right, it has a significant effect upon your consumers and upon your brand’s fortunes.

Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic.

Understanding the connections between the consumer experience and their emotional responses.