I recently came across an art exhibit by Peggy Mergui titled “Wheat is Wheat is Wheat.” In it, Mergui reimagines normal grocery items as if they’ve been packaged by your favorite brands.
So you get to see oddities like iMilk by Apple, showing a carton of milk in Apple’s classic, minimalism style. Or the decadent Eggs by Versace. When you see the extravagant, individually wrapped eggs against an elegant, black carton, you can’t help but think how fancy the person who eats these must be.
But of course, the eggs, milk, wheat, fruit, and other groceries in this exhibit are really no different than the ones you have in your fridge right now. They only give off the appearance of being superior to what you already have.
I’m pretty sure the message Peggy is trying to get across in this exhibit is that these luxury goods are selling a lifestyle instead of a product, and because of that, they command much higher prices than they really should. It’s supposed to demonstrate our vulnerability to consumerism and the illusion of luxury.
But what it made me think is “why can’t all my products’ packaging look as nice as this?”
Of course, some of the packaging is unreasonable and unsustainable (eggs individually wrapped in foil?!?), and not every company can have the same eye for design that Tiffany & Co have. But I think we can all take a few packaging lessons from these other brands. Let me illustrate what I mean with an example:
You see, the other day, I decided to support a local business by getting some fish and chips for lunch. After a bit of a wait, my meal was presented to me inside a styrofoam to-go box placed inside a plastic bag. Napkins, forks, and sauces were thrown in the bag willy-nilly. When I opened the box later to enjoy my meal, I found the fish, chips, and tartar sauce had all been thrown in there without any care, and were now mingling together in a big, greasy pile.
This didn’t stop me from enjoying my meal (my co-workers will vouch for my ridiculously unhealthy eating habits), but I couldn’t help but think how sloppy everything was presented.
Now if I had bought that box of fish & chips from a company like Nike, Apple, or Bugatti, they would have made sure that every step of the process was branded. I guarantee that the box, and the way its meal was packaged inside of it, would have been carefully presented to be an experience.
The restaurant probably couldn’t afford packaging any more expensive than the standard styrofoam to-go box. I understand that. But putting the food in the box in an nice fashion would have at least let me know that the business cares a little bit about my brand experience, including the parts that come before I even get to their product. Writing my name on the box with a little smiley face would have added a nice bit of personalization to the experience. That wouldn’t have cost anything.
We can all put a little more care into our packaging. Some companies do this with custom printing on their boxes. Others do it by packaging their products in custom-fitted boxes.
Yes, I just said custom-fitted boxes are a good way to make your brand stronger. Brands that don’t care about every step of their brand experience just throw their products into whatever sized box is convenient. The end result is like a bunch of fish & chips jumbled together in a styrofoam take-out box. On the other hand, when your product fits inside its box like this, it shows you cared a bit about how the product was shipped. Your customers will think, at least on a subconscious level, that you put some thought into every step of their brand experience—including the less glamorous ones.
You can learn more about custom-fitted boxes and other ways you can improve your packaging by contacting us. Do that today by clicking the button below!