What Do Women See In Packaging by Terri Goldstein
What do women want to see, feel and understand about brand packaging? For centuries women have responded to romance, flowers and chocolate. Why, because women respond when their emotions are activated.
While women’s median income has soared 63% over 20 years, those earning over $100k doubled in a decade, and 30% of women earn more than their husbands. And while women make 80% of all supermarket, drugstore and department store purchases, only 20% of character trademarks are female.
Why the disconnect and how can marketers use packaging to harness the power of the purse? Unfortunately, much confusion still exists when it comes to designing packaging to appeal to women. Perhaps it is because “She segments” differ greatly from “He segments.” Take pet food/supplies, the fastest growing supermarket category, with its array of natural foods, special treats, teeth whiteners, sauces, gravies, and more, all with great photos of cuddly pets, which appeals to women who view Fido as a family member. Men just don’t react in the same way.
To begin a marketer must understand that hierarchy of packaging communications (color, shape, symbol, words), and how they appeal to each sex. Begin with color, but to reach women, it’s not enough to simply change the color of a product to pink or purple, you have to understand her desires.
Shape is second. Packages can be formed to highlight internal components, such as detergent and water containers with easy grip handles – Form+function=benefit. Women understand function by seeing form; they report that the most highly rated purchasing characteristics are convenience, ease of storage and carry handles. Symbols are third. The symbol of a glow, of a bear, of how soft this is going to be. Women will get it because color, shape, symbol and, a few, words create an instant impact.
Five Tips to Unlock the Power of Her Purse
1. Understand that most brands are seen at 1/25 of a second, at a peripheral level.
Learn the shelf-sight sequent- colors, shapes and symbols she will see and relate to. Integrate feminine brand shapes (Letterforms and brandmarks). Create package structures with intuitive form/function benefits. Research says that if your brand’s visual vocabulary resonates with women on an emotional level, she will consider your words next, a full three to five seconds in low-to-mid involvement categories.
2. Be aware that women as crossover shoppers
Understand her total visual world: multiple categories, across all chains of distribution – from Whole Foods to Target to A&P and CVS. Marry those crossover sensibilities to the codes of the category in which your brand lives, but reinvent them to exploit her desire for luxury items that look good but cost less. Strive to embed a sense of cache into your brand, no matter the price point.
3. Go where she goes
Fifty percent of Internet users are women seeking information about services and brands. Her brands must extrapolate her sensibilities of online shopping, the Internet and her media habits. Consider integrating your print ads, promotional campaigns and web sites with the motivational pull and visual recall that she may recognize on the shelf.
4. Understand that “her” visual territories are vastly different that “his.”
She purchases products for her, him, and the family. Recognize the alternate colors, textures, cues, triggers and words that she emotionally responds to. Clue her in with the visual language of: transparent hues, ethereal glows, soft blends, prisms of light, soft edges, pure white backgrounds with rainbow prisms, matte pliable metallics, soft lavenders and dove grays, with inspirational brand names that signal this brand is for you.
5. Use you words on pack sparingly.
Remove 50 percent of the words from your marketing deck and transpose the rest with a visual language that she can readily recall to a friend, such as, “Go get the insoles in the purple package with the flower and the adorable shoes on it.” (Dr. School’s Comfort Insoles). Women love to talk, so let her do the talking, not your package.
Want women to connect with your brand? A woman’s sense of self is defined by feelings and the quality of her relationships. Conduct research and learn about her core beliefs and values, her motivations and purchasing drivers. Then create your brand’s visual vocabulary. It’s not enough just to write, “For Her” on your package. You might start with the following steps.
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