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10 tips for creating innovative but cost-efficient packaging

Packaging can make or break a product
By Entrepreneur Staff |

Packaging can make or break a product. It can be your marketing tool as well to help sell a product. And so, we asked Peter Renton, founder of Lightning Labels Inc. for 10 innovative awys to cost efficiently pack your products.

1.Create a reusable package. Renton cites a tea maker in the US that has packaged its product in a regular tall drinking glass with a lid and a clear shrink-wrap label, then put this statement on the label: “Remove the label, keep the glass.” He comments: “No need to worry about recycling here—you get to reuse the packaging.”

2. Add a little extra to your packaging. A pasta sauce maker, says Renton, puts paper and a gold bow over the lid of the jars containing his product. “It looks like the way your grandmother would package it, and you can’t go down the aisle of pasta sauces without noticing it,” he says.

3. Make design the focus of your packaging. While most people think about the product first and the packaging second, a cleaning-products maker turned that idea around by focusing on packaging from the very beginning, creating packaging that, Renton says, “you could display in the kitchen or bathroom like a home accessory.”

4. Create fun packaging. The bright colors and unusual shapes in products for kids can work in adult products as well, but they usually need a more subtle approach, says Renton. For instance, wine lovers may not be ready for penguin-shaped bottles, but pictures of animals on the labels can make the wines stand out from the more conservative wine brands.

5. Let your true colors shine through. Renton’s example is a big candle maker that uses striking colors, often with multilayered candles that shine through the simple clear jars. Their simple label on a white background also emphasizes the colors.

6. Extend your labels with sandwich printing. If you are selling a clear liquid in a clear bottle, Renton says, printing at the back of your labels can give you more packaging space for very little extra cost. You can’t put regulatory information on the back of your labels, but you can give customers more information about the product without detracting from the presentation of your package.

7. Try the metallic look. While most labels are printed on clear or white material, using metallic foil for labels or packaging with a good design can produce a very striking look “and isn’t that much more expensive,” Renton says.

8. Focus your packaging on a specific target. While targeting a very specific audience of young men from age 18 to 35, Unilever, maker of the Axe brand of personal-care products, created a container for its shower gel line that, Renton says, “looks like it could just as easily contain motor oil as shower gel. Its rugged appearance appeals directly to the demographic.”

9. Merge two packaging concepts. One big US beer-maker produced a concept that was “so simple it is amazing no one had done it before,” says Renton. The concept? The aluminum bottle, combining the shape of a glass beer bottle and the convenience of a beer can. “It was different, it looked classy and eye-catching, and it was 100 percent recyclable,” he says.

10. Look to nature for inspiration. Nature has some amazing examples of elegant, efficient, and beautiful packaging—the banana, the pea pod, the kangaroo pouch, the pine cone. “So next time you go for a walk in the woods,” Renton says, “take a look around you and marvel at the innovative packaging created by nature.”

This article first appeared in the May 2009 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.


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