Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Why is packaging an important “point of choice”?

Drive more response when you build your brand story at the point of choice

A point of choice is the situation where a prospect or buyer will take action

… action to move to the next step in the buying process. Research, request information, make a purchase, choose a product on the shelf, respond in some way. Unlike advertising or public relations that’s designed to build awareness, the point of choice is focused on immediate response — taking action towards a purchase. That’s why good packaging is important, in fact essential, to sales success.

packaging is important in the grocery store - it helps customers choose

Think of it this way. Have you ever gone to the grocery store with five things on your list, but walked out with a full cart?

You made purchase decisions at the point of choice, in this case probably responding to an enticing packaging design or featured items or displays. That’s why display space at the checkout (impulse buys!) is considered premium point-of-sale. And why end-aisle displays are sought after by food, snack and beverage manufacturers.

You didn’t add those extra items to your cart because you were responding to an ad. You added them because something compelled you to take action while you were in the store. You were hungry. Or looking for something interesting for dinner or dessert. Or you just liked the way a product looked … in the moment … at the point of choice … where it’s easy to grab and go. Packaging is an important driver in that decision.

Packaging IS the brand … and your advertising to those who are ready to buy

If you’re marketing products sold on the shelf in a retail environment, your packaging is important, it’s an essential point of choice. Ask yourself:

  • Does the package design stand out on the shelf to grab attention? Does it differentiate from those around it or does it blend in as one of the crowd?
  • If someone picks up the product, will the package design and message engage them? Is there a story being told on the label or with the design?
  • Is the design visually appealing? Does it fit the product’s profile and positioning?

We choose with our eyes and our emotions. If it looks good, we expect it to taste good. If there’s a witty and engaging story that says the product is local, the company is owned by farmers, or there’s something special about the recipe, that gives us more reasons to try it. Food packaging design needs glamour, flavorful messages and a story to make it authentic and desirable. It needs a package that summarizes what is important to the buyer.

As consumers, we want to know about our food products — where they come from, who’s behind them, how they’re made. We want our food to be enticing, flavorful, unique, interesting, and of course, really yummy. Create an “ad” on the shelf with food packaging design, an ad that reaches out and grabs someone wandering down the aisle looking for something wonderful to try! And when they pick up the product, engage them with a story and message that captures their imagination and gives them more reasons to buy.

Try this pie … buy this cookie … incredible!

Creative Company has designed cookie packaging, pie packaging, cans and frozen food packaging for a number of food manufacturers based in Oregon. Each offers a unique product with a rich story behind it. Our job was to help that product stand out from the “big boys” in a way that increased sales. From new product introduction to reinventing an existing package design, we’ve delivered the results.

Willamette Valley Fruit Co. pie packaging for frozen piesWillamette Valley Fruit Co. makes amazing pies. They’re made by hand with superb fruit and no fillers, then frozen raw. So you’re not reheating, you’re cooking it fresh when you bake it. Even the crust is fabulous! Once you’ve tried one of these pies, you’ll buy it again and again. But their old pie package didn’t tell the story or show off the pies. We knew packaging would be important to drive bigger sales.

We designed the logo, and redesigned the box to feel homemade yet upscale, kept the natural Kraft box, and told the story to “romance the berries.” We distinguished the cream pies that are just defrosted (Oven Free) from the Ready to Bake pies, added a “conversation” on the front and told more story on the sides and back. Combined with an upscale, yet farm stand look, these boxes look completely different from other frozen pie brands. And we’re happy to say, the company continues to expand their presence in local and regional stores and farm stands.

Look for this package … and buy a pie. You’ll love it!

McTavish Shortbread Cookie packaging - 3 flavorsMcTavish Shortbread makes incredible shortbread cookies with all real ingredients, in twelve outstanding flavors. Their old cookie package didn’t show off the cookies or tell the flavor story. We reinvented their cookie packaging to be a simple label on a bag or tub (lower cost) and to show the cookies and emphasize their real butter, real cane sugar and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla ingredients.

The pictures tell at a glance what flavor the cookie is. And a brief description entices the hungry consumer with hints about the luscious taste.

These cookies are frequently an impulse buy, so the cookie package has to communicate at a glance — this is a really really good cookie. And the package structure and design has to fit for a coffee shop, a grocery store or the bakery section.

Packaging for a tub of cookiesWith the addition of tubs of mini cookies to their line, special holiday packaging and the new labeling that shows off the flavors, McTavish has seen a significant boost in sales.

They’ve heard lots of customers commenting, “I didn’t know you had so many flavors!” Thats’ what a good cookie package can do, and why packaging is important to the brand and sales.

The redesigned cookie packaging was paid for in just a few months by the savings in package production, printing and labor. All in all, a big success!

The best seller right now? Lemon Lavender. Give it a try, you’ll love it.

You can download the .pdf of our McTavish Shortbread case study here. Or the case study for Willamette Valley Fruit Co. here. And you can see more of our food product packaging designs on the Creative Company website.

Flavorful messages can also grab more buyers and create raving fans. More insight on another blog post, read it here.

Leverage your brand and package when you optimize

Great package design, with flavorful messages and stories that resonate, is at the center of marketing for food products. It sets the stage and validates the company who produces it. Yet there is more to building an optimized brand than packaging.

Download our free e-book to learn how you can optimize your food brand. We’ll show you best practices from focusing on your audiences; to matching your visual and verbal brand to your sales process; to giving attention and support to your online brand–so important these days.
Download the e-book - 10 Steps to Optimize Your Brand

Interested in talking further about packaging that inspires purchase at the point of choice? Or messaging that resonates with your customers? Or how to build a food brand that generates fans and sales through an optimized brand? Drop me an email, or call toll-free 866.363.4433.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

Another blog post by Jennifer Larsen Morrow.

View Jennifer Larsen Morrow's profile on LinkedIn

Visit Author’s Website


  1. You have motivated me to redesign my labels and I am so excited. I too make shortbread cookies that are incredible. I look forward to this process!

  2. This is so true! The packaging of a product does affect the buying decision. Specially, goodies that are packaged in clear bags or boxes are so tempting when you are felling hungry while shopping.
    Great article!

    • Thanks for the feedback! Yes, great packaging should show off yummy looking food products. Check out those shortbread cookies!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

buy email liststemplate wordpress