Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Why is packaging an important “point of choice”?

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

A point of choice is the place where a buyer will take action. In the store, packaging is an important point of choice.

What action moves a buyer to the next step in the buying process? That action could be further research, visit a website, request information, refer or recommend, enroll or join, choose a product off the shelf, buy. For consumer packaged goods, packaging is a vital point of choice.

Unlike awareness-building through advertising or public relations, the point of choice is about immediate response — taking action. That’s why good packaging design is important, 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 decided to buy at the point of choice. You responded to an enticing package design or featured items or a special display. Perhaps a special offer. That’s why display space at the checkout (impulse buys!) is premium point-of-sale real estate. 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 those items because something compelled you to take action 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 essential driver in that decision, package design at the point of choice can drive purchase.

Packaging IS the brand … and an on-the-shelf ad to those who are ready to buy.

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

  • Does your package design grab attention? Does it stand out from those around it or does it blend in?
  • If someone picks up your product, will the package design and message engage them? Is there a story on the label or with the design? For food products especially, people want story, origin, descriptions.
  • Is the design enticing? Does it fit your product’s positioning and appeal to the right people?

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 talks about the local product, how the company is owned by farmers, or something special about the recipe — those are more reasons to try it.

Food packaging design demands glamour, flavorful messages and an authentic story that makes it desirable. Your food product must have a package that distills in words and pictures what’s 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 grown and made. We want enticing, flavorful, unique, interesting, and of course, really yummy food.

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.

Help them take action at the point of choice with packaging that gives them reasons to buy.

Try this pie … buy this cookie … incredible! The package calls to you at the point of choice.

Creative Company has designed cookie packaging, pie packaging, cans and frozen food packaging for food manufacturers based in Oregon. Each offers a unique product with a rich story behind it. Our job was to help each product stand out from the “big boys” and increase sales.

From new product introduction to reinventing an existing package design, we’ve delivered the results by understanding the point of choice.

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 don’t reheat, you cook 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 was essential to drive bigger sales.

We designed the logo, and redesigned the box to feel homemade yet upscale. We kept the natural Kraft box and told their story to “romance the berries.” The cream pies that are just defrosted (Oven Free) were treated with a red border to distinguish them from the Ready to Bake pies.

A “conversation” on the front and more story on the sides and back drew in consumers and increased perceived value. Combined with an upscale yet farmstand look, these boxes look completely different from other frozen pie brands covered in full color photography. And we’re happy to say, the company continues to expand their presence … and sales volume … in local and regional stores.

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

McTavish Shortbread Cookie packaging - 3 flavorsMcTavish Shortbread makes incredible shortbread cookies.

Every one is made 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 as a simple label on a bag or tub, which significantly reduced packaging costs. But our goal was to show off the cookies and emphasize their real butter, real cane sugar and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla ingredients.

The pictures tell you a glance what the flavor is. And a brief description entices a hungry buyer with hints about the luscious, lip-smacking taste.

These cookies are usually bought on impulse, so the cookie package has to communicate — this is a really really good cookie — at a glance. The package structure and design had to fit a coffee shop, grocery store or the bakery section, too.

Packaging for a tub of cookiesBy adding tubs of mini cookies, special holiday packaging and new labeling to show off the flavors, McTavish saw a significant boost in sales. Their cookies can now be found in leading stores around the country, usually in the bakery section.

“Our sales have increased substantially now that our packaging more closely matches the taste of our delicious cookies.”  –Denise Pratt, CEO, McTavish Cookies

McTavish has heard lots of customers commenting, “I didn’t know you had so many flavors!”

That’s what a good cookie package can do, and why packaging is vital to the build the brand and increase sales … at the point of choice.

The design of the cookie packaging was paid for in just a few months from 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 ideas to ponder on another blog post, read it here.

Where’s your point of choice? It may not be packaging.

Each company has points of choice specific to their business and their target audiences. When you find that point where audiences can take action, focus your marketing budget there. You’ll build your brand and drive action … and your marketing will achieve a higher ROI.

Learn more about the point of choice on our website.

Download our worksheet to find your points of choice 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. Your package design establishes flavor and quality ideas and validates the company behind 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.

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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.

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  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!


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