4 minute read

The importance of telling a story through packaging



We talk a lot about the importance of storytelling at Hurricane. Most things that we experience, see, touch in life tells a story – even life itself is a story, right? Through story telling you can engage an audience, transport them somewhere else, allow them to explore, tap into the unconscious mind. This is the case whether you are reading a story (through words alone) or telling a story through pictures, shapes, texture or even colour – after all ‘a picture is worth a thousand words!’

This is where packaging comes in, if you are able to tell your brand story on your packaging, isn’t this a perfect marketing strategy, after all the brand/product exists with a target consumer in mind and by telling your story (brand and product) on your packaging you are more likely to attract your audience.

Obviously, packaging needs to serve the function of carrier and protection of the product, but it is also your shop window. Consumers need to notice, understand, and engage with your product and brand in order for them to want to walk in (or pick you up and take you home in this case). A little like a first date – first impressions are everything.

Storytelling through packaging doesn’t just need to be the graphics, think about the physical packaging, shape, materials, finish etc. All these touch points are a line of communication to the consumer. Let’s talk about materials for a minute, let’s say we have a highly sustainable brand/product, who communicates its green credentials at every turn but wait, its packaged in an abundance of single use plastic, it has several unnecessary components. Is this brand living and breathing its values? No! And that’s why all touch points should be considered to tell the story (and the same story at that).

And whilst at Hurricane we love packaging, it’s not just about the pack either, think about other marketing, advertising channels – can all aspects of the brand/product work together to get synergy and awareness? So, when faced with the product, it’s recognisable and understood.

Oatly is a perfect example of storytelling on pack. Every inch of their pack has been considered; the tone of voice talks directly to the consumer. Having a conversation with the consumer engaging one on one; and let’s face it, once you have a consumer reading the pack it’s unlikely to go back onto the shelf.

Where do you start when thinking about story telling through packaging? At the beginning, I suppose. Think about your brand and its values. Why do you exist? What were you looking to achieve when you launched the product (or what are you looking to achieve when you launch?). Why will consumers/buyers choose you? What makes you different? What makes you stand out in the crowd? What sort of business are you? Family run? Eco conscious?

A simple mind map, positioning board, even just a list of your qualities, values and beliefs that you want your brand to be associated with, even what you don’t want to be associated with can be useful. This can then be fed into the structural design and graphics for your pack.

Why use storytelling on packaging? Your packaging is the vehicle that connects your brand/product and consumer. It’s an opportunity for you to engage, even talk to your consumer without saying a single word. It’s the start of a relationship. We all want and need loyal consumers and your packaging is the start of building this foundation – before the test of the product itself. Give the consumers a reason to believe, deliver the perfect marriage between brand, pack and product. It’s this sweet spot that will get customers talking about you – don’t get me started on the power of social media. I’ll leave this for another time.