As we have covered video in a prior blog, “A picture could be worth a thousand words – a video could be worth a million”, it is worth going “old school” to experience the value of an eye catching logo, or product label, which has relevance to the targeted buying audience.
When considering the initial impressions a product has on a consumer you should remember the old adage – you have less than 3 seconds to get someone’s initial attention when their eyes are roaming – sometimes much less. Consider the successful billboard tag line – “Does Billboard Advertising Work?” – “It Just Did!” If your eye was not captivated by the colorful images and text, appropriate use of white space, and location of the billboard, you would have never taken the time to read the tag line.
When you are selling a product in retail, on the web, or even on television, the product packaging in many cases is your billboard. Eye Candy, if my eyes are not interested my brain will never get a chance to be. If a product’s image doesn’t catch my eye, I most likely will not bother to digest the information available or bother to pay attention to the product.
Here is where many entrepreneurs and inventors fail. You could have the best mouse trap in the world in a brown box and no one would care to take notice. Product packaging shapes (old style coke bottles, laundry soaps, etc.), colors (household insulation, cancer foundations, etc.), and logos (IBM, Coke, etc.) are vigorously defended intellectual property. Marketing is where the right and left brains need to talk, if not meet, to be successful.
While I do not have a bone in my body that has any creative ability to produce graphics, pictures or videos, I know what I like when I see it. I also know that I have some ability to describe what I am looking for to a creative person at the 100,000 foot level. This is why I have managed and hired scores of people with those skills.
Even after building successful in-house creative teams, I have supplemented their resources with outside firms to get a fresh prospective. While it is a delicate situation having to manage internal and external creative egos, the results can be well worth the pain and expense. In house teams, especially those in companies having founders or owners with technical backgrounds or strong egos, become inhibited by their organization, I know, I can be intimidating.
When the budget allowed, I have even contracted 3 outside groups in a mini competition to develop new logos and web site concepts. To be fair, I always disclosed this in advance to the firms, I structured the deliverables in 3 milestones with the competition being the first phase and we also PAID each of the firms through the first phase.
And in many cases, we’re so close to the forest we cannot see the trees. We get too close to the product. We can no longer dissociate ourselves and put ourselves in a consumer’s shoes and look at the product and packaging and make unbiased decisions.
Again we will turn to the Vamoose product as an example. The initial product packaging was designed for low cost, and contract to logic, to discourage use. Yes, I said discourage use. As the initial few clients were hotels and this is a premium product, the clients wanted the packaging to be bland so their staff members would not select the product except and use it as a general cleaning solution. While this may have satisfied a few initial test users, and we have no empirical data to suggest that it would have help subsequent sales, it was a deterrent to sales prospects.
When we initially consulted with Vamoose Products, aka Hill Country Distribution, we were blunt. The packaging had to go; the web site needed a serious overhaul, and the logo needed to jump from the 1950’s to somewhere closer to today (click here for old and new logos and packaging examples – click on the individual images to see expanded and higher resolution examples).
To help expedite the process we contacted envision creative group. Having worked with envision on other projects we were confident that they would be creative, blunt, and easy to work with. I like to work with people that are blunt – or as others may say “honest”. I would rather have real data and honest opinions to make decisions than to have my own thoughts regurgitated and fed back to me three different ways.
Envision immediately did their own informal market survey of various retailers shelves to investigate brand extensions across product families, watched consumers to see their reaction to packaging formats and colors, and informally surveyed random shoppers. From these efforts we met and discussed branding issues, target markets, pricing models, a new web site, and deliverables.
We decided we needed a logo that could be used with many different package background colors which would indicate a product family or in this case scents of the product. Envision also suggested a logo that implied movement, after all the product name was Vamoose? and the product removed odors.
Envision presented us with three conceptual logos. Once we selected the logo they immediately started on the product packaging. After a few iterations we were satisfied and the initial product label was designed and produced.
I can tell you from experience, when I present the newly packaged product to buyers – I get my thousand words.
“Jump starting PR efforts, the effect on Search Engine Marketing and Optimization from PR efforts, and getting attention from the media.”
“Using contract call centers for lead generation, sales, customer service and support, and disaster planning.”
“Small product and packaging changes can open new market opportunities with little additional cost.”