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Packaging the silent sales person

Packaging the silent sales person
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Product, price, place and promotion are the keywords of marketing. All marketing professionals swear by these four Ps. Who can market a product...

Product, price, place and promotion are the keywords of marketing. All marketing professionals swear by these four Ps. Who can market a product without these four buzzwords? Packaging is the least glamorous but the most vital part of marketing. Packaging is called the fifth P or the ‘silent salesman.’ At the critical juncture of the actual product purchase all the four Ps become silent. It is the packaging that does all the talking with colours, visual imagery and attractive designs.

And presto the purchase decision is made. The product slips into the shopping basket of the customer. Packaging is the process of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages. Goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale and end use are prepared.

Packaging contains the products, protects it, preserves it, transports it, informs consumers about it, and helps in its sales. Packing and packaging: Packing is protection of the goods from damage, leakage, pilferage, etc. while packaging is more about the design, the appearance, colours as perceived by the consumers. Packaging plays a crucial role in attracting customers and in their decision to purchase a product.

Packaging can be classified by function as primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary packaging is the material that first contains the product and holds it. This is the smallest unit of distribution and is the package which is in direct contact with the contents. This is the package that the consumer sees and uses like the tooth paste tube. Secondary packaging is outside the primary packaging, used to group primary packages together. It is used to package the primary package like the cardboard package of the toothpaste tube.

Tertiary packaging is used for bulk handling, warehousing, storage and transport. The most common form is a cardboard box or a wooden box that is packed tightly into containers. Check out the following innovations in packaging:

Tetrapacks: Tetra-packing has been a great innovation. Before the arrival of tetra packs, it was difficult to store a perishable product like milk without refrigeration. Once tetra pack came in milk could be preserved and its shelf life went up dramatically from few hours to six months.

Packaging for the blind – These are user friendly packages for the blind using Braille. This is thoughtful as the blind have equal rights as others and this type of packaging is socially conscious and increases the sale.

Slick packaging: Some products even though useful and convenient are quite cumbersome to use. Take the example of liquid soap which is quite messy to use. If the liquid soap is in a bottle, the liquid would splash and much of it would be wasted. The innovative dispenser system was instrumental in making the concept of liquid soap popular as one can take only as much as he needs.

Baby chicks are very delicate. But they need to be transported over long distances. The utilitarian packaging ensures that they can survive the long distance travel. There is provision for food and water in the packaging and the packing is rugged to take the abuse of the road and rail journey.

Packaging that glows in the dark: Apart from attracting the children who are fascinated about glowing products the glowing packaging makes the product visible in darkness and easy to use. The glow in darkness packaging can be useful for products that have to be used at night like water and tablet dispensers.

Packaging for children: Innovative packaging with a splash of colours and cartoons attracts kids. Good idea for dispensing products like candies, wafers and cookies.

Packaging of medicine: A very interesting product. It is difficult for a mother to ensure the exact potion that has to be administered for her child. This innovative add along given with the medicine to measure the quantity of the medicine that has to be administered is very useful. The mother tips the bottle and the medicine would come into the dispenser and it can directly be administered to the child.

Self-medication packaging: Let’s say that a particular medicine has to be taken for eight days. The transparent packaging makes it easy for the user to control his/her potion. The potion of medicine consumed will be an indicator of the number of days that are exhausted and the visible part shows the number of days left.

Child-resistant packaging: A special packaging used to reduce the risk of children swallowing dangerous medicine. This is often accomplished by the use of a special safety cap. It is required by regulation for prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, pesticides, and household chemicals. A bottle of medicine with a child resistant cap would bear the instruction "push down and turn to open".

TV dinner: A TV dinner (also called a frozen dinner, freezer meal, microwave meal, or ready meal) is a pre-packaged frozen or chilled meal which usually comes in an individual package. It requires very little preparation and contains all the elements for a single-serving meal. The TV dinner comes in an aluminum tray and has to be heated in an oven.

Packaging design as a blow soccer board game: For the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Zwanenberg Food Group, Netherland created an original packaging design for their ‘soccer snacks’ to support the Dutch soccer team in Brazil. The result was a carton stadium which could be used as a soccer board game! But to play the game you will first have to finish the snacks. Then the goals have to be cut out. When this is done, the stadium is ready to use. Two straws, a little ball is all you need to play the game.

Point detergent powder: An Indian company that sadly no longer exists. Point was popular in the 70s. Point detergent powder package carried board games and puzzles that kids loved to cut and keep.

Cadbury’s gems cricket game: Cadbury came out with an idea of supplying the customer with a pop up bottle full of gems. The bottle can be used to play a game of indoor cricket. For cricket mad Indians who can play cricket even with a printed book, the ploy was a huge success.

Thus care and innovation can make the products sell by themselves and be more useful for the customers.

By:Dr M Anil Ramesh

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