Packaging has power – enormous power – over what we buy. The fashions we wear express who we are. Packaging does that for products. We identify with a product because we believe that it does for us what we wish it to do. And as any brand manager will tell you, we buy the ‘brand promise’ and the package carries a lot of that promise.
It’s all about emotions. How does the brand make us feel, is what matters. Our first impressions, whether about products or people, are strong and quick. In many cases, packaging is the main influencer.
We also feel that we must finally start seriously caring about the environmental impact of unnecessary and eco-unfriendly packaging. Designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers are the ones that can influence what happens in the packaging world.
Packaging manufacturers will follow and start making whatever the market wants to buy. Ideally, of course, manufacturers of packaging should also invest more in developing eco-friendly options, but if unfriendly options keep selling well, why would they change? Our daily behaviour proves that branding and packaging are important. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. But there is a bigger picture and it includes the inconvenient truth that much of packaging still ends up in garbage, in landfills or in the oceans.
The challenge is to keep the cool, the impact, the fun and the practical function of packaging, but to do it in a way that doesn’t do any damage.