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Marketing Academy.

less is More? When to choose Minimal Packaging, and when not

The packaging - the packaging - of our products takes on a crucial role in communicating the value and essence of what is hidden inside it . In marketing it is definitely a fundamental element to increase our success.

Recent studies, such as a paper published in the Journal of Marketing in July 2023, have shown how a simple design can significantly influence consumer perception and choices.

This article explores how companies can strategically leverage design in packaging to effectively communicate with their audiences, increasing perceived product value and their competitiveness in the market.

The Psychology of Minimal

Simple (minimal) packaging is not just an aesthetic choice, but a powerful communication tool in marketing and increasing sales. As we anticipated, a study entitled "Symbolically Simple: How Simple Packaging Design Influences Willingness to Pay for Consumable Products, published in the Journal of Marketing, explores this dynamic.

Researchers have theorized that a minimal design on the package can evoke a symbolic association, in which the reduction of the complexity of the graphics signals that the product contains few ingredients, thus increasing the perception of purity of the product. itself and the willingness to pay (WTP, Willingness to Pay) on the part of customers.

The research confirms what many in the marketing field have long understood: packaging design acts as a silent communicator of the brand's values. For example, food products such as organic fruit juices or wholemeal snacks often adopt simple and ecological packaging, which conveys values of naturalness and sustainability. This approach not only attracts health and environmentally conscious consumers, but also increases the perceived value of the goods. Hence the mental anchor of price. In concrete terms, people feel pressured to accept a higher than average price.

Organic packaging
Natural products get the most benefits from simple packaging

Similarly, beauty products such as face creams or shampoos with essential and clean packaging are seen as more authentic and less chemically treated. This perception translates into greater trust and, here too, a greater willingness to spend on the part of consumers.

Minimal packaging, therefore, is not just a design choice, but an important strategic decision that can profoundly influence perception and behavior. Understanding these dynamics is essential for companies that want to effectively position their products on the market.

However, it's more complicated than that...

Rules for brands

Minimal packaging could in some cases be counterproductive.

The choice of packaging design varies significantly depending on the type of product and the target market. As we have seen, if it is true that it makes a lot of sense to adopt clean and minimal packaging when we need to communicate few ingredients, natural products and a general purity of the contents, this rule works in the opposite way in other contexts.

For hedonistic products, such as chocolate, watches, sports cars, a richer and more colorful design attracts consumers, communicating pleasure and indulgence. This reflects the "Conceptual Metaphor Theory", where complex design symbolizes richness and variety.

And it doesn't end here.

Generic brands (private labels, brands accompanied by little marketing, undifferentiated and almost commodity brands) must navigate with greater caution and make an extra effort. Too simple packaging could be perceived as anindicator of low quality.

Here, the principle of "Cost per effort" becomes relevant. This psychological rule implies that a greater investment in design can suggest to the customers' minds a greater commitment to the quality of the product.

In conclusion, the packaging strategy must be carefully calibrated based on the product and its positioning in the market, reflecting the desires and expectations of the target audience.

White label products
Generic products are the most at risk in the minimal strategy

The risks of "do it yourself

As we have seen, a seemingly simple rule that any company could apply is actually more suicidal because it has many details and elements to consider.

For this reason, to successfully navigate the complex world of marketing (often made up of large investments and immense risks), the assistance of an expert marketing agency is essential. Agencies like Deep Marketing provide consultancy based on data, research and long experience, helping companies to develop marketing and packaging strategies that can not only lead to greater attention towards brand, but also increase sales.

This scientific approach based on evidence and expertise allows companies to strategically position themselves in the market, maximizing the impact of their product and increasing its commercial success.


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