Distinctive Packaging Helps Capture Your Consumers’ Attention

We’ll risk stating the obvious: Wine and spirits purchases are purely discretionary.

A bottle of cabernet or gin is not a household necessity like bread or milk, but something that a consumer with disposable income might choose to purchase. Need doesn’t drive the buying decision.

And because consumers can’t sample a bottle of booze or wine on the spot like they’d feel the texture of a fabric or fit of a sweater, packaging plays a unique role in selling the product. A beautiful, distinctive packaging can immediately persuade a consumer to buy — or not.

Packaging prompts a shopper to try something new just as it attracts them to return to a product they know and love. (To be sure, packaging can have the opposite effect: Uninspired design and poor production can dissuade the shopper from even considering a brand.)

In the wine and spirits category, there’s another key audience brands have to convince with their alcohol bottle decoration: distributors and retailers. Depending on sales territory this can be a complex network with arcane regulations. High end, small-batch, or emerging brands have to work even harder to get a foot in the door. Distributors and retailers seek brands that have strong consumer appeal and high margins. Packaging and price are key aspects of that.

Packaging can make or break distribution deals: One of our brewery clients was rejected by a distributor who thought the package was not up to par. We worked with them to redesign the packaging so the product would be marketable.

Another customer, a startup RTD brand, strategically started with the packaging design before they created the product and pitched it to distributors to be sure there was a market before they began production. The brand launched and found tremendous success, with more than 1 million units sold in the first year.

Strategies for Developing Distinctive Wine & Spirits Packaging

The glass bottle has been the dominant vessel for transporting and selling wines and distilled spirits for thousands of years. And today, there are more products and brands in these categories than ever.

To make the sale, a wine or spirits package has to be more than a logo pasted on a glass bottle. Much more. So how can brands stand out in a sea of competitors? Here are our strategies:

1) Catch the consumer’s attention. Evaluate your packaging “in the wild” — on a crowded store shelf, with just one facing, among similar styles or varietals. Does it recede into the background or does it practically jump off the shelf? Bold colors, light-reflecting finishes, detailed illustrations, a distinctive bottle shape, dynamic typography — brands have almost countless ways to set their products apart and capture the eye in the retail environment.

2) Entice them to pick up the product. Unexpected labeling materials like fabric or metal, a clearly textured paper, embossing and debossing, or an unusual bottle shape can trigger an instinctual desire for the consumer to hold the product. And once they’ve lifted the bottle off the display, they take in information with an extra sense: touch. Research has shown that consumers use their hands to connect with brands. Simply picking up a product increases the likelihood that a consumer will purchase it, and increases the price they are willing to pay.

3) Engage consumers on an emotional level. Now that they’re holding the bottle, how are they experiencing the brand? Product packaging presents an opportunity to tell a story — about origin, history, values, and more. Communicating that story visually, through graphic elements and colors, leverages the brain’s capacity to take in and process visual information more quickly than written text.

Humans are naturally wired for storytelling; it’s our innate mode of communication. We process visuals 60,000 times faster than words, and we remember stories longer than we remember raw data. While a gin label might use copy to describe the flavor profile and style, graphic elements are far more powerful to capture the passion, history, geography, and craftsmanship behind the brand. Visual storytelling increases the chance of emotional engagement with the consumer, which in turn leads either to immediate purchase or future recall of the brand.

4) Give them something to talk about. Once the buyer takes the product home, consider how it looks on their bar cart. Younger buyers especially like to curate their living spaces with great-looking objects that reflect their style and aspirations. So give them an alcohol bottle decoration they’ll desire to display at home and on their social channels. Too, think about how the package stands out in a hospitality setting: Will it glow under the lights of a bar or nightclub; will bartenders talk it up to patrons?

Steve Jobs famously said that he built products that he himself would love to use and have around. Wine and spirits brands would be wise to use that same approach to distinctive product packaging.

Unlike other consumer product categories, there’s so much room for experimentation and differentiation in this market. We follow the trends, know what’s been done, understand the market, and have the vision to create something unique and beautiful for your brand. Our packaging design services are ready to help you stand out in all the right ways.

Book a discovery call today!

Let’s create something beautiful.

A complete Guide to spirits packaging design

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