by Kary Radestock, Hippo Premium Packaging
I received a beautiful gift from Tiffany’s this holiday season. It was beautifully packaged in the signature Tiffany blue box, and placed in a Tiffany blue bag, along with wrapping paper embossed with the Tiffany logo. The packaging alone made me fall in love with the gift.
Everything about the Tiffany experience shouts quality. Yes, their items can be expensive, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and when you shop at Tiffany’s, you can be assured that everything they sell will be of the highest quality.
Contrast this to shopping at Target. While I love Target, I wouldn’t want to purchase my jewelry there. Even if I received an identical item as the one from Tiffany’s, it just wouldn’t have the same appeal coming in the bright red-dot Target bag.
In other words, packaging matters. Branding matters. Presentation matters.
I know of a jewelry chain with stores across the United States. They are known for low-priced jewelry and they do very good business, with revenues of about $120 million per year. However, one of their biggest challenges is in convincing people that they also sell upscale items, such as flawless diamonds and rare gems.
One of the specific problems they had was in their packaging. Their low-cost boxes just did not have any panache or appeal. It’s hard to give an expensive gift in a cheap box. So, they eventually got some nicer boxes for their more expensive items.
But this did not fix the problem.
There were actually two challenges that this jewelry store faced. One was that their packaging was cheap. The other is that their brand was also cheap.
After years of becoming known as the low-price leader, it is a hard sell to try to become known for high quality as well.
Brands stick. So, you have to be careful with the path you choose.
Many companies have tried to attract new customers by changing the nature of their brand, but have failed. Oldsmobile is a textbook example.
Just a bit of history: Oldsmobile was legendary in the automotive industry. Founded in 1897, it was one of the five core brands manufactured by General Motors (GM) – the others being Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Cadillac – and helped lead the company to become the largest automotive manufacturer in the world.
For decades, Oldsmobile was a pioneering brand. However, in an effort to increase profits, GM decided that instead of preserving the unique identity of each of its brands, it would improve efficiencies through uniformity. As a result, Oldsmobile used the same parts and platforms as other GM cars, and soon they all began to look and perform alike, with only small cosmetic differences.
This resulted in a (predictable) slide in sales. Then in an effort to attract new customers, Oldsmobile fired its ad agency, and hired a new one that famously came up with the slogan: “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
The campaign failed because the brand did indeed appeal only to the older generation. Oldsmobile failed at attracting new buyers, and eventually the entire division shuttered.
Instead of changing their product, GM thought they could fool the public by changing its branding and marketing. No one was fooled.
In the cannabis industry, there will be room for low-priced brands that capture market share for those looking for a deal, and connoisseur brands that cater to a more discriminating or affluent customer.
But be careful which path you choose, because it can be difficult to change the public’s perception of your company once you have already built your brand.
My advice is simple: Build your brand in an authentic manner – meaning that your products and company support the promises made. If your products are meant to convey quality, then your packaging must be high quality as well.
You’ll have a hard time selling beautiful jewelry in a cheap box.
Remember that as you are thinking about rebranding, packaging, or launching a new product.
Kary Radestock, CEO, launched Hippo Premium Packaging in March 2016 offering an array of services to the cannabis market, including: Marketing Strategy, Brand Development, Social Media, Public Relations, Graphic and Web Design, and of course, Printing and Packaging. Radestock brings over 20 years of award-winning print and packaging expertise, and leads a team of the nation’s top brand builders, marketers and print production experts. Hippo works with businesses looking for a brand refresh or an entire brand development, and specializes in helping canna-business get their products to market in the most beautiful and affordable way possible. Radestock’s Creative Collective of talent and experts, allows her to offer world-class solutions to support the unique needs of the Cannabis Industry.