TORIONO GRANGER is MANAGING DIRECTOR for RADIUS CHICAGO. With over 20 years of experience in product development, manufacturing, consulting, and management, Toriono is responsible for the overall management of the Chicago studio.

Successful innovation isn’t easy, in fact, it can be downright challenging. When it comes to consumer packaging, we know that the failure rate for packaging innovation is in the 75-80% range. Yikes, one look at these numbers is enough to make anyone risk-averse.

However, it’s important to remember the value innovative packaging brings to your brand and company. When done right, innovative packaging can extend the product lifecycle of existing brands, increases the success rate for new products, and elevates your brand to a new level with consumers.

But as you know, this doesn’t happen with a simple logo change or adding some flashy new colors to your packaging. It takes knowing your consumers, knowing your market, knowing your brand, and knowing the best ways to use your packaging.


Ultimately, you need the confidence that your packaging is communicating the right message about your brand at the right time to the right people. You can’t control who sees your packaging or how they see it – but you can control the first impression your packaging delivers. We want you to remember that for many of your consumers, your packaging is often the only exposure they’ve had to your brand, company, and product.

Think of the package as the one piece of marketing that you know your consumers will see. There are no guarantees that your consumers see your social media marketing, visit your website, or are seeing your other marketing campaigns. Regardless of how your consumers see your product – online or brick-and-mortar – the package is the one constant. So you need to make sure it is doing what you need it to do.

More Than a Colorful Cardboard Box: Looking at Packaging Roles

You need to think of your packaging as a marketing tool. In fact, smart companies design packaging that supports the marketing messaging and harmonizes well with marketing campaigns. By using an ideal blend of graphics and text, the package needs to tell the consumer what the product is, what it does, and how it makes their life better. This is a big ask when you consider that on average, consumers spend five seconds looking at your packaging. Your goal is to design packaging that gets consumers to stop, pick-up the package, read the package, and to start thinking about how your product and brand fits with their lifestyle.

Good innovative packaging has the capability to take on key marketing and brand-building roles for your product, brand, and company:

  • Consumer outreach. Your packaging needs to connect with consumers and establish a relationship. Your existing consumers look for your colors, messaging, and package shape – this is what stands out on the shelf. Change your package too much without knowing what connects your consumers to your packaging, and you risk losing established consumers. Also, the right package design can help you find a new demographic, for example with using colors that stand out from the rest of the market or that convey a message that connects, such as sustainability and environmental awareness.
  • Brand positioning. Your packaging is the final link in your marketing campaign. For companies who are rebranding or repositioning their product line, the packaging must tie-in to the marketing messaging. For example, if you’re rebranding your line of shampoo to be upscale, you need to think carefully about what upscale means visually to consumers.
  • Sales tool. Ultimately, your packaging is a very powerful sales tool. The packaging must establish a fine-balance of visuals and text that convinces consumers to click or pick-up your product and put it in their cart. You need to know what it is your consumers want from your product and then design packaging that meets these needs. While everyone know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – this is exactly what happens with your packaging – it’s all about first (and lasting) impressions.
  • Emotional connection. We are drawn to packaging that makes us feel and respond. There is comfort for example in finding a favorite brand when traveling or when feeling out-of-sorts. The right packaging can provide comfort, connection, familiarity, and consistency. However, it’s important to acknowledge that depending on your product and brand – this might not be your goal. For example, perhaps your product is a building/educational toy for young children that you market to parents – your packaging needs to explain how your toy works, how it teaches, how it is fun, and how simple it is to use. Whether it’s an emotional connection or and educational tool, ultimately you need to know what your consumers desire from your packaging.
  • Tells your story. Your packaging is your chance to tell consumers who you are and what you’re all about. For example, if your company is invested in sustainability, your packaging must communicate this with its design – you want your consumers to know that your packaging is recyclable, that you care about the planet, and let them quickly see the simplicity in your packaging. Or maybe your brand is all about being cutting-edge, then you want to make sure you’re using the latest in packaging innovations and design (think of Apple packaging here).

It’s more than a cardboard box or plastic sleeve – it’s your brand, your company, your reputation.

The fight for consumer awareness and acceptance is tight and your packaging is the game-changer for your brand and company. Don’t overlook your packaging and assume that your consumers don’t care about packaging or have been exposed to your marketing campaigns.

There is only guarantee when it comes to branding and building product awareness – the packaging ultimately makes the first and last impression – so make it count.


Innovative Packaging Done Right

Consumers make their decisions quickly– so make sure your packaging resonates for the right reasons.

User acceptance testinghuman factorsindustry analysisprototypingtechnology explorationindustrial designconceptual engineering, and supply chain management – all make a difference when it comes to delivering innovative packaging that delivers on your brand values and reputation.

The details matter. There are no second chances. We want you to get it right the first time. Contact us to learn more about our Packaging Innovation Sprint – stand out on the shelves and in the minds of consumers for the right reasons.