Category Archives: Product Packaging

Method’s CEO Points to 5 Strategies for Success

By Kayleigh Fitch

I had the pleasure yesterday of attending a marketing event where Eric Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Method, was the keynote speaker. As Eric explains, it is no small task competing in a category against multiple goliaths when your marketing budget is approximately one third of the 800-pound gorilla’s employee’s toilet paper budget.

However, Eric shared how he and founding partner Adam Lowry, along with their dedicated team of People Against Dirty, found a way to make their brand stand out in the noise. Here are five strategies Eric credits Method’s success to.

1. Get behind a cause. Eric explained Method was built from a single core belief, a mantra the company could get behind that focused on a bigger goal than simply selling product. For Method, its entire product line was born from the belief that people have the right to a clean yet not pollute the home environment.

2. What you see is what you get. It is absolutely essential that every aspect of your product – from the shape of the package, to the colors, to the label and the formulation – is a proud ambassador for your brand. So take the time and money to get it right. You may have developed an incredibly successful product formulation, but no one will even try your product if your packaging does not clearly communicate the benefits.

Eric said yesterday “design is media.” Do not underestimate the value each element of your product plays in building awareness for your brand.

3. Arm your employees. Sometimes the best marketing ideas can come from the most unlikely of places. According to Eric, every Method employee is an expert in design and sustainability so all employees can recognize a marketing opportunity when they see one. For example, operations personnel at Method implemented a program using bio-diesel fuel to ship products that now makes a great sustainability story to share with media and consumers.

And give them opportunities to be heard. It’s a good bet your customer service reps have great insight into the experiences consumers are having with your product, but how will they recognize an opportunity to improve product without the correct industry knowledge and how will they communicate that to the rest of the company?

4. Create content. And not just any old content, but useful, engaging, innovative content. Eric used the example of a recent movie that had an excellent opening Friday and then experienced a massive drop in attendance as a result of negative social media buzz. It was not social media itself that caused the movie to flop, but the utterly horrible content of the movie. Likewise, whether you are using Twitter, Facebook, email marketing or video to market your product it is essential to create content that supports your product.

5. Be creative and take risks. When Eric founded Method, he knew there was no way he would be able to compete with a plethora of competitors with much larger marketing budgets. His strategy was to disrupt the category by positioning cleaning products as a lifestyle item. Method’s goal was to take the focus of cleaning off being a chore
and make it more about choosing a product that was fun, easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. The point is to always question your approach and do not fall into the trap of playing catch up with your competitors. They should be copying you.

Need help building your brand or launching a new product? Email me at kayleigh at sweeneypr.com or 440.333.0001 ext. 106.

What Drives Sales: Product Packaging or the Brand?

We are preparing to launch a new consumer product; it will be sold primarily in big box stores.  How important is packaging design to the product’s success relative to the brand?

By Jim Sweeney

Sheesh, that is a loaded question.  The most important purpose of product packaging (ignoring functionality and sustainability for the moment) is to identify your brand.  This assumes, therefore that you have good brand awareness in the marketplace.  And how do you know whether your brand awareness is solid enough for the new product launch?  Research baby.

Unless you know for a fact that a significant portion of the marketplace (that portion you need to achieve your sales goal) is aware of your brand and has a decided preference for it, then you should put the packaging on the back burner and turn up the heat on branding.

While study after study confirms that consumers are drawn to “good” packaging, it rarely if ever trumps the importance of brand.  In other words, Cool Cola may have a totally innovative package, but Pepsi and Coke will kick its tail from here to oblivion.  Consider the storied launch of the Apple iPhone in January 2007.  The product packaging was a plain black box – beautiful in its simplicity – but it is just a plain black box… and it sold millions based on the mere promise of the brand. 

Remember, even though packaging is your product’s promotional advertising at the point of purchase – distinguishing your product from your competitors through design, shape and color – it is the brand reputation that most affects the decision-making process and influences conversion.

So ask yourself:

• Do we have a good brand?
• Do we have good awareness of our brand?
• Are consumers loyal to our brand; are they loyal enough to prefer our new product?