Sudbury Communications: Socially Conscious Packaging

How socially conscious packaging influences brand image

Christina Pomoni

Packaging is a key attribute of a firm's marketing strategy and has the ability to influence all other elements of the marketing mix, namely product, place, price and promotion. The original function of packaging was to provide a protection to the product. However, as consumers have become more sophisticated and demanding, packaging has been transformed into a business tool that is used from organizations to attract attention, describe the product and achieve higher sales. Today, numerous brands are identifiable though their packaging and product packaging plays a key role in product promotion.

Packaging is closely related to consumer perceptions about particular brands. A typical example is the declining sales of Tropicana orange juice when the company decided to develop new packaging in 2009. The company's misguided redesign confused consumers, who perceived the Tropicana brand more like a generic product. Although Tropicana launched an exceptionally integrated marketing and advertising campaign to emphasize on the brand and product attributes, sales plummeted 20 percent because consumers had trouble finding the orange juice on the shelf. At the same time, Tropicana's direct competitors doubled their sales, forcing Tropicana to revert to original packaging.

When packaging is related to corporate social responsibility, consumers are more sensitive and even more demanding. They require that eco-friendly products are contained in eco-friendly packaging. And it is a fact that if companies do not listen to their consumers, consumers do not buy their brands. This happens because brand image, in effect, reflects the relationship of consumers with the organization that is differentiated from competitors with a perceived promise and an emotional and physical satisfaction that follows the use of the product. Brand image can motivate loyalty, build trust and enhance brand recognition to consumers. Therefore, if packaging is enough to entice consumers into purchasing the product, then, brand image for socially responsible consumers is particularly important. Corporate social responsibility improves the brand image of an organization, which can expand the base of loyal customers.

There are organizations that develop their own private brands that have extremely similar packaging attributes such as packaging shape, size, color, lettering or even the logo to already established brands. Such practices are not socially responsible and can lead to consumers' misapprehensions about a brand's attributes.

There are organizations that reduce the amount of product without reducing the size of packaging aiming to mislead consumers regarding the product size. Consumers are generally unable to evaluate how much product is contained in a package only by looking at it. Besides, consumers generally assume that larger packages contain greater amounts of product. However, organizations are aware that consumers associate larger packages with greater amounts of product, but also cheaper unit costs. These organizations capitalize on the cognitive purchase behaviors of consumers to gain an unfair competitive advantage over well-established companies that are really socially responsible.

There are organizations that develop misleading brand labels conveying incorrect information to consumers about the product. However, consumers who discover that they are exposed to a misleading brand label develop a negative brand image because as they become more aware of social and environmental impact of their consumption, they require more ethical product alternatives.

Because of this shifting paradigm of consumer preferences towards socially responsible practices, organizations expose a greater desire to implement socially responsible strategies and cater for socially responsible consumers. There is no doubt that consumers expect organizations to act responsibly. In their purchasing decisions, consumers are willing to include ethical considerations and value organizations that are environmentally friendly in their marketing strategies and responsive to their environmental concerns.

Conclusively, the use of environmentally friendly packaging and the implementation of environmentally conscious product packaging strategies is a great way to create a positive brand image in the minds of consumers. Part of being a socially responsible organization is not deceiving consumers in both legal and ethical contexts. Organizations, which are not socially responsible, pay the price of having their brand image and brand loyalty negatively affected. Socially conscious practices that organizations engage in should also include environmentally conscious packaging.

About the Author:

Christina Pomoni has acquired her MBA Finance from the American College of Greece. Her advanced familiarity with financial statement analysis, capital budgeting and market research has been acquired through her professional career at high-esteemed organizations. As part of her long journey, Christina has served as an Equity Research Associate at Telesis Securities (EFG Eurobank) and a Financial & Investment Advisor at ING Group. Besides, having lived at Chicago, IL, Boca Raton, FL and Paris, France has helped her, not only to be a successful professional, but mostly to see life under a more creative and innovative perspective.
Since 2005, Christina provides high quality writing services to numerous websites and research companies contributing her knowledge and expertise. Her areas of specialization are Business, Finance & Investment, Society, Politics & Culture. She also has a very good knowledge of Entertainment, and Health & Fitness.
Christina currently designs the website of her own writing company. Believing that knowledge is the road to opportunity and development, her mission is to promote her already established knowledge to a growing number of visitors and to provide high quality writing services to meet the most demanding customer requirements.

Article Source: - How socially conscious packaging influences brand image

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