I can’t afford to spend money on Branding!
Years ago we had a passionate conversation with Marc Solanas, CEO of Lauson, about the usefulness of Branding.
Marc successfully marketed consumer electronics under the brand names Boman and Lauson, which included, for example various models of DVD players at very low prices or entry price that were sold in EL CORTE INGLÉS or MEDIAMARKT.
Marc argued that the branding and packaging of their products wasn’t a priority: their customers bought an entry price product and therefore didn’t have high expectations as to the packaging design and only expected an acceptable product, in line with its price.
So instead of wasting energy and resources on branding or packaging, Marc decided to work on achieving distribution, with the commercial side being key. He was absolutely right in doing so: if we don’t achieve distribution, we won’t sell anything. It is essential.
If you’re not Paris Hilton, you better pay attention to packaging
However, to argue the importance of branding and packaging, I drew a parallel between brands and people: if a person is very famous, they can afford to put little energy into their packaging; however, if you don’t have a whole lot of notoriety, better to show up wearing the best clothing possible. For example, if Paris Hilton wants to get into the most exclusive party in Los Angeles with a ripped or dirty dress, she will unquestionably be let in, simply because of who she is. But if the two of us “nobodies” want to get in, it’s definitely a good idea to show up wearing our best tuxedo.
Similarly, if, for example, Apple had sloppy packaging (and this never happens: Apple is very clear about the importance of design, branding and packaging) for the sale of a discontinued iWatch on the internet…we could see past the annoyance of not having the originally-designed box because we firmly believe in the product. Although it would most likely bother us all the same: the pleasure of opening an Apple product is truly part of the experience (and they have even studied the optimal amount of time it should take to reach the object).
But if, for example, we want to propose a product with good packaging at an attractive price with the Lauson brand (low reputation), such as a DVD player, it’s better to use packaging and branding that convey trust and quality.
Coincidentally, back then I had bought accessories from the brand BELKIN, without knowing the brand or having ever seen any advertisements, but whose product and packaging seemed well-made and conveyed quality, which reaffirmed my argument.
My arguments didn’t fall on deaf ears and proceeded to carry out a restyle of several Lauson products, looking to convey better quality within a simple and homogenous packaging structure or design grid, moving all the products under the same Lauson brand and with a common identity, in order to maximize the brand’s on-shelf impact and brand recognition (along with a speedy rollout of the range to optimise product efficiency).
Later on, we made a new range of products to attract young techies with a creative line that used the CYAN color, looking to attain maximum shelf impact (using, in addition, one of the colours from the 4-color process printing that allowed us to limit production costs).
With another client (Isidro Milagro Winery), we carried out a restyle of a table wine (inexpensive wine) that had an expensive label (6/8 colors, gold stamping, two labels) and we proposed a design with a lower production cost (only three colors, one being a UVI varnish) but with a design that played with the brand’s name ALTAS CUMBRES, evoking a mountainous terrain in a minimalist, modern and timeless way.
With this last case, I want to really emphasize how a design that conveys higher quality is not necessarily more expensive to produce, but can be better thought out, more ingenious and sometimes even cheaper to produce.
To conclude, I would like to repeat this phrase by Ralph Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover: “If you think that a good design is expensive, you should consider the cost of a bad design.”