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Creating the Perfect Marriage Between Primary and Secondary Packaging

For many products, especially in the health and beauty and food industries, both primary and secondary packaging play an integral role in housing, protecting, and marketing the product. Primary packaging is the packaging that immediately contains the product – a tube of ointment, a spray bottle of hairspray, or a packet of cookies – while the secondary packaging encloses and protects the primary packaging. Secondary packaging often comes in the form of boxes, as these are easy to stack and display on retail shelves. Secondary boxes can vary greatly in structural design.

Both primary and secondary packaging are crucial to a product’s success. Not only must they function well independently, but they should also work together to form a single, cohesive unit.

Showcasing Beautiful Primary Packaging

Some products are enclosed in beautiful primary packaging, and secondary packaging may serve as a showcase. Consider a perfume bottle, for example, with a gorgeous design. Although it will no doubt be enclosed in a carton of some type as its secondary packaging, the manufacturer may choose to include clear plastic windowing or a die cut window that allows the primary packaging to show through. To create a sense of anticipation and excitement, entice your customers with an intriguing “sneak peek” window that allows only a small glimpse of the primary packaging inside.

Secondary Packaging as a Marketing Tool

For many products, the primary packaging is not visible until the consumer arrives home and opens the package, so it is the secondary packaging that should catch the consumer’s attention and engage them enough to pick up and then purchase the product. No matter how beautiful your primary packaging is, it won’t help you much in marketing if the secondary packaging is sub-par.

In designs that leave the primary packaging invisible, the aesthetic of the secondary packaging should convey the same overall branding, although the ways in which different companies execute this vary immensely. Secondary packaging is oftentimes your first opportunity to interact with a consumer, so make it attractive, engaging, and on-brand message.

Brand Recognition Through Packaging

In addition to enticing consumers to buy individual products, the aesthetic purpose of packaging is also to create brand recognition. With countless competing products lining retail shelves, loyal customers should be able to simply glance at a shelf and immediately recognize which products are yours. Potential new customers should also be able to recognize your brand as a distinct entity, whether from advertising campaigns or through exposure to the products in retail outlets.

Regardless of whether your primary packaging is visible through your secondary packaging, both levels of packaging should reflect and promote your brand image. While the secondary packaging may be what initially gets the product noticed in a retail environment, the primary packaging is what the consumer interacts with on a daily basis after purchase, and is a powerful opportunity to reinforce brand message. At JohnsByrne, we develop innovative secondary packaging solutions that complement and showcase primary packaging.

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