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The Perfect Consumer Package Goods Package Front Panel


The perfect package front panel has to pass this litmus test:

The target consumer has to be able to instantly understand, in 3 seconds, exactly what your product does, from 10 feet away on the shelf, sitting beside many other products.

Recognition has to be immediate since that target consumer is most likely in a hurry, might have a screaming child in tow and is not looking for or aware of your product. Shoppers are simply too busy, impatient, distracted "by life" and in a hurry to take the time to figure out what they are looking at unless it is crystal clear.

While packaging design awards warm the heart, they may not always translate to a product's success. Unless your front panel completely stops that target consumer in the aisle in those 3 seconds, that shopper will most likely walk on by and never pick up your product.

Less is more when it comes to the front panel.

The fewer the words, the better. Strive for one graphic image, clearly messaging the product’s primary benefits and large enough to be seen and understood from 10 feet away,

Once your front panel has done its job to stop the target consumer, the copy and application graphics for supporting product features and consumer benefits can be incorporated on the back, side, and bottom of the package.

Many intelligent entrepreneurs develop breakthrough products, but require consumer and trade input to determine which benefits will draw shopper attention and deserve front panel inclusion.

Asking your target consumers through various consumer research venues what is most important to them about your product, consulting with knowledgeable retail buyers and heeding the advice of consulting brokers familiar with your category are the only means to know for sure.

Smart buyers will instantly recognize a package front panel that will stop traffic and motivate sales.......and that is one of the most cost effective and best advertising weapons you have in your arsenal.

While you ultimately want to develop a long term sustaining brand franchise and household name, it makes no sense to devote an inordinate amount of space on the front of the package initially to a brand name, logo or an image that is totally unknown. In fact, most new package front panels are guilty of too much clutter.

Your product may have 10 amazing product features and consumer benefits, but the front panel of your package is your billboard, with only enough room to discuss, at most, 2 such benefits...... with one visually and attractively compelling call to action.

Empty Space can be a good thing on the front panel, especially when it draws attention and directs the eye to the best features with the fewest images and words instantly explaining what the product does.

Every word, graphic, color and “empty space” on the front of the package must be evaluated by the following criteria:

Will it contribute to targeting the consumer in 3 seconds, from ten feet away in the aisle, to move toward your product, pick the package off the shelf to evaluate it, purchase and add it to her cart? If it doesn't, it probably does not belong on the front of the package.

Remember, the front panel has only 1 mission in life: "to stop target customers walking by your product, evaluate its benefits in 3 seconds and motivate them to pick it off the shelf, … and buy it. That's all it’s designed to do.

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About the Author

John O'Maley, John O'Maley and Associates
2030 Harcourt Estates Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45244

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