Can product packaging create relationships?

Unknown-1080x675A debate has been brewing at the Biondo Group (a co. I freelance with). The idea that’s been churning is the notion that a package’s design can create a relationship with the consumer.

We read of designers stating that their work “creates relationships with consumers” and we stand back and wonder – does it really? Does packaging design create relationships? In that brief moment when the consumer is at the shelf in a supermarket environment – does a packages design connect in a manner that allows a relationship to be created?

But first, lets agree what defines a relationship. After digging in a little with our favored resources, we find there are many types of relationships, including:

Ethical relationship – a basic and trustworthy relationship that one has with another human being,
Interpersonal relationship – a strong, deep, or close association or acquaintance between two or more people.
Intimate relationship – a relationship that involves physical or emotional intimacy
Romantic relationship – the pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person
Social relationship – any relationship between two or more individuals

And last but not least:

Consumer-brand relationship, also known as a Brand relationship, is the relationship that consumers, think, feel, and have with a product or company brand    http://everything.explained.today/Brand_relationship/

Alright, so we understand that people can have relationships with Brands, but can packaging design create that relationship?

One might argue that it is medias’ job to create relationships with consumers. Media certainly is about messaging, and can in most instances deliver a call to action. Media can deliver persona, motion and sound. Media is ubiquitous, multi-channel and interactive. More than ever modern media allows 360 degree marketing,. Media lives in our pockets, on our devices.

It’s also getting easier and simpler to measure the effect that media and content have upon the ebb and flow of sales, and ultimately finance. Data analytics are, and have been all the rage in an era of programmatic media. Since all things media are for the most part, easily measured, media is a favored tactic and darling of the budget allocation process. Packaging design is not as easily measured.

So, what is packaging design’s remit? What does packaging have to accomplish (metric wise) to be viewed as being successful?

…And is creating a relationship with the consumer part of that “ask”?

-sb