Woman holding package


When it comes to product innovation, packaging is arguably just as important as the product itself. But did you know packaging innovation is also important when it comes to services?

If you are not yet an expert on packaging innovation, don't panic! Here is a summary of everything you need to know!

Marketing. Perhaps most obviously, packaging plays a key role in whether or not your product is plucked from the shelf or selected in an on-line shop display. Attractive packaging can help sell your product. Ugly packaging, can be a turn-off. Packaging usually promotes the brand image.

Communication. Closely related to marketing, packaging must communicate certain things to consumers, such as what is inside the box. In places like Belgium, where there are multiple languages, the packaging must communicate in multiple languages. In addition to words, packaging may include images and graphics that typically communicate how to use the product.

Safety. In some cases, packaging is directly related to safety. Good packaging can preserve food products longer, ensuring they do not expire too quickly. Likewise, dangerous chemicals need to be packaged in such a way as to ensure they do not leak from their containers, explode or otherwise harm the end user. Packaging should protect fragile objects and protect everyone from dangerous products.

Costs. Particularly in business to business products which are bought in bulk and shipped great distances, packaging that is lighter and takes up less space reduces shipping costs. In some cases, the savings can be substantial.

Environment. Although this remains less of a concern than it should, packaging does affect the environment. In most cases, it is disposed of as soon as the product is purchased. Small products encased in large, plastic packaging are not particularly environmentally friendly. I expect this is an area that will become increasingly important as consumers become more concerned about the environment.

Legislation. Legislation often affects packaging design. In most countries, cigarette packaging must include specific warning messages. Food products usually need to communicate certain information, such as ingredients and sometimes nutritional data. Hazardous products need to be packaged safely.

Packaging Services

Packaging is not limited to manufactured products. Services are also packaged, albeit in different ways. An upmarket Thai restaurant, for instance, would likely have traditional Thai decor and dress service staff in traditional costumes. Menus would likely be printed on quality paper in a nice folder.

Uniforms can be important. A plumber in clean, branded overalls probably gives the impression of being more professional than one who wears old jeans and a t-shirt. As a result, the former could probably charge higher fees than the latter!

Even a one person business, such as a consultant or trainer, should think about packaging. This might start with how you dress yourself. If you are a mechanic, you'd probably aim for overalls or similar. If you are senior management coach, you would be more likely to go for a conservative suit. As someone who does energetic talks and workshops for businesses, government bodies and non-profit organisations, I aim for comfortable, business casual occasionally with a slight flamboyant touch. After all, my focus is on creativity!

Here, women have a clear advantage over men. There is much wider range of clothing that can be worn and which can express style, personal branding and personality while still remaining acceptable business attire. Sure, I could wear a lovely dress when I do my next workshop. But it would probably give the wrong impression!

On-line packaging is very important. Nowadays, people at least research purchases on-line. Many people also buy on-line. Nearly all of my business comes via web queries from creativejeffrey.com and this newsletter. If your business aims to appear ultra-trendy, you want to be sure you have a trendy web site.

Social Media

Social media has become increasingly important -- but this is problematic. You may well have a Facebook page, Linkedin profile and Twitter account for your business. And you can personalise these to fit corporate style, at least to some extent. But, ultimately, you are putting your packaging inside Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter packaging. Worse, they could change their style overnight -- and that affects your packaging and how people see your products or services.

Ultimately, then, it is best not to see social media as a final destination. Rather, it should be a conduit that leads people to your web site, your shop or a place that sells your products in your packaging.

That's a lot of packaging -- even for a one person service business! However, in this competitive business world, you probably need to innovate your packaging regularly in order to stay fresh and ahead of the competition. An out-of-date web site might give the impression you are out of business. Wearing super-tight black jeans and a black t-shirt might come across as trendy. But it would not win you much business as an accountant for most companies.


In order to ensure your packaging is up to date, reflects your business image and communicates the right things, you need to innovate. If your packaging is affected by legislation, you also need to innovate to ensure that the legally required elements have minimal negative effect. For instance, if you are selling frozen, microwaveable deep-fried butter, you might want to play down the nutritional horrors of your food product (apparently, deep-fried butter really exists and can be bought in parts of the USA!).

Getting Started

This web site is full of articles about how to think more creatively and innovate more effectively -- so browse away. But before you can begin to get creative about your packaging, you need to reflect on the issues above. What is the technical purpose of your packaging? What do you wish to communicate? What restrictions do you need to keep in mind? Once you have a clear idea of what your packaging should be all about, it becomes easier to develop a vision for your packaging.




Recent Articles

Leading Diverse Teams
Filed under: Business Innovation
Diverse teams are more innovative and smarter than homogeneous ones. But, they are also harder to manager. Here are some tips. By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Questions you should ask when an innovative project fails
Filed under: Business Innovation
You can learn a lot from the failure of an innovative project, but you need to ask the right questions. Here are those questions. By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Unmarketing the Competition
Filed under: Business Innovation
A look at creative, but unethical dirty trick marketing campaigns designed to damage the competition By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Imaginativefulness and the Fisherman
Filed under: Creativity
What does a fisherman wearing a cycling helmet have to do with imaginativefulness? Quite a lot, it seems. By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Actually, Criticising Ideas Is Good for Creativity
Filed under: Creativity
People have long assumed criticising ideas in a brainstorm inhibits creativity. Research and experience shows that is wrong By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Filed under: Creativity
Imaginativefulness is a state of heightened imagination in which your mind allows thoughts, memories and ideas to play with each other freely. By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Why and How to Exploit Alternative Uses for Your Products
Filed under: Business Innovation
Discovering new ways customers use, misuse and could use your products can inspire innovation. Jeffrey Baumgartner explains. By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


The Cost of Not Innovating
Filed under: Business Innovation
If your company fails to innovate, you pay a steep price in terms of loss of leadershop, tight margins, missed opportunities and more. By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Don't Trust the Status Quo
Filed under: Creativity
Jeffrey Baumgartner has never trusted the status quo. He explains why this is so and why you should also not trust the status quo By Jeffrey Baumgartner -- Read the article...


Index of all creative articles...


Return to top of page


Creative Jeffrey logo

Jeffrey Baumgartner
Bwiti bvba

Erps-Kwerps (near Leuven & Brussels) Belgium




My other web projects

My other web projects

CreativeJeffrey.com: 100s of articles, videos and cartoons on creativity   Jeffosophy.com - possibly useful things I have learned over the years.   Kwerps.com: reflections on international living and travel.   Ungodly.com - paintings, drawings, photographs and cartoons by Jeffrey