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One For the Books

Written by Bill Tanzer

 

Ever judge a book by its cover? It’s not metaphorical, most marketers will agree that consumers make quick judgements by the outside image. I tend to judge a book by its format. Meaning, if I’m going to read the book, the book has to be readable.

I’m not talking about uninteresting subject matter or bad editing. Those two things are always going to turn off many potential readers and give the author a bad rep. I’m talking about the actual layout, from legible type to style. Yes, despite Kindles and Nooks and as other digital competitors become ever more popular, many consumers still buy hardcopies and paperbacks. (As a side note, bookstore sales in the United States remained flat for the first half of 2011, but still a $7 billion industry for that time period.)

If the typeface is hard to read, set in ludicrous fonts or distracting sizes, I won’t read the book no matter what the topic.

Just this week I was perusing through business books at the local book sale and found a great selection. There were several I refused to purchase just because the fonts and formats were incredibly distracting. I don’t care if it’s a bargain basement price and filled with infinite wisdom. Am I supposed to take a business author seriously when information is presented in squiggly scripts, highlighted by too many drop shadows and organized as if I had a short attention span? Yeah, maybe I missed out a wealth of information, a hidden treasure trove of advice, by not buying these particular titles. But if I can’t get through a paragraph without feeling annoyed or attacked by typography, I don’t think I’m missing out on anything.

Customized packaging always takes this into account. The right image captures the public’s eye, not turns it away. The right image complements your products, not negates the theme or contradicts your company’s mission. A cosmetics shop offering an array of makeup in assorted bright colors is probably not going to showcase its products with a gloomy grey shopping bag.

The perfect packaging is also a perfect fit for YOUR business, appropriate to YOUR products, whatever those may be.

Packaging is not the be-all, end-all in this world, but it certainly makes a difference to customers and sometimes a big difference directly to the bottom line. As one example, the grocery-chain Kroger experienced sales growth after repackaging its poorly performing store-brand products.

And, since we’re now in the most financially lucrative season for retailers, the matter becomes ever more important. Remember, customers not only expect attractive packaging, but gift boxes and shopping bags on hand as they begin holiday shopping.

September 27, 2011

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