Were you able to resist all those beautifully packaged, luxurious looking gifts displayed in the stores during your Christmas shopping? When I arrived early for a downtown meeting in December, I had time to amble through the food and seasonal gifts section at the luxury department store Holt Renfrew.
I felt like the proverbial child in a sweets shop! Shelves and tables were filled with tempting boxes, bags, jars, and tins adorned with festive scenes and lovely colours. It took some effort to resist buying a basket full of these appealing products.
This made me think about what differentiates same or similar products, and how we can make our gadgets, widgets, and even services stand out from the competition.
Most of the goods I saw at Holt’s, i.e. the actual consumable or usable contents, were probably not much different from more simply packaged buttery shortbreads or chocolate covered nuts you can buy in good supermarkets and small specialty stores. (I hear a collective gasp from luxury store and product creators...) What made them so very appealing – if you forget about the store label for now – was their superior packaging.
That is all well and good for packageable products; what about services though? How do you ‘wrap up and display’ something that is not physical? My business, for example, provides administrative and business support services – how do I tie a luxurious pretty bow around that?
It means that to make service products stand out from the competition, we must use evocative words and descriptions that conjure up the desired emotions in our prospective customers. Instead of visual and tangible product packaging, we need to describe the benefits to our customers that are irresistible. We must highlight the outcomes of using our services with expressions that push their emotional buttons.
For example, letting them know how we can help them overcome a problem or need, or how much time, money, or hassle we can save them with our service, support, or program. Said, of course, with the most descriptive and evocative words.
To sum up, beautiful packaging definitely works. Naturally, the product inside has to be excellent too! And for those of us who can't offer their services in pretty boxes, we will rely on the power of good copy.