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Packaging that Lies: The Importance of Sincerity, Truthfulness, Transparency

Customers are more connected and savvy than ever before. They want an honest deal and will turn against brands that lie. When that happens the company gets blog posts like this one.

CLINIQUE repairwear uplifting cream has packaging that in essence lies to the customer, increases the complexity of decision making, and communicates a lack of interest in becoming environmentally sustainable.

This small jar of expensive face cream says on the back label, in very tiny, almost unreadable print, that it contains NET WT. 0.5 OZ or 15 ml of cream. This part is likely true. But how meaningful is this information to the customer in making a decision to buy the expensive cream?

The human brain comprehends size and weight via the senses much better than in abstract numerical measurements of ounces or milliliters. This volume of cream inside the jar is much less than the volume of the jar. What would one expect the reaction of the customer to be when they get to the bottom half way down the jar? It is difficult to say exactly, but I doubt it is elation and a desire to buy again. More likely it is disappointment and anger. Anger not just that they got less than their reasonable senses told them they were getting, but anger at being lied to, duped and disrespected.

This then has the additional effect of complicating the decision to by next time, because there now exists the need to spend the extra time and effort to read and calculate the measurements in order to include the variable of unreliable packaging. More than likely, however, they will pick up a brand they know isn’t lying to them and respects them more. In other words is more customer-centric.

CLINIQUE might argue that the larger package is somehow part of the experience they are selling, but if that’s the case one might ask why it isn’t made of glass instead of plastic? Either way, that does not do anything to make the customer trust them more, or to simplify the decision to buy. And it diminishes the pleasure in buying a little something for oneself on a day when dozens of other such complex decisions are necessary.

And finally, this packaging is not on board with the movement toward sustainability. Because by using much more plastic than necessary for the purposes of creating the illusion of more product, they are in essence wasting petroleum, using up more resources, taking up more space in shipment, which means more fuel spent and a greater carbon footprint.

Idea: Why not move to a square jar? That would decrease shipping space, and give customers a little more room on their crowded makeup tables for more products?

Final Note: We've said this in other posts, but transparency is extremely important, and it bears repeating. If your product, brand, marketing materials, business practices, anything, are hiding something, it will be outed sooner or later. All it takes is one focused person with a smartphone and a Twitter account or blog to uncover and spread the word of a falsehood or stretch of the truth to thousands.

Reference: Packaging that Lies 2





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