Building Anticipation through Luxury Packaging

Contrary to most consumers these days who seek instant gratification, luxury brands aim to increase their sense of anticipation. Three main aspects decide whether this and a strong brand association can be achieved.

Most of the time in today’s busy and hectic world, people are seeking things that satisfy their desire for instant gratification. Consciously looking forward to something and enjoying the process of waiting for and eventually receiving a product seems to have come out of style. Accordingly, the packaging of a product is usually nothing more than a means to an end and is forgotten rather quickly. This is really unfortunate as the unveiling of a product is an important part of the magic and can feel like an event itself – if done correctly. Examples of this can be found primarily in the segment of luxury brands. These brands intentionally work at delaying gratification for a heightened sense of anticipation.

One of the best examples for this is Apple. They understand how to build anticipation at every stage of a consumer touchpoint. Ranging from pre-orders, the keynote at the launch all the way up to the product packaging – each step follows a strict plan to elevate anticipation and provide a layered unveiling experience. This makes the consumer feel rewarded and creates a deeper consumer brand relationship.

Overall, there are three ways anticipation can be built through luxury packaging.

Build Interaction

A user-initiated process of unravelling details, for instance, is a great way for a brand to let the consumer interact with the product. This approach has been taken by the Australian wine brand 19 Crimes who launched an Augmented Reality app. Hovering a mobile device over the bottles brings the character on the label to life. The information then teaches you about one of three different criminals-turned-colonists. As a result of being guilty of at least one of the 19 crimes, these people had been sentenced to live in Australia where they forged a new country as pioneers in a frontier penal colony.

The importance and potential of Augmented Reality in packaging have been emphasized in an online quantitative study conducted by Mindshare and Zappar. They found that a third of 1,000 UK smartphone owners above the age of 18 believe that Augmented Reality would be helpful in making shopping choices. They are also increasingly expecting products and other physical objects to contain additional layers of digital content or information. Overall 55 percent of them want to be able to point their phone at any object and receive information about it.

Create Surprises

Long-lasting brand associations can also be achieved by creating sensual experiences. The opportunities to surprise consumers are diverse and can be olfactory, tactile or audible. Whether it be butter paper infused with floral fragrances or spot varnish printing over a matt background – sensory cues for luxury products are always subtle. Bib & Tucker have done a great job at incorporating many layers of sensory cues into their bourbon whiskey bottle. The bottle combines raised pattern glass, a matte label and corded exposed cork, creating a product that feels old, cared for and thoughtfully hand-crafted.

However, it must be noted that our reaction to a product is rarely entirely driven by the enjoyment for what we feel or hear, but rather by the meaning we ascribe to the sensational element. The effect of sensorial packaging cues can thus differ immensely between individuals.

Ensure Quality

Aside from building interaction and creating surprises, there is one more important aspect that far too many luxury brands ignore: A noble packaging is only half of the deal and nearly useless if the product lacks its expected quality. Chocolates, for instance, that melt in hot and humid conditions totally ruin the product experience – regardless of how extraordinary the packaging looks, smells or feels. Therefore, brands should invest in improving the delivery of their goods and create packaging that minimises the risk of damage. This has been done by Koko Artisanal Chocolate. They placed an ice-pack at the bottom of their boxes to ensure optimal temperature. This way, the product, as well as the packaging, can reach the consumer fully intact.

What are your experiences with interactive packaging or such featuring sensory cues? Leave us a comment in the section below.