The Message in the Packaging

Remember all those cafeteria bake sales in high school to raise money for every club under the sun?  Or maybe that was just my high school.  I grew up in a rural area and had 92 people in my graduating class, so some of the things I always thought were “normal” high school experiences have turned out to be true of only really, really small towns — like, the kind you thought only existed in Hallmark movies about charming backwoods folks.

Anyway, fundraiser bake sales were a hit where I grew up.  Every Friday during lunch, you could bet on the Beta Club or the marching band or the FFA (because I knew you were waiting for that) to have a table set up in the common area just beyond the lunch tables stocked with cookies and cupcakes and brownies.  I typically avoided the mile-long line to get a sweet treat, but if the cute drummer dude was working the table and I just couldn’t resist, I’d always go straight for whatever looked store bought and only ate it if there was a sure-fire way to prove it’d been made in a DHEC approved kitchen and hadn’t been tampered with since.

Weird, right?  My family thinks so too, but I can’t help it.  My wild imagination isn’t restricted to just my profession.  This meme was circulating on Facebook a while back, and I think everyone I know sent it to me because they know how quirky I am when it comes to germs.  I have actually listed each of these scenarios among my shared food phobias (*shutters*):


And I know there are probably all sorts of things happening in commercial kitchens too that I don’t know about, but that Grade A posted on the door offers me some reassurance.  (Side note:  If you have any horror stories, please spare me.  In this case, ignorance is bliss.)

This is the relationship some consumers have with the products and services you offer.  If your packaging isn’t just right, they’re running for the hills before you ever have a chance to sell them on what’s inside.  This is why it’s so important to pay attention to what your branding says about you, particularly how it conveys your commitment to accuracy and quality.

I think we can all agree that it’d be bothersome if your advertisements or instruction manuals were laden with grammatical errors, but it’s more than that.  Effective copy anticipates your customers’ responses, evoking the right emotions to set the tone for your message.  It’s as much about the colors and the imagery as it is about the content, and it’s about how all those things work together to deliver your message with an impact that won’t be overlooked or undersold.

For the bake sale shy like me, it’s the difference between homemade cat fur-and-toenail truffles and tiramisu from the tidy café down the street.






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