• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Enhance your product value through better packaging

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The world of product marketing is the world of appearance. Like the typical physicalist or materialist, the consumer believes in what he sees, feels, touches or perceives. Like a man beholding a woman, he tends to look at the physical attributes of a product first before considering whether it meets the standards or not.

Nigerian manufacturing exporters used to have their products rejected at the borders of almost all the countries a few years back. It was not only too expensive to repatriate products already exported but was also embarrassing and discouraging.

Within a couple of years, Nigeria lost its export market and also opened its doors to China, the Asian Tigers and other countries in Europe that had more attractive and sustainable packaging styles. Products meant for children were packaged in primary coloured containers like red and yellow, while those meant for adults were packaged in secondary coloured cases like brown.

This changed the impression of local consumers, who despised locally made products but patronised Asian goods, even when there was no superiority guarantees.

But innovative and creative Nigerian exporters had to rebrand their products and repackage them to win the confidence of the international market.

The results of these were as follows. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 2012 data showed that West African Cotton Company Limited, a player in the textile and apparel sector,  found its markets in Indonesia, Germany and Vietnam. Cumulatively, its total exports to these countries were $29.8m, as against $9.4m in 2011. Indomie, which is a popular noodle brand with attractive packaging mode, not only satisfies the local market but has found its way into the United States, Europe and other parts of the world.

Total exports in 2013 totalled $50 million, according to Deepak Singhal, CEO, Dufil Prima Foods, Indomie’s manufacturer.

Nigeria is today dominant in the West African market as its products not only compete favourably with those from Asia but also dwarf them, as confirmed by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Group (MANEG).

Economic Times of India reported in 2008 that Indian firms realised why effective packaging was key to competitiveness and shifted focus on innovative packaging to hit their target consumers. They outlined products such as Dadima’s Magic mango pickle, ITS fruit tomato ketchup, Mehek Dehradoon Basmati, 24 Letter Mantra and Bread & More as some of the products available in shops with good packaging motifs, making huge returns to their makers.

“The consumer buying behaviour is very impulsive and it is the pricing, colour scheme, offers and packaging that attract them to buy a product, if that is not an important item. A well-packaged product gives an edge over other products because the consumer might find it attractive if there is not much of a difference in the quality of the product. Groverson’s Paris Beauty, a lingerie brand, is a good example of packaging,” said Mr Das of Oxygen and Asheesh Sethi of Noshe Oceanic, while speaking on the impact of the packaging ideology.

David Frey, a writer on ‘business know-how’ says that packaging your products and services can be a powerful marketing technique to move more products and services and add more value. According to him, good packaging promotes a higher perceived value to your customer, gives you the ability to sell slow moving merchandise, automatically upsells your customers without having to ask for it and lowers your marketing costs because it allows you to move multiple types of products or services through one advertisement.

“One great example of this strategy is presented to you nearly everyday at fast food restaurants. When you buy a “happy meal” for your child , you are buying a package deal. Instead of purchasing a soft drink, fries, and burger separately, it all comes together in one happy meal package (they even throw in a toy!). Packaging is so common in the fast food industry that 98 percent  of all sales are package sales,” he added.

The point is that good and effective packaging has the capacity to enhance the value of a product in the eyes of the consumer, who can in return pay more. But experts advise that the packaging mode must be sustainable so as not to add costs that can ‘kill’ products’ competitiveness. They add that local firms should know areas where packaging is most sustainable and can make good returns.

“Our first priority area is around packaging solutions for dry food like confectionary, biscuits, noodles and  powdered food. We have a very strong offering in that area through our DuPont™Surlyn® ionomer resins used as a sealant layer in flexible packaging applications,” said Lukas Bartek, regional manager in charge of Europe, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (ECEMEA) for DuPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers.

“We’ve also seen a lot about single-serve portions for different types of food, including biscuits, ketchup and even spirits. We again have different solutions for improving packaging performance in those areas.

Third area is meat and cheese packaging, growth of which will be accelerated with growth of modern retail channels, thus the stability of the cold-chain the country. We came here together with our collaboration partner Reifenhauser Keifel, to help support knowledge and infrastructure development for production of new structures in that area,” he said.

ODINAKA ANUDU