Visually engaging product packaging might catch a consumer's eye, but it's the packaging copy that ultimately seals the purchase.
We spoke to Lindsey, the packaging manager for a major US cosmetics brand, about how great cosmetics packaging copy can increase sales, and the importance of collaborative product content management in creating and maintaining the best copy.
Lindsey was not shy about telling us about the consequences and cost of poor communication between departments during new product development.
Good Packaging Copy = A Good First Impression
Most consumers form their first impression about a product from its packaging copy. The copy tells Consumer X how much longer her lashes will be with this mascara, how much sexier she'll feel with that lipstick, and, digging deeper into the copy, whether the ingredients in the product will be all right with any of her health and dietary needs.
With so many beauty brands vying for shelf space across distributors, a product’s packaging copy must also be engaging, and pithy enough to convey the brand identity in a limited amount of space.
Creating copy that is both accurate and engaging takes time, but it's one of the most important aspects of the marketing of the product. If the copy is convincing enough to make a consumer spring for the purchase, and consistent enough with the actual product for the consumer to want to buy more, sales go up.
Where packaging departments need help
In order to ensure that this accurate and engaging copy accompanies every product out of the manufacturer, a number of different players at the manufacturing level must be able to easily communicate and collaborate over the generation and verification of this content.
Lindsey told us that at her company, there are four departments and over two-dozen inputs that compose the product content for skincare products. There are also an additional two departments (so six departments in total) responsible for verifying that content before a product is sent to a distributor partner.
...at her company, there are four departments and over two-dozen inputs that compose the product content for skincare products...
Marketing comes up with the backbone of the copy when it decides what new product might drive the most sales, but the copy must change many times as technical packaging, new product development, and R&D bring the product into fruition. Packaging must be kept up-to-date with the latest information to know what to put on the final label.
Getting all of these departments to sync up once is challenging enough. But anytime a department makes a change to this content – say, R&D adds an additional ingredient after an ingredients list has already been circulated – ensuring that this change is communicated to all relevant departments is oftentimes akin to a nightmare.
Lindsey said that her company recently came under fire from its distributor partners for sending out spec sheets with information that contradicted both the copy on the product’s outer packaging and the copy on the product itself.
These inconsistencies were directly traceable to insufficient communication within the company. Without an easy way to collaboratively edit product content, different departments simply had different versions of the information when the product was sent to the supplier.
While the mistake was easy to make in the company’s current process, the consequences were detrimental. The distributors refused to sell the product until the content was fixed, resulting in lost sales for the brand and newly strained relationships.
What a solution might look like
The best solution for Lindsey's company is a centralized repository for product content that allows multiple players to easily collaborate on and edit this content. If the technical teams can easily update new changes to product attributes, and all other teams can see these updates instantly, the packaging team can ultimately put information on the product and feel secure that it's the latest, best edited, and most accurate copy available.
If this is accomplished, not only have the chances of aggravating distributor partners and losing sales gone down, but the chances of engaging and converting a new consumer likely gone up.
If the scenario painted in this post resonates with issues your company is dealing with, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.