When Amenity Packaging Design #Fails

At the Biondo Group, we are of the opinion that Packaging Design is one of the most important marketing channels that a brand marketer can leverage: benefitting themselves, as well as consumers/users. As packaging and packaging systems designers, this is to be expected, as that’s what we do, optimize the point-of-sale channel for our clients.

Through LinkedIn, we came across this mini-rant. We rarely see a piece of content directly addressing our niche, Packaging Design, and furthermore noticed that there were in excess of 109 comments, and the post had barely been up a full morning.

Clearly, Neil Hunt the author of the article, struck a chord with the LinkedIn business community, many of whom are no doubt travelers who’ve got deep experience with Hotel Amenities/ Toiletries, the focus of this piece.

Hotel shampoo/conditioner/gel:  Why does it make sense to make four identical tubes, of the same color, and label them with in tiny letters (all upper case, just to make them as little less readable), in low contrast silver shiny letters – letters that are hard to read even if you do have your glasses on!  (And what’s the difference between body scrub and body wash? Presumably, the main purpose of the label is so that the users chooses the right product to use.”
Shampoo Bottle Design Fail by Neil Hunt CPO @ Netflix

We’d bet that the people at this hotel chain are smart folks, so what gives? What rationale did they have for not designing the packaging for this line of goods? Did the client or manufacturer consider the possibilities and benefits that a properly designed packaging system can provide all parties?

From ease of product selection while in use, to easier product restocking and identification – packaging design has real, functional benefits in the field. Complimentary to those benefits are branding benefits. Each of the amenities that leave in a guest’s luggage are individual brand ambassadors, travelling far and wide to “represent”. Acknowledging the importance of this, many hotel brands are now using better quality product, partnering with quality brands in the niche, and packaging their products more purposefully.

We suspect that the subject of Neil’s article didn’t have a rationale, and that packaging design was not on the agenda when the deal was struck with the manufacturer. We’d suspect that the manufacturer/packer didn’t give a great deal of thought to packaging design, past conspicuously applying his client’s logo, sized properly, to the specified stock container structure.

“People have more trust in a product that they may be somewhat familiar with,” said Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Hospitality, which owns several hotels. “When you put your (hotels) logo on the bottle, they don’t know what the product is.”

Interestingly, and acknowledging the importance of amenities, many hotel chains have stopped branding these items with their own brand marks, opting to leverage brand names that are familiar and in context for the HBA category, such as L’Occitane, Molton Brown and Bath & Body Works. In support of that, does anyone really want to use “Super 8 Hand Cream”?

In conclusion, it’s well worth figuring out the branding, and design strategy that should be driving the packaging design activity for an Amenities program. Going the extra step, and hiring a Packaging Designer to make sure that your product is, in all regards, presented the best it can be, is a smart move in the long run.

Welcome to the Biondo Group

The Biondo Group is happy to introduce, our blog. Concurrently, we’ve moved our website to a modern, fast loading, mobile friendly, easy to manage, CMS friendly platform: WordPress.

Why now?

After 50 years in business, we’ve seen our fair share of change, won our fair share of awards, garnered our fair share of kudos and recognition, and have seen many of our clients move on to do great things. Over time we’ve seen the brands we work on become iconic.

We are the last of the owner-operated, independent design firms that defined the industry of brand identity and product packaging design. We haven’t merged, we haven’t grown past the point where we can personally get to know and serve our clients, and our team has stayed put – we’ve had almost no turnover for the last 10 years. Our stability is part of what sets us apart and makes our work distinctive.

Why have we been quiet?
We are not PR hounds, chest thumpers or self-promoters.
Honestly, we’ve been busy working.

Why should you care?

We were recently reminded that there’s a new wave of product marketers who do not know us, our history of working with and helping invent iconic brands, or our reputation for straight talk and design innovation.

And that is why we’ve launched this blog.

We are re-introducing ourselves to Consumer Product marketers who are finding themselves in a retail environment that is evermore cluttered, competitive, and difficult to accommodate.

But we know, despite all of the above, that many purchasing decisions are made at point of sale, at the very last moment – and that packaging design, (as well as a host of other factors, to be honest) has a tremendous amount of influence on what goes in the basket and home with the shopper.

So we stay focused on accomplishing that simple task, standing out and “speaking to the customer” at point of sale. We don’t pretend to be expert at all facets of marketing; our turf is narrow and specific.

The Biondo Group specializes in developing hi-performance brand identity and packaging design systems, its what we do, its what we’ve always done.

Please call or email to discuss your next project, and sign up for our mailing list to keep up on our latest work.

Brand Story for Dolphin Organics and DO Naturals

Our work for Dolphin Organics and DO Naturals line of hair and skincare products was highlighted in Packaging of the World.

(you can read the article below)

Biondo Designs the Brand Story for Dolphin Organics (DO) and DO Naturals When organic foodies Nigel and Ayo Hart became frustrated in their search for natural and organic hair and skincare products for their twin baby girls they decided to develop their own brand.

The entrepreneurial couple approached The Biondo Group to create the visual story of Dolphin Organics, a line of organic shampoo, bodywash, conditioner, lotion and bubble bath for infants and toddlers, and the brand extension for tweens, DO Naturals. “When we were asked to create the brand identity for Dolphin Organics, we recognized the importance of telling this new brand’s story if we were to persuade mothers who seek only the best for their babies and toddlers,” said Charles Biondo. “Because there is such confusion in the marketplace as to what ingredients are ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ and since Dolphin Organics contains nothing artificial, we decided to tell the story on the packaging itself.”

To convey the purity of Dolphin Organics products, Biondo dressed the line in bright white plastic bottles, each with a vibrant green top, as a reflection of the natural world. “We selected green because it is gender neutral and appeals to toddlers and moms,” said Charles Biondo. “This green looks very fresh, very organic, and fits perfectly with the brand image of Dolphin Organics.”

Next Biondo created a fun and friendly logo – two dolphins playfully positioned above a hand-lettered type treatment of ‘Dolphin Organics’ that floats above a wavy water line. On each bottle, the letter ‘o’ in Dolphin is color coded to match the product: purple for baby shampoo & bodywash, pink for bubble bath, yellow for baby lotion, green for hair conditioner. “We wanted each product to be stimulating, youthful and most importantly to convey ‘fun’,” added Biondo. Biondo used the package front to tell the Dolphin Organics story.

A whimsical icon precedes each product benefit – a fish before “What’s best for your baby is found in nature,” followed by a starfish, a seahorse, and a crab – between statements. The back panel of each Dolphin Organics bottle clearly spells out the product benefits in a chart with three easy-to-read ingredient categories – Organic, Natural and Artificial. The last column ‘Artificial’ is empty. The back also carries the marks of organic certifications, spelling out exactly what this product means for the health conscious consumer. –

See more at: http://www.packagingoftheworld.com/2014/02/dolphin-organics.html#sthash.27PlQsKy.dpuf