Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

Packaging Goes Beyond the Container that Holds Your Product

A few years ago, I was the keynote speaker at the Annual International Paperboard Manufacturers Conference.  In the presentation, I covered the 10 Personalities of a Package.  These personalities are attributes that can be leveraged to give your brand a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Recently I was asked about my ideas on packaging for a company that is a "Service" Company.  I have written a little on the topic in the past.  However, lately I have been looking closer at the topic.  Even in companies that sell products, there is a secondary packaging operating between the manufacturer, customer, and consumer.  This secondary packaging is the packaging of your Company rather than your brands.

Think of the elements at play when you explorer the packaging of your company.  How important are the following in the image building of your Company?

Sales Representatives
Business Releases
Product Guarantees
Company Telephone Operators
Company Vehicles
Distribution System
800 Phone Lines
Mission Statement
Office Buildings
Stock Prices
Public Relations Dept.
Web Sites

All serve as a packaging element.  All can be used to improve the Company Image and all can also be a deterrent.  Anything about your Company that draws attention is a form of communication or packaging.  How important are the elements?  Do they communicate an image favorable to your Company?  How frequently are they encountered by your clients, customers or potential customers?

Without a doubt, there is a company feature listed above that seems to be a growing failure across most companies.  That feature is the answering services (800 & 888 lines).  It is my position that the answering system of a business today is the single most universal problem affecting the image of companies.  I am continually amazed at the lack of customer consideration and poor overall quality of the systems.  Does anyone creating these systems ever conduct a Beta Test?  I doubt it.  I even doubt if they know what a Beta Test entails.  Does anyone with the ability to make a management decision ever call in using these systems to see how they function?

When I ask about these systems, I am told that they are the only effective and economical answer to the growing number of calls to the company.  Maybe we are not looking at the real problem.  Maybe we should be exploring ways of eliminating the reason for the calls.  I don't think transferring the call time from the company to the customer is really a viable long-term solution.

Sponsor:  Sorensen Associates Inc      Portland, OR  800.542.4321        Minneapolis, MN  888.616.0123
The In-Store Research Company 

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