Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Great Packaging Leads to Greater Sales


package design by watergraphics

LOOKS MATTER. Great Packaging Leads to Greater Sales

Grab that shiny object!  Why did you just do that?  You may have seen the product in a Youtube commerical, an online banner ad or a TV commercial. Chances are --you were driven by the kick-ass packaging.  Marketing encompasses everything around the sale of a product or service, even down to the parts most people never give thought to -- including the packaging a product is wrapped in.
Packaging is a vital part of marketing. In many cases, it is the last "ad" a person will see for the product as they browse store shelves before deciding what to buy. Effective product packaging attracts attention in a positive way and entices consumers to buy. As such, every marketer and entrepreneur needs to understand the power of packaging for driving sales.

Product Packaging....huh?

At its simplest, product packaging is simply that: the manner in which a product is enclosed before sale. Some products may require specific packaging types for safety, such as food items. Others mainly use packaging to convey information to the buyer.
In a broader sense, product packaging refers to the entire process of design, production, and use of packaging to both enclose and sell items. Thinking about it in this way makes it easier to see that product packaging has a very impactful marketing component.

Watergraphics designed Packaging Influences Buying Behavior.

Even for highly rational people, there is always an emotional aspect to buying something. Many people are not consciously aware of the degree to which their emotions drive purchases, especially impulse purchases. Product packaging designers, on the other hand, are well aware of this propensity to make emotionally-driven buying decisions -- and they use it to guide their efforts.
The ways in which packaging influences positive and negative emotions, and subsequently buying behavior, has been the focus of much research. For example, an article from the journal Psychology & Marketing published in October 2013 describes how researchers used an fMRI machine to measure brain activity while study participants viewed different types of packaging.
The study discovered that viewing attractive packaging caused more intense brain activity than neutral packaging. Attractive packaging also caused activity in brain areas associated with rewards, while unattractive packaging caused activity in areas of the brain connected with negative emotions. Clearly, product packaging has a real influence on how we feel about products, which directly connects to our choices about what to buy.

What Consumers Want

Even though consumers may not consciously recognize all the ways in which packaging affects them, there are some things consumers actively look for. Making sure packaging succeeds in giving consumers what they want in these areas will help make more sales.
  • Packaging needs to clearly identify the product and brand, especially to help loyal consumers find it easily. The most relevant information about the product should also be clearly explained, such as the size of clothing or ingredients of food products.
  • Some packaging has a storage or protective function for the product, even after purchase. If packaging can double as a storage or carrying case, it should be durable, compact, and easy to use.
  • With growing awareness of the need for sustainable living, many consumers are looking for "green" packaging, i.e. packaging that can be recycled or reused. Minimalist packaging is also a plus, as it uses fewer materials.
  • With the wealth of different products on the market in nearly every category, a fresh, new idea always helps a product to stand out. It's often better to make packaging that is attractive and unique in some way than to stick with familiar designs. Some caution is needed, however. A package that is too unusual may turn consumers off.

Some Examples of packaging designed by WATERGRAPHICS

There are successful packaging stories to be found everywhere, produced by giant corporations and scrappy startups alike. Successful packaging is always attractive to the consumer, helping to draw them in by promising a great experience with the product inside.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

4 Ways to Add Sassy Uniqueness to Your Product Labels

Congratulations that your dream/product-line is becoming REAL! Your entire enterprise is in danger of collapsing if you proceed improperly. No pressure.

You might want to suffuse a bit of flair and sophistication into your brand for the purpose of making it attractive to your select market.  Moreover, the public can smell a fraud. Your label may be beautiful, but if you don’t know that your demographic cares more about recyclable packaging and less about the ingredients your package design strategies may be for naught.

If you’re considering modifying your package design for the purpose of marketing to a broader demographic, here are a few things that might make your product more attractive.

1.  Play up the history of your founding region.

People are interested in different local cultures. When we find a product that is unique to a particular region and its inhabitants, our curiosity is piqued. By giving your public a brief yet rich history lesson through your product label design, you make your product a window to a different and interesting way of life.

People don’t necessarily seek out foreign products that try to be identical to local products – why would we? If we want a real local delicacy, we’ll buy the real, local delicacy. If we want something exotic, we’ll buy the exotic product. When you make your humble origins clear, you enhance the exotic nature of your brand and seduce the public with your unique qualities. When you outline your company’s regional history, you give your brand a dose of authenticity that is so sought after by large corporate brands. Your product has a proud culture, and isn’t just a sterile and emotionless manufacturing firm.

Watergraphics has a client based in Vermontville New York, a crazy-beautiful upstate New York town --after our research we discovered Vermontville was heavily French settled.

We STRONGLY suggested our client change the brand-name --one that encompassed the French settlement of the community, was unique (former company-name was used by a variety of businesses all over the country) and client could personally identify: formerly: 'Wildewood Farms' to NEW NAME: Bérubé Botanicals (her last name, plus we added accents over the two "e's" to French it up a bit).

3. Play up ingredients that are local to the target area.

If your product contains ingredients that are widely eaten in your target area’s region, make sure your label reflects that. You give the consumers something familiar to cling to, even while they try something undeniably foreign. Even the biggest American corporate juggernauts feature products that are common to the varying international communities.

Bérubé Botanicals are made from organic farm-fresh ingredients --even the jewelry is hand-crafted from found objects from the working farm!

4. Celebrate yourself!

Your region does your product better than any region in the country, and you want that known. We all know the best hot sauce comes from Louisiana; the best lobster rolls come from Maine; the best frozen custard comes from Milwaukee; and the best surfers comes from Cocoa Beach Florida (although there are some who would argue Aussies have us beat, I just have a mad crush on Kelly Slater).
Whenever you market a product or service, you want to play up the features that distinguish you from your competitors. Your exoticism is a great differentiator, and it is something you really should point out for international markets. The trick is marrying your qualities to the region’s own culture, which can have the effect of creating an entirely new product; something completely different from what you previously envisioned, and which cannot be duplicated. At least… not until other brands flagrantly steal your idea and saturate the market, but that’s a whole ‘nother article.

Watergarphics fell in love with Bérubé Botanicals town: Vermontville. We love the beauty + charm and squealed with delight when we read Wikipedai defines Vermontville as a "hamlet" (,_New_York). There are only two US states that use the term: "hamlet" and NY is one of them (Oregon is the other).   We changed wording from: "Made in the USA" to bérubé botanicals Handcrafted in the hamlet of Vermontville, New York USA.  BAM!

voilà  = 
Sassy Uniqueness

Thursday, August 7, 2014



Ecommerce Companies Moving into Brick-and-Mortar Retail
by Kimberly A. Hawkins

Many a mornings, I start my design juices a flowin' by browsing the internet for cool-shit to buy -- click click click -- a few purchases with first cup of coffee and I'm fueled to begin a new project. It's my lil spark that gets me going, I don't spend a ton of time or money; online shopping is fun + immediate!

Watergraphics has a skincare client that only sells product on-line. Now they want to launch into retail box stores and we're pitching to help do just this. One of my favorite E-commerce companies failed at this (THREADLESS)--which truthfully, made me happy --I loooooove just the way it is. But the key with Threadless is that they offer a fantastic online-experience --it's more than the product. For my client, e-commerce is just one channel to purchase product: more channels = more product sold (let's hope).

Last year, online eyewear retailer Warby Parker announced that it would open a number of physical stores around the country. But the company was just the latest in a string of ecommerce firms to invest in physical locations. Bonobos, Frank and Oak and a handful of other online sellers have launched full-service brick-and-mortar stores in recent years, while eBay and Etsy piloted smaller initiatives in 2013 aimed at creating a bridge between their online marketplaces and the physical world.

With the bulk of retail sales still occurring offline, the rationale for ecommerce companies to consider local has always been compelling. But now, with more than half of adults in the U.S. owning a smartphone, the omni-channel vision, which many traditional retailers have envisioned for years, is quickly becoming a reality for both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Macy’s has begun the process of merging inventory systems to allow customers to move seamlessly between in-store, mobile and online, while Amazon has invested heavily in creating a new local logistics infrastructure to support same-day local delivery.There’s a lot to learn out there, and the digital environment sets you up for success here. The wealth of information e-commerce businesses gather from their online customer base can inform all sorts of smart business decisions when considering the move to brick-and-mortar. Data regarding sales trends, product insight, consumer demand, profitable locations, and more allow companies to tailor in-store experiences accordingly, so straight off-the-bat, you’re setting up physical stores for a much higher success rate.

Data Fuels Cross-Channel Strategies

The cool thing is that e-commerce has easy-data gathering about its customers is not only used for online marketing efforts; the retailer is referring to the location of loyal online shoppers to drive brick-and-mortar investments.

Rather than guessing about where to open new stores (or place product), we can pinpoint core customers who purchase the most on a frequent basis. Then, we can look at a 10-mile radius to see which shopping malls align with the location of the largest cluster of our best customers.

This data-driven approach creates a highly integrated, customer-centric experience across all channels.

The relationship between online and brick-and-mortar is very synergistic. One doesn’t take away from the other; they build upon each other. So if a customer is buying on the site and you open a store near them, they’re going to go to that store and become even more immersed with the brand.

This is really cool --stay tuned to see how we roll out from e-commerce to retail store near you!

Kimberly A. Hawkins is principal of design firm, watergraphics

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

If you say "EVERYONE! is my target demographic" --you're missing your target. by Kimberly A. Hawkins

Do you really believe an 11 year old boy is going to purchase smoked salmon??

No, he is not.

Understanding who wants to buy your product/service steers your marketing efforts down the easiest path.

Once you’ve conquered and secured one demographic, you can then introduce your business to additional demographics, while maintaining your current customer base. Sometimes, it just comes down to a very skilled balancing act. But in order for any balancing act to work, you need a stable foundation.


1. Who would most benefit from your product or services? Think of a specific age group or stage in life—teenagers, retirement community, new parents, empty nesters, the recent college grad (see below for generation descriptions)

2. What are your targeted income levels and occupations? Will you interact directly with other business professionals or with consumers? Is your product or service geared toward lower-income households or those who make over six figures a year?

3. Why do they need your product or service? Does your business provide a solution to a problem? Will it enhance their quality of life? Is it for amusement or is it an everyday necessity?

4. Why do they think they need what your business offers? This is important. In order for your business to be successful, your customers have to think they need your product or service. So, what drives that need? What would encourage, interest, or intrigue them into choosing you?

5. What are their core values? Even though this question seems like it’s only relevant if your business is faith or moral-based, that isn’t so. Think about it. If you run a bakery, what core value would entice your target demographic to buy your baked goods? It may revolve about the nutritional values of your bread, feeding their families the best products, or supporting the local small businesses. Whatever it is, you can market your business to that specific group. But your products have to reflect and enhance their core values.

6. How will they find you? Will information about your business be spread through social networks, blogs, word of mouth, or print, television, or radio ads? Will you use campaigns, giveaways, or clever marketing material to bring your target demographic to you?

7. What will keep them coming back? Do you offer the best products at the lowest prices? Do you have the best customer service around? Is what you offer unique to your industry?

Smart marketers know there are many subsets of every group targeted; not every message will work on every person. However, despite consumers' resistance to stereotyping in media, demographics certainly aren't becoming obsolete. It's still useful to get the big-picture view of your target consumers. If you know, for example, your product will be geared toward seniors, then your research will tell you the font on your website should be easy to read, with a white or light-colored background and that it should avoid excessive use of Flash.

As the boundaries between categories begin to blur, and consumers no longer like to be singled out based on income, gender, ethnicity or education, one of the keys to keeping your marketing cutting-edge is customization, and personalization--essentially letting your customer know you think of them as an individual and understand their lifestyle. If you don't speak to their lifestyle, a customer will tune you out. Get a firm grasp on the lifestyles of the five very distinct generations.


Gen I
Also called Gen Z, the internet generation or iGeneration, they're the children of the youngest boomers. Because this generation is still very young, marketing and demographics theories are still developing. One huge distinction, however, can be made: This generation is the only one to be born entirely in the internet era, and to parents who are generally more accepting and knowledgeable of such technology. This differs from the next generation, Gen Y, which sometimes dealt with tensions stemming from their parents' lack of technological savvy or acceptance.

Gen Y
Also referred to as millenials or "echo boomers," they are the children of boomers, ages nine to 27. Because of higher costs of living or, in some cases, the over-protective nature of their boomer parents, many are choosing to live at home. University of Michigan economics and public policy professor Bob Schoeni told Time magazine that the percentage of 26-year-olds living with their parents rose from 11 percent to 20 percent between 1970 and 2004. They're 75 million strong and they have disposable income because of their parents' support. Growing up with computers means this generation is especially responsive to internet campaigns. They process information quickly and are especially brand loyal. Gen Yers like innovative marketing approaches and advertising that uses humor or is "outside the box."

Gen X
They are perhaps the most overlooked generation, falling in the shadow of the powerful baby-boom generation. But the 44 million Gen Xers born between 1965 and 1975 are entering their peak earning and buying years. They're tech-savvy and love to shop. They have a high value for education and knowledge. Unlike Gen Yers, brand prestige alone won't woo this generation--let them know why your product is a good value. They are independent and like to save.

Baby Boomers
Until the boomer generation hit age 50, marketers generally forgot consumers once they passed that age mark. Today, however, they're awakening to the buying power of this 76 million-strong group. On average boomers spend $400 billion more per year than any other generation. They're at many life stages: empty nesters or full nesters, boomer grandparents, single or married, etc. What they have in common is exceptional drive and the ability to evaluate advertising and determine its value to them. Between 2005 and 2030, the over-60 group will grow by 80 percent--as they age, be careful not to label them as "old." This generation has a Peter Pan complex--play up their youthfulness in marketing.

The Greatest Generation
Born between 1909 and 1945, Octogenarias  have seen it all when it comes to advertising, resulting in a particularly savvy consumer segment. They are more careful about whom they do business with, and they want to know more about your business before they choose to patronize it. Having been born during, or lived through, the Great Depression, World War II and many economic recessions, they're keen on value and in general don't "shop for fun" as other generations tend to do. They have pensions to rely on that other generations won't have as they become senior citizens, so concentrate on communicating the value of your product or services. A practical bunch, they also tend to be extremely loyal customers. Seniors are living longer than ever before, and they're dealing with fewer acute illnesses and more chronic ones as their lifespans increase. They want products to help them stay active, learn and be independent.  It's a mistake to think octogenarians aren't using the internet. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people over the age of 65 spend more than $7 billion per year online.

Test Your Product By Area
Another way to use demographic research is by testing the popularity of a product within a chosen community. How do you know it will be successful in that particular locale? You must look at the community's:

• Purchasing power. Find out the degree of disposable income within the community.

• Residences. Are homes rented or owned?

• Means of transportation. Do prospective customers in the area own vehicles, ride buses or bicycles, and so on?
• Age ranges. Does the community consist primarily of young people still approaching their prime earning years, young professionals, empty nesters or retirees?

• Family status. Are there lots of families in the area or mostly singles?

• Leisure activities. What type of hobbies and recreational activities do people in the community participate in?

Detailed demographic information is available from the Census Bureau's website. Click on "State and County Quick Facts" for your state, and you can find county-by-county demographic information. You can also get this kind of information from established businesses within your industry or from a trade association. Gale's Dictionary of Associations, available in most libraries, contains listings for more than 30,000 trade associations' national headquarters. Many associations also have local or regional chapters that serve members in a variety of ways, with everything from newsletters to lobbying actions.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the Consumer Expenditure Survey, which you can find at the Bureau's website by clicking on "consumer spending." The CES annually samples 5,000 households through its Quarterly Interview Survey and its Diary Survey to learn how families and individuals spend their money. Unlike other surveys that might ask only how much people are spending on household or home appliances, the CES collects data about nearly every category of expenses--from alcoholic beverages and restaurant meals to pensions and life insurance.

Bureau of Labor Statistics analysts then sort the information and group consumers by income, household size, race, gender and other characteristics relevant to your business.

Do you love your product/service?  It's fun to think about who will love it too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Evangelism Ain't Just for Jesus Any More.

3 Simple Steps to Evangelical Marketing

Customer Evangelism is HOT "MMMMMMMM this is sooooooooooo good! You should have some!" Now, THAT'S an example of evangelical marketing.

It's not new, neighbors talk and share excitement of a product/service.  I'm looking for new cleaning people, I'm asking around (seriously, if you're in Central Florida and know a good house cleaner, please email me).

Guy Kawasaki, the former chief evangelist of Apple Computer, is the father of evangelism marketing. In his books “The Art of the Start" and "How to Drive Your Competition Crazy” Kawasaki states that the driving force behind evangelism marketing is the fact that individuals simply want to make the world a better place.

Blabber-Mouths Are Your Friends
Building word of mouth into full-fledged evanagelism grows companies faster than traditional marketing

This past month, I worked with Wyndham Vacation Ownership to get their loyal owners to share the good news with friends.  Wyndham has a great product and their customers are really happy.  So, what's the trick to get those customers to go out and spread the news?

Incentives do not work. Monetary isn't the thing that gets these people motivated.  

Look at various religions that focus on getting the news out.  Do they offer those MONEY?  No, they just want you to join in the fun on Sunday. Some use the threat of eternal damnation (that's another blog).  But the key is it's EMOTIONAL not MONETARY.  You want your friends to be happy and you want them to know you're the one that got them that happiness --that's the payout (ego, ego, ego!).  Evangelist customers spread their recommendations and recruit new customers out of pure belief, not for the receipt of goods or money.  

The goal of the customer evangelist is simply to provide benefit to other individuals.

Some evangelicals believe rule number one is you MUST have an excellent product or service.  I don't.  (of course, it's terrific if you do and I'm going to assume ya'll are perfect). But, more importantly, focus on the benefits and tell your customer the benefits --over and over until they believe it and know it.  "This thing is AMAZING" is what should come out of your customer's mouth.

Emphasize the benefits that customer has experienced and keep doing it.  Don't lose contact after point of sale.  In this communication, do not try and sell them something new, focus on the joy and aid that your product/service has brought to their world. 
  • After some time from purchase, contact customer and ask/remind them about service, emphasis on the feel-good factor. When they say something nice about your product/service, repeat it to them.
  • Tell them how much you value them and that single purchase (do not try and sell them another product, keep focused on the one they have and that they LOVE it).
  • Then, as my line is: "put your hands in your lap and listen."


Build A Community for Your Clients

Encourage your customers to mingle, either physically or virtually - build a coalition of customers around your cause. All religion is communal even monks as they're studying within, go to retreats with other monks to do their thing ( In a seminal 1986 study, McMillan and Chavis identify four elements of "sense of community": 1) membership, 2) influence, 3) integration and fulfillment of needs, and 4) shared emotional connection.  Communities have their own buzz-words, make sure people can post on your facebook page, have parties where customers can meet each other, etc...
POST (below, in blog-comment section)  IDEAS FOR BUILDING SENSE OF COMMUNITY.
Starbucks Corporation, started an online customer community in 2008 called My Starbucks Idea, designed to collect suggestions for products or services and feedback from customers.[1] During the first year of the program, My Starbucks Idea generated 70,000 ideas through the site and approximately 50 changes based on customer suggestions were implemented.

Focus on making your world, industry, community, and company a better place because you were involved. 

It doesn't have to be all feel-goody granola-save-the-planet-rhetoric.

Your cause maybe to get those women out of mom-jeans, or bad logos out of our face (that's watergraphics' cause), or housebound dogs out into the world! What is your product and how does it make all of our world BETTER?!  Focus on that --emphasize your service/product and how the WORLD benefits!

Organizations as diverse as Southwest Airlines, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, The Dallas Mavericks, IBM, and others successfully built their customer base and created targeted marketing programs to involve their biggest fans. These programs have produced legions of unofficial salespeople and a cost-effective and powerful marketing force.

Evangelical marketing is going to benefit your customers; they're going to loooooove you. Share this article directly with your customers to show you're thinking of better ways to connect, enhance their lives and to make our world a better place!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Word on the street is you look outdated, confusing and you're missing the mark.  Are you a tech company but look like a fashion-designer label? 


"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."
- Margaret Thatcher

Make it easy for people to just 'get' you at first glance.

But be careful!  Even a big company can phyk it up:: 

Gap's Logo Redesign Disaster


Gap messed with a brand that was working and greeted by backlash from thousands of angry customers in social media, who were attached to the recognizable blue box  "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" would've been sound advice. Its customers were already loyal to the original logo.

Here's a thought: include your customers in important decisions like changing your logo. 
Setting up a focus group can help companies view things from their customers; perspective and make more educated decisions. If Gap had taken some of these steps, they might have avoided the social media backlash.  If you're small business, reach out to a hand full of your clients for their feedback (also a good sales technique to lock in that relationship.)

Watergraphics was part of a crowdsourcing solution for this mess:

watergraphics' redesigned gap logo --so much better!!! 


An example of branding that works::
Duh--call an apple an apple.  Radiant Life needed a name and branding for their technology arm.  Watergraphics suggested to use a part of radiant life's name and integrate into more of a technology title.  Company names that end in the hard 'k' sound are stronger and make impact (in English speaking countries) --something about that 'ACK' we like.  So, RADTEK was created.
First WATER asked Radiant Life to provide a creative brief of what they wanted their brand to say and here's what they provided:

    - we have a broad base of experience AND we are up to date on a wide range of technologies
    - our experience saves time and money on projects
    - we can help lead your whole team, and transfer techniques and strategies for long-term improvements
    - we can easily communicate and work with all levels and areas of your business
expertise * efficiency * effective, easy communications


Watergraphics just finished this logo-type.  Guess what this company does.

Proper branding can result in higher sales of not only one product, but on other products associated with that brand. For example, if a customer loves Paul Newman's  salsa and trusts the brand, she is more likely to try other products offered by the company such as chocolate chip cookies. Brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: customers, staff, partners, investors etc.

It's not rocket-science, fo sho...  it's just my business.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover?

Loving this. It's the delicious Book Cover Archive - "an archive of book cover designs and designers, for the purpose of appreciation and categorization".

If you're on the verge of designing a book cover --here's your plan::

Establish a principal focus for the cover—Nothing is more important. Your book is about something, and the cover ought to reflect that one idea clearly.

Cover Design Guideline
  1. One element to take control, that commands the overwhelming majority of attention, of space and cover's emphasis. Your book cover is a billboard, trying to catch the attention of browsers as they speed by. Billboards usually have 6 words or less. You have to “get it” at 60 miles per hour, in 3 to 5 seconds.

    A book cover needs to do the same thing. At a glance your prospect ought to know;

    • the genre of your book,
    • the general subject matter or focus, and
    • some idea of the tone or “ambiance” of the book.

    Is it a thriller? A software manual? A memoir of your time in Fiji? Your ideas on reform of the monetary system? Each of these books needs a cover that tells at a glance what the book is about.

  2. Make everything count—If you'e going to introduce a graphic element, make sure it helps you communicate with the reader.
  3. Use the background—General rule is to avoid white backgrounds, because it disappears on retailer’s white screens. Use a color, a texture, or a background illustration instead. --but oh how I looove clean + white striking designs --ding dang.
  4. Make your title large—Reduce your cover design on screen to the size of a thumbnail on Amazon and see if you can read it. Can you make out what it’s about? If not, simplify.
  5. Use a font that’s easy to read—See above. There’s no sense using a font that’s unreadable when it’s radically reduced. Particularly watch out for script typefaces, the kind that look lacy and elegant at full size. They often disappear when small.
  6. Find images that clarify—Try not to be too literal. Look for something that expresses the mood, historical period, or overall tone of the book; provide a context.
  7. Stay with a few colors—If you don’t feel comfortable picking colors, look at some of the color palettes available online to get a selection of colors that will work well together.
So, YES! You can judge a book by its cover --we all do it {okay I don't know about you, I'll just speak for my designer-self, YES I CAN!}

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