Just a little more creativity! The power of Packaging

Have you ever bought a product because the packaging made you smile, laugh, or amazed you? Have you ever kept empty bottles, collected limited editions, or taken a photograph of a product because of the very same reasons?  

professor giving lecture
Ilse Godts from Erasmus Hogeschool, during her lecture at CEU Valencia

This is the power of packaging and what Ilse Godts advocates: less banality, more creativity. She came all the way from the Erasmus University College Brussels in Belgium to share her vision of packaging for the International Days at CEU Valencia. On this occasion, the Pathway students in Communication and Advertising got the opportunity to exchange with her on Monday 25th. 

Realizing the potential of packaging

The lecture started with a remark: it is getting more and more difficult to get the attention of the consumer nowadays. She made the students realize that packaging was an easy way to do so: with different colours, design or tone, the product can stand out on the shelves. “Why is packaging underused?” Ilse Godts wonders, “There is so much potential!”.

Why is it then? Students learned that money or legal obligations did not have much weight. Indeed, most changes only require a little inspiration and often not much money. As for the legal aspect, the way of displaying the information doesn’t “have to be that boring”, according to the lecturer.  

“That’s my dream: to have more products using just a little bit more inspiration!”

The main reason is rooted in the “Packaging Dilemma”: conforming or disrupting. Conforming is the easy choice: by abiding by the rules, you can’t be misunderstood; but you won’t stand out. On the contrary, disrupting can be dangerous: the consumer may not identify the product as what it actually is. Still, Ilse Godst said: “That’s my dream: to have more products just using a little bit more inspiration!”.

students interacting with professor
International experts are always welcome to come to CEU Valencia!

Make a change

And she showed this to our students. With a series of photos of traditional packages followed by their creative equivalents, she made her point: it doesn’t have to be banal. Then, she gave Pathway students 16 strategies used to change a packaging for something different and more engaging:

  1. Reinforce the claim 
  2. Show you’re ethical 
  3. Make it simple 
  4. Release the consumer from guilt 
  5. Inspire the consumer 
  6. Make something happen/give use to the package in itself 
  7. Use different ways to display the product on the shelves 
  8. Link it (to events…) 
  9. Facilitate what the consumer wants to do 
  10. Seduce the consumer 
  11. Make the consumer have fun 
  12. Create something beautiful
  13. Make the consumer smile 
  14. Tell a story 
  15. Let the consumer play 
  16. Involve the consumer 

Finally, the lecture ended with a real case showing that a simple change in packaging can make a great difference for brands: create engagement, share brand values and raise sales. “It was amazing” Ivonne, Pathway student in Advertising said about the lecture, “I didn’t know packaging could be so important for a brand to connect with the audience!”.

Students in a classroom
A great session to kick off our International Days on Creativity

Our students were truly inspired by the talk and learned a lot. As they are studying an international path, they had the chance to share the cultural differences in Packaging. They left the classroom with a smile, and the head full of ideas to change how Packaging is made today…

Thank you for this lecture, Ilse Godts, it was very inspiring!


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