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Using packaging to bring customer participation marketing to a new level

by Greiner Packaging
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© Greiner Packaging

In a study by Nielsen, a global retail analysis showed increased sales for brands with sustainability claims on the packaging or active marketing of corporate social responsibility. The study tells us that, “Some fifty-two percent of global respondents in the survey say their purchase decisions are partly dependent on the packaging—they check the labeling first before buying to ensure the brand is committed to positive social and environmental impact.”

Two companies, in particular, stand out in the practice of using packaging to engage customers through participation marketing. Let’s look at how Coca-Cola and Yoplait have built brand loyalty, and ultimately driven greater revenue, by tugging at consumers’ heartstrings.

Coca-Cola employed an emotionally resonant campaign
According to marketing firm Marketo, the average person in the United States drinks the equivalent of 275 (12 oz.) cans of Coke per year. So a company like Coca-Cola, which has already won over most of the people in the United States, naturally shifts its marketing focus away from immediate sales transactions and towards a more long-term emotional connection with consumers. Through a series of innovative campaigns, Coca-Cola has demonstrated that emotionally resonant marketing creates loyalty among customers, which, in turn, sells more Coca-Cola.

For example, the company’s Share a Coke campaign (replacing the logos on Coke cans with popular names) encourages customers to share a Coke with a friend. Essentially, Coke is inviting buyers to participate in a massive social/referral marketing experience.

The campaign generated huge customer participation, particularly online—there are a whopping 341,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #ShareaCoke. Coca-Cola also reported that 96 percent of consumer sentiment toward the campaign is either positive or neutral.

In the UK, Coca-Cola racked up these impressive stats:

  • More than one thousand names on its bottles
  • 998 million impressions on Twitter
  • 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag
  • More than 150 million personalized bottles sold
  • More than 730,000 glass bottles personalized via the e-commerce store
  • 17,000 virtual name bottles shared online across Europe
  • 65 experiential stops on the Share a Coke tour

The company actually created a new font, called You, inspired by the Coca-Cola logo, for its Share a Coke labels. The campaign won seven awards at the 2012 Cannes Lions festival and has been launched in more than 70 countries.

According to Chris Ross, Senior Brand Activation Manager at Coca-Cola, “Share a Coke is about taking our global brand and making it personal to our consumers, giving them the chance to share a personalized Coke with friends or loved ones and creating special moments of happiness, and memories.” It doesn’t get any more personal than that.

Yoplait partners with consumers to help save lives
Another great example of packaging and customer participation marketing is Yoplait’s annual Save Lids to Save Lives program. Yoplait donates 10 cents to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for every pink foil yogurt lid that is mailed back to the company. Through Save Lids to Save Lives, in place since 1997, Yoplait consumers have redeemed hundreds of millions of lids.

This campaign encourages customers to engage with Yoplait, and with a cause they identify with and want to support. Yoplait is building brand loyalty—when customers are actively engaged with the Save Lids to Save Lives campaign, they are far more likely to purchase Yoplait and become brand advocates, encouraging others to purchase Yoplait as well. In fact, the company’s Save Lids to Save Lives slogan “We believe in the goodness of yogurt, but even more we believe in the goodness of people” goes straight to the heart.

This year, Yoplait expanded the campaign to include Bright Pink and Living Beyond Breast Cancer and will donate up to $350,000 to the three organizations. To make the campaign even more personal, the company also tracks zip codes from lids redeemed to ensure donations go back to breast cancer outreach and research programs in local communities.

The takeaway
In today’s socially conscious, globally connected marketplace, companies must shift their focus from solely acquiring new customers to engaging them throughout the product lifecycle and beyond, and creative packaging is a proven tactic for accomplishing this goal. Continuous engagement helps solidify the company-consumer relationship, yielding lifelong buyers and powerful product advocates.

If you’d like to learn more about keeping your customers engaged with innovative packaging options, we’d like to offer you a complimentary copy of our eBook, Greiner Packaging’s Customer engagement and the value of product packaging.

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