The Role of Instagram in Package Design

With Instagram being one of the first places consumers will see your brand’s main face to the world (its packaging), how can brands optimize this platform to work as hard for them as good in-store shelf presence does? There are considered ways that brands can use the power of social media to evoke an emotional tribal call to your consumers rather than becoming something people mindlessly scroll past.

In a platform that is filled with clutter, you must find ways to leverage Instagram to give your brand a unique perspective and lure consumers in by both standing out and fitting in.

The first step to success is to identify your brand’s voice and brand promise; this should be the blood that pulses through everything you do on Instagram – from stories to posts to direct messages. This is most important because Instagram is where your package goes from being the most interesting on shelf to something that makes people feel cool when they’re showing it off on their own feed. Instagram is all about what people choose to signal to the outside world – where your product needs to go from visually striking in a two-second scroll to being by consumers signaling a message to their own followers.

After you have clear vision of your brand’s tone, voice and ethos, you can begin thinking about how to best approach Instagram.

How To Launch a Well-Designed Product on Instagram

  1. Do your research. Yes – stare at your phone for a while. When designing a package to stand out on a retail shelf, your main sources of competition are the other brands that your package will sit next too, but Instagram is a totally different playing field. You will need to research what accounts your ideal consumers follow to know what makes them mentally invest in a brand. Also use competitive research as a benchmark on how to zag away from competitor accounts as a way to catch and keep their attention.
  2. Aesthetic is important but not everything. Your social media is an opportunity to sell a potential consumer on your brand’s promise and make them want to feel like they NEED to be a part of tribe. In doing so, the aesthetics of your posts should mimic your packaging in emotive cues, but remember that your words matter too. It’s important to move beyond the pack to create a 360 brand experience rather than simply following what’s on trend at the moment. This extends beyond the story that is told in photos, but also how you communicate with your followers. By responding to their comments in a timely manner and in an on-brand tone of voice you signal to them that their loyalty means the world to you, and in turn they will be more likely to sing your praises to others.
  3. Where package design in concerned, consider its “thumbnail-ability”. Instagram is becoming one of the biggest purchase drivers for retail brands with its new feature to allow consumers to purchase directly from the app or connect to an e-commerce site. Making sure that your product communicates all that it needs to in the right size and format – which in this case, is a small, thumb-sized image. From a visual communication standpoint, beyond just showing how the pack looks and functions, brands should be demonstrating the brand promise, key benefits, and the product name in a beautiful way — whether through photography or videography. You have two seconds to wow them and pull them in. Challenge accepted.

While keeping all these key factors in mind, know that you have such a unique power to positively impact billions of people with your brand if you use Instagram correctly. With the amount of reach available with Instagram, your message can travel extremely far in the blink of an eye. Just remember that consistency in imagery and messaging is a key factor in conveying authenticity, which is most sought after in this sphere. Make sure you use that power wisely.