Packaging for the new healthcare market

The growth of the healthcare market offers many challenges to the package designer. In order to understand how this market translates to package design, we need to visualize some of the segments within this market, including nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. "Quality-of-life" products have brought steady growth to the nutraceutical market that is expected to continue for several more years. Some of the nutraceutical products are referred to as dietary or nutritional supplements. In some cases they overlap the drug and functional food segments. The key to creating a good nutraceutical package means representing your brand and your product and breaking through the clutter of those retail channels. Here are some tips from The Visionary Package: • Know your competition. Study the market in a variety of shelf situations so your package will not "disappear" on the crowded shelf. • Understand the user of the product and develop a strategy for a brand personality that connects with the user and represents the essence of the brand.

Establish your product point on a scale, which may range from "good taste" at one end through "medicinal" at the other. This is most important, since your package design will reflect what the outside world thinks of your brand and your product.

• Consider a unique package shape. Whether tablet, liquid, grain-based, or other product, it will lead to a decision on the type of packaging to be used. Don't settle for an easy answer. Perhaps a unique bottle shape or a modular carton configuration could make the packaging more effective.

• The brand identity should be recognizable and memorable. Look for a unique name, logo, and color scheme. These elements, along with the styling of the logo, will communicate the brand personality. It can communicate strength, fast-working, mild, etc.

• Graphics should be simple and informative. Packages are small, so make the product understandable with as little copy as possible in order to keep it uncluttered. Avoid unnecessary ancillary elements on the front of the package.

• Use graphics to reflect your price and value strategy.

• Do not overpackage. If you can use a primary package without any overwrap, you save money and contribute to a better environment.

In this issue of Healthcare Packaging, Herbert Meyers and Richard Gerstman begin an exclusive report on package design for healthcare products. Decades-long thought leaders in branding and package design, the two founded Gerstman+Meyers (now Interbrand) in 1970. They've serviced many of the most notable pharmaceutical companies in the world and recently co-authored the book The Visionary Package.

Packaging for nutraceuticals

Herb Meyers reports, "The marketing of nutraceuticals is a fairly recent phenomenon. Many of these products relate to prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The challenges: How to identify these products in relation to their pharmaceutical cousins, how much to differentiate them, and how to identify their benefits."

--By Richard Gerstman
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