The role of packaging is to be the silent salesman, according to Vickie VanHurley, Ph.D. and Package Design Team Supervisor for Meijer. Being a regular Meijer shopper, I recently reached out to Vickie to engage her in a packaging methodology dialogue. Frankly, I wanted to know why they made the private label potato chip bag dark green. What was the insight?
But Vickie works in general merchandise, and while my question on chip insights goes unanswered for now, we had a great discussion on the role of insights in packaging.
Meijer moves fast in private brand product development, and Vickie’s team rarely has the luxury time to complete in-store testing. The company relies on the prowess of the entire team and its ability to write an insightful branding statement as the creative direction for any private brand packaging in the general merchandise area.
Vickie’s job is to interpret an emotional connection to desire for the product and translate it to the shopper via packaging as if she were the sales associate telling you the story at the point of purchase. She wants you to feel something visceral, but she doesn’t get as much space as the ad and display designers. But working as a team gives her the opportunity to “nail it” on packaging, sometimes using just a wrapper.
So I journeyed to the aisles of Meijer to see what examples I could find of Vickie’s craft in action. And find them I did. Although the temp outside was only 38 chilly degrees, I felt The Summer of Color connection in an warm and sunny manner. The silent salesman spoke to my desire to update my kitchen and linen closets with fresh, fun items to add pops of excitement to my summer entertaining. The entire concept was visually stimulating, from display to packaging to the products themselves. Even the beach towels were inspiring. Take a look at how integrated all of the elements are!
Vickie’s team is doing a great job with the Katie Brown line of home accessories as well. The display and packaging instantly conveys a sort of stylized, rustic yet approachable vibe. “Simply at Meijer” and what look to be an updated version: “Keeping it simple at Meijer” is a nice packaging tagline that assures the shopper she’s going to get it right without too much fuss and distress. I also loved the cutout towel wrapper, allowing just one more hint of saturated color to peep through the cutout. That silent salesman is telling me that the up-market design cues are an important part of feeling good about buying home furnishings at Meijer.
I can’t wait to see more of what this team is up to. Vickie and her crew obviously get it when it comes to arming the silent salesman with what to say to shoppers without uttering one spoken word. They’ll show us more at the Shopper Insights conference in July. I hope they bring some sample products of the new DRINK line for the cocktail party!