When you approach product packaging, where do you start?
These statements define what’s unique about your product relative to the competition. Knowing and articulating this is the foundation for all copy – packaging no less.
The best way to come up with a value proposition that sells is to source it from your customers. The process described by Conversion XL is what we use with 90% of our conversion copywriting clients. (Either surveying or mining customer insight from comments online.)
If you’re not there yet, and if you’re pressed to come up with packaging fast, you can do what I did for Heavenly Sleep Liquid Melatonin.
Background: Package Copywriting and Design Issues
Heavenly Sleep is a brand by Natural Calm Canada. It’s one of their early products, and some eight years on, the packaging was in need of a refresh.
The client decided to add a carton over the glass bottle, for better display on the shelf and to create more space for persuasive copy. The original bottle label had barely any copy, aside from the basic requirements – there simply wasn’t space.
Heavenly Sleep has been a success in mass/mainstream retail despite not having a formal concept or value proposition. No doubt the strong sales have to do with the Natural Calm reputation.
But good sales can always be better sales, and packaging can help.
When asked to write the new carton copy, I was starting with a near-blank slate. There were two sources of product copy in-house: brochures and the product license.
The brochure set out solid reasons for using melatonin but didn’t give consumers a reason to use Heavenly Sleep, specifically.
Natural health product licenses are even less salesy. They’re the most conservative source of copy and tend to be technical. A natural product’s package copy can’t veer too far from the license, but it shouldn’t be a mirror image or it won’t resonate with consumers. I wanted to see how far we could boost the copy while remaining compliant.
Complete Packing Rewrite and Redesign
When you need to know whether natural health product packaging claims will be Health Canada compliant, you can use a regulatory consultant. Natural Calm Canada uses Dicentra. They review the copy, identify and rank the risks, from low to high.
In this case, for reasons of time, mostly, we chose to skip the regulatory review. I felt we could assess the lines of safety by looking at what other major natural health brands were using on their melatonin packaging.
Here’s what I did:
- Copied the official ‘claims’ from the Heavenly Sleep product license onto my scratchpad
- Reviewed and snapped pics of other melatonin packaging (via an in-person store visit, because there’s no substitute for actually seeing 3-D packages on-shelf)
- Pulled copy from the same brands’ websites for close scrutiny
- Compared all of these copy sources in a single document
- Highlighted the points that were most persuasive (the strongest benefits and features)
- Discussed and ranked these points with the client
- Used the best points as inspiration to write all-new copy for the Heavenly Sleep package
The point is never to copy from competitors. We audit competitor packaging so we know what benchmark we have to beat.
In the process of checking out other brands, you’ll also get ideas about design. You want your packaging to stand out on shelves, so it should be visually differentiated.
I took inspiration from sleep-related brands in other categories and we used those to brief the design agency, BCG.
Results: Packaging Copy and Design that Sells More Product
Below is the all-new Heavenly Sleep packaging, complete with new logo and branding.
Looks great, right? BCG did an excellent job with the creative.
As for the copy, I’m thrilled it gives every possible cue to choose Heavenly Sleep over other sleep remedies and other melatonin products.
Aside from the benefit points clearly visible on the front of the carton, under Recommended Use (on the side of the carton) we now say:
These are powerful statements but still grounded in the license and the science.
We’ve also now included what isn’t in the product: no wheat, gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs, artificial sweeteners, soy, nuts, GMO ingredients. These exclusions are almost as important to consumers today as what is in the product.
Finally, I added the number of doses beside the package volume. This helps consumers make a quick calculation about the value of the product: 60 great nights of sleep for a suggested retail price of well under $20.00!
The new copy adds only a very few words but makes a much bigger impact.
If you need help with your product packaging copy, drop me a line to discuss.