Packaging can be just as important to your small business brand as the product inside. Before Coke became the dominant multi-national juggernaut we know today, they were fighting tooth and nail against a sea of imitators looking to cash in on their success.
With names like Take a Cola or my all-time favorite—Cocanola, in the early 1900s competitors were flooding the market with similarly named beverages hoping to deceive customers into buying their products.
And that’s when Coke came up with an idea—a contest to design a glass bottle that would be immediately recognizable and utterly unmistakable. A bottle that customers would be able to recognize in the dark or even if they came across broken pieces on the ground.
Using the gourd-shaped cocoa pod as a source of creative inspiration, the Root Glass company in Terre Haute, Ind., designed the contour bottle that would go on to shape the brand for decades to come. For more of the backstory, check out this quick feature from Sunday Morning on CBS:
Although glass bottles are much harder to come by today than they were in the 1900s, the symbolism of the contour bottle lives on. Since 2006, Coke has included an image of the contour bottle somewhere in all of their product packaging and marketing materials.
By calling upon the imagery of the ridged glass, bowed middle, and curves that made their design famous, they’ve been able to capture the essence of their brand—something they hope will continue to resonate with shoppers as they make those split-second decisions when they’re in the beverage aisle.
When you see rows and rows of product at the local grocery store, it’s easy to forget that Coke was a startup—a small business trying to survive in a hyper-competitive environment a little more than 100 years ago. They knew they had a great product, but it they also knew that wasn’t going to be enough if they were going to find a way to distance themselves from their competitors.
By focusing on the product and the package, they were able to create an experience that’s helped to forge their brand more than 100 years later.
What other companies have created iconic brands with product packaging?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user Adam Wyles]