Role of Packaging in Marketing Product and Organisation


Prof. Dileep Kumar M.


Packaging is now generally regarded as an essential component of our modern life style and the way business is organized. Packaging is the enclosing of a physical object, typically a product that will be offered for sale. It is the process of preparing items of equipment for transportation and storage and which embraces preservation, identification and packaging of products. Packing is recognized as an integral part of modern marketing operation, which embraces all phases of activities involved in the transfer of goods and services from the manufacturer to the consumer. Packaging is an important part of the branding process as it plays a role in communicating the image and identity of a company.

How can we define Packaging?

Kotler defines packaging as "all the activities of designing and producing the container for a product." Packaging can be defined as the wrapping material around a consumer item that serves to contain, identify, describe, protect, display, promote, and otherwise make the product marketable and keep it clean.  Packaging is the outer wrapping of a product. It is the intended purpose of the packaging to make a product readily sellable as well as to protect it against damage and prevent it from deterioration while storing. Furthermore the packaging is often the most relevant element of a trademark and conduces to advertising or communication.

Functional Requirements

1. Protection and preservation

A basic function of package is to protect and preserve the contents during transit from the manufacturer to the ultimate consumer. It is the protection during transport and distribution; From climatic effects (heat and cold, moisture, vapour, drying atmospheres); from hazardous substances and contaminants; and from infestation. Protection is required against transportation hazards spillage, dirt, ingress and egress of moisture, insect infection, contamination by foreign material, tampering pilferage etc. A package should preserve the contents in 'Factory Fresh' condition during the period of storage and transportation, ensuring protection from bacteriological attacks, chemical reaction etc.

2. Containment

Most products must be contained before they can be moved from one place to another. To function successfully, the package must contain the product. This containment function of packaging makes a huge contribution to protecting the environment. A better packaging help to maintain the quality of the product and reachability of the product in the consumer's hand without spillages It gives better image to the organisation.

3. Communication

A major function of packaging is the communication of the product. A package must communicate what it sells. When international trade is involved and different languages are spoken, the use of unambiguous, readily understood symbols on the distribution package is essential. It is the interest further that to get appropriate communication to the consumer about the product, how to use it and other utility informations. Packaging protects the interests of consumers. Information includes: quantity; price; inventory levels; lot number; distribution routes; size; elapsed time since packaging; colour; and merchandising and premium data.

Types of packaging

An important distinction is to be made here between two types of packaging

o Transport packing: The product entering in to the trade need to be packed well enough to protect against loss damage during handling, transport and storage. Eg: fiberboard, wooden crate etc.

o Consumer Packing: This packaging holds the required volume of the product for ultimate consumption and is more relevant in marketing. Eg: beverages, tobacco etc.

Hazards of Transport

There are four main hazards of transport

* Drops and impacts
* Compression forces
* Vibration
* Climatic variations

Various Mechanical Tests

o Drop Test: This test help to measure the ability of the container and inside packing materials to provide protection to its contents and to measure the ability of the container to withstand rough handling.

o Vibration Test: This test is to determine the ability of the container to withstand vibration and the protection offered by materials used for interior packing.

o Compression Test: This test is carried out, generally, on empty containers, to measure the ability of the container to resists external compressive loads applied to faces or applied to diagonally opposite edges or corners.

o Inclined Impact Test: This test help to study the extend of damage in a way of crushing, breaking, cracking, distortion, and shifting during handling storage and transport which occurs to the container and its content.

o Rolling Test: This test helps to evaluate the overall strength of the container and the cushioning material provided inside and any failure of the content.

o Drum test: This test help to evaluate loaded shipping containers with respect to general overall durability and for the protection afforded to the contents against certain hazards of handling and shipment.

Various Climatic Tests

o Rain Test: This test is conducted in a simulated rain condition to assess its impact on the test area for two hours.

o Sand and Dust Test: This test is to evaluate the resistance of a package to the penetration of sand and dust.

o Salt Spray Test: This test is to evaluate the resistance of a package to corrosion by salt spray and to serve as a general standard for corrosion.

o Fungus Resistance Test: This test is to evaluate all the materials used in the fabrication of shipping containers for fungus resistance.

Importance of Cushion Materials

Cushioning is that part of packaging, which protects the article from damage due to shock and vibration. The main functions of cushioning materials can be detailed as follows:

o Shock protection against vibration

o Protection against abrasion

o Protection of grease proof and water proof barriers at ponut of contact with solid blocks

o Protection of moisture vapour barriers at points of contact with sharp edges of the article itself.

o Protection of small projections

o Filling of void space in the container

o Other secondary purposes

Packaging Cost

The most important aspect when we look into packaging is the packaging cost. Packaging cost include the following:

* Material cost: It means the cost of the pack and quality control cost.

* Storage and handling cost of empty packages: This include the handling cost of bulky packages, heavy materials of construction, drums etc.

* Packaging operation costs: This includes the cost involved in operations like, cleaning the package product filling closing, labeling unitizing, stenciling, handling cylindrical slums etc. 

* Storage of filled packages: This includes the cost incurred to shift the goods from one form of packaging to another.

* Transportation cost of filled packages: This involves the transportation cost by sea, air etc. (freight by volume)

* Loss and Damage cost: It is related to the loss and damage during operation, transportation delivery etc.

* Insurance cost:  It varies depending on the vulnerability of package

* Effect of packages on sales: The package that influence on sales.

* Obsolescence Cost: This cost involves when changes in the packaging materials, packages and labels happen.

* Package developmental cost: This include the evaluation cost, pilot test cost, field testing cost, consumer research cost, feed back cost, final trial cost etc.

Importance of packaging: An Overview

Some of the major significance of packaging can be detailed as follows:

* Can make a product more convenient to use or store, easier to identify or promote or to send out a message.

* Can make the important difference to a marketing strategy by meeting customers' needs better.

* Packaging plays a key role in brand promotion and management. Packaging is of great importance in the final choice the consumer will make, because it directly involves convenience, appeal, information and branding.

* The paramount concern of packaging is the reachability of the product without any damage. No matter where and how the products are transported or shipped, they arrive at the customer's door in working condition without need of repair or adjustment.

* Packaging is especially important in certain industry where future sales may be based largely on the quality, integrity and performance of a company's previous delivery.


The significance of packaging has come to be increasingly recognized in export as well as in marketing of a wide range of consumer goods and industrial products within the country. The volume of exports depends not only on the quantity of the production and prices, but also to a substantial extends on the standards of packaging adopted for the products. Goods damaged in transit or arriving at the destination in an unacceptable condition tarnishes the reputation of the manufacturer as well as the country as a whole, besides colossal wastage of scarce economic resources. Further, packaging has a crucial role to play in the fetching higher unit values for our consumer goods (like tea and cashew) through the substitution of the bulk packs by consumer packs. In the recent past packaging has been increasingly recognized as a significant factor in the nations export promotion effort. Effort should be there to understand the importance of packaging there by to avoid the loss and damage cost incurred during transport and delivery. Keep in mind that a conscious effort on the part of marketing managers can increase the volume of sales and there by improve the reputation of the product and organisation. 


1. Bell, J. (2001) 'Redesigning new product packaging takes scientific approach', in Columbus Business Post.

2. Cavusgil, S.T., (1993), "Preparing for export Marketing", International Forum, Vol.2. pp. 16-19.

3. Cooper, A. (1979) 'Packaging is more than a marketing tool', in Graphics World Oct pp.42-47

4. Fairley, M. (1987) 'Labelling Leads', in Graphics World Mar-Apr pp.38-41

5. Guise, B. (1977) 'Supermarket packaging', in Graphics World Dec 77- Jan 78 pp.48-50

6. Guise, B. (1979) 'Selling the pack', in Graphics World June pp.53-54

7. Indian Institute of Packaging: Information Materials (1998).

8. Kotler Philip (1999) Marketing Management: Millennium Edition, July.

Prof. Dileep Kumar M.

Source: E-mail May 6, 2006


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