What, indeed, are we paying for?
Over the holidays I was given a tea pack from David’s Tea. There were 12 little tins and a heavily glued box to hold them all in a nice presentation. I wondered if the packaging was worth more then the tea inside? The packaging in this case is their branding. It is telling people if the packaging is this good, think of how special what’s inside is. The issue for me is, if I’m familiar with the brand if what’s inside is good, I don’t want the packaging?
Frankly, I’m not big on David’s fruity teas and I rarely cross the threshold of the store around the corner (if only to see the kinds of mugs they carry). Their packaging is expensive, wasteful, and over the top. This compared to where I buy my tea on a weekly basis (Bridgehead) is a turnoff. If the tea came in little baggies with a sheet with brief tea descriptions, measurements, and steep times I would already be trying it. It can still be branded beautifully but perhaps more conscientiously. While I appreciate the value behind some brand names, the real differentiator has to be the product and some common sense behind it.
That being said, there are an awful lot of us who have effectively been ‘educated' on how to perceive value and the packaging does get sales because it responds to what some perceive as value. In sales, for some that’s all that matters! However, with the news that China this year has stopped buying the world’s waste for recycling, it gives us another reason to consider what we’re spending on. While there is no getting around the fact that we need packaging for transport of many products, and messaging on it can add value (I’d say go for it), the most important thing is providing something that the recipient will like because the quality is there and valued.