Packaging in Social Media

I worked with our editorial intern, Christa MacDonald, in putting this article together outlining the importance packaging in social media has on brands.

Original Post at Design Packaging

Brands are beginning to realize the marketing power behind their packaging design paired with social media campaigns as a powerful tool for major brands, especially in beauty and fashion.

As seasonal releases become less prominent and companies transition from a 4 season model to a 52 week model for product release, it’s imperative to develop solid packaging designs. Packaging should creates a sense of anticipation and excitement for the product that lies within, but much more than that, it should convey the brand message in a snapshot. Brands continue to shift marketing budgets to social media, specifically Instagram, over other platforms to easily deliver that branded photo opportunity. Beauty and fashion brands continues to see an uptick in consumer generated social media content, as industries are creating more interesting and exciting packaging experiences in order to entice consumers and create brand awareness.

New merchandise is being put in stores at such a rapid rate that the packaging must become the foundation for brand identities as seen with brands like; Forever 21, Madewell, H&M, and Gap.

Packaging entices at point of sale, and the excitement lasts even after a customer has left the store. The anticipation continues until they get home and open their shopping bag and box. The excitement associated with the final phase of revealing the purchase drives consumers to share this experience online, and influencing future purchasing decision of their followers. Well-designed packaging has increasingly made appearances on social media. Companies spend generous amounts of money for advertising, however, the social following of the company creates advertising that costs nothing at all. This modern “word of mouth” method is free marketing that generates eCommerce as well as in-store sales.

“Haul” videos, where one purchases a large amount of product from one or multiple stores, and then unpacks the bag for their viewers, are incredibly popular. These videos get the viewer excited to buy products for themselves, and give them a peek into the experience of shopping with a particular brand. Packaged products are flashed at the camera creating visual memory markers for the viewer. Packaging identifiers such as it’s shape, color and logo becomes easily identifiable to on-shelf or online recognition and triggers the memory of the video.

Scrolling through Instagram and seeing a product beautifully packaged with an endorsement from an influencer adds to this free marketing. Often the product is tagged to the brand’s profile or linked or to an online store where it can be purchased at the click of a button.


Companies are integrating their existing packaging into Instagram by photographing the packaging as a lifestyle shot such as the above Marc Jacobs image. These photos give context to the product, and market a lifestyle beyond the package itself. For example Tonic Maison, a product that makes 25 drinks, may be staged at a party or picnic with emphasis on the amount of the product and that it is meant to be shared with friends, selling the product as a form of entertainment.

These photos inadvertently show consumers how to style and photograph their own shots before sharing the product online. This can create a more concise brand identity when your best representatives are your customers. New industries using packaging are also starting to appear outside fashion. Spirits like Amber Brew, Tonic Maison, and Bush Tea are putting emphasis on the packaging of the product and gaining momentum on social media for praise of the design, and product itself.

Beauty brands have played a major role in using packaging as a selling point. Brands like The Balm CosmeticsBenefit Cosmetics, and Kat Von D Beauty are using cosmetics packaging to gain social media attention. Beauty brands are immensely popular on instagram, and makeup artists, Youtube influencers, and customers seek out products that are not only useful, but have packaging that makes them easy to use and display.

Packaging continues to make its way into popular social media outlets with constant exposure to sites like Instagram and Youtube. Products put out on the web have potential to grow a large following, and become a powerful marketing tool. Packaging design ranges from shockingly innovative, to stunningly beautiful – if it’s impactful and works for the customer, it can trend in an instant.