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Packaging Concierge

By AICC Staff

March 12, 2020

width=197Around the world, in some of our larger cities and finer hotels, exists a group of professionals whose sole job is to astound and amaze their guests. Their job is to do the impossible on a regular basis and to do it with a flair, creativity, and competence that most mortals cannot marshal. When asked to perform the impossible, they think abstractly, employ nonlinear sequencing, and occasionally venture outside the bounds of normal convention to solve problems. More and more hospitality companies are creating new positions to manage the customer experience and build customer satisfaction and loyalty.

In the hotel industry, this person is known as the concierge, from the Latin word for “to serve.” In the packaging world, these people are known as your design and production teams, from the American phrase “to solve the problem, stay within budget, and make magic happen—quickly.”

The Art of Listening

Much like a great concierge, great designers and product managers must have the ability to really listen and understand the stated and unstated expectations of the client. This skill is a critical first step to exceeding customer expectations. The design team has to listen intently for what is said and, just as importantly, what is not said to build the best possible solution.

Details matter. In the ever-shrinking timespan between concept and delivery, modifications to materials, structure, shape, graphics, and manufacturing requirements have to be constantly adjusted and tested to ensure that what your client is expecting is what your client receives. Color is increasingly important in conveying a specific emotional response to a package design, and with the advent of digital printing, the customization can be geared to microdemographic groups, compounding manufacturing and distribution that the industry never had to deal with before.

Culture of Detail

Easy-open or tear-tape designs have to work every single time to ensure that nothing interferes with the overall value proposition. Packaging targeting specific demographic and geographic markets complicates manufacturing and distribution. The way the package opens and how the contents are organized are critical to the overall experience. Where components are located creates an overall esthetic that cannot be overstated. Nothing should look hurried or out of place. There should be exactly the number of components to do the job. No more. No less.

No detail is insignificant. Colors need to be the exact shade to convey the proper message. The success or failure of a microdemographic campaign may well succeed or fail based solely on getting the exact shade of a national symbol correct.

Enhancing the Experience

In your personal life, why do you go to the stores, restaurants, and shops that you visit? There may be many reasons, but when you break it down to the basics, you go there because you feel you receive value and quality for your hard-earned money.

You also look for vendors that stand behind their product. Seeing how quickly a vendor handles a problem tells you more about the company’s commitment to your satisfaction than just about anything else.

Your customers look for that very same value proposition when deciding to do business with you. Everything you do to make the client’s experience more enjoyable, easier to transact, and predictable all works to the clients’ benefit—yours as well.

The concierge mindset is challenging to master. It requires constant attention to the market, trends, competition, and your customers, machinery and a vigilant attention to detail. It forces you to be ever aware of the little differences that separate very good from exceptional. When your practice becomes habit, you can do wonderous things.

width=150John Clark is director of analytics at Amtech Software. He can be reached at