For decades, the big guys have been successful in marketing on their name alone, touting that they are the brand generations have trusted. Their products are proven to work and people continue to buy them because that's what they were raised on. Your brand too can be a name they trust but that trust will first need to be developed.
There has been a notable movement towards the local and organic selections. Organic sections in the grocery store are growing and some products are migrating to the regular isle. On the heels of movies such as Food, Inc. and King Corn people are trying to enlighten themselves on the origins of the products they buy. They're reading the labels, visiting websites, and if well earned, giving you the much coveted "thumbs up" on Facebook.
Where do you start? Your biggest marketing angle in the beginning is you. Where did the idea first take root and how did you grow? Where are your products made and what kind of people make them? What kind of environment are your products produced in? Is it a happy one? When your product is still one in a sea of many, you need to lay it all out.
Developing a loyal customer following is often similar to forging a friendship. You need to be interesting of course. A sense of humor wouldn't hurt. Perhaps a joke or funny quip on the label? Shopping can be a boring task so why not entertain them as their slogging through the isles? Appeal to their sensitive and empathetic nature and tug on their heart strings a bit. Do you have a charity that your company actively supports? Will a portion of proceeds go towards that charity? Encourage customers to check out your Facebook page and website. Take note from Chiquita Bananas, in 2010 they asked their customers to submit their own designs for their infamous blue banana sticker. Customers then voted on their favorite from the 50 finalists. The campaign targeted a younger demographic and earned customer loyalty by allowing them to participate in defining their brand.
How can all this be reflected in your packaging? You need to develop an identity. Give them colors and a logo that will be easily recognizable for repeat visits down the isle. Once they've spent the time getting to know you, they should be able to find you when they need to. Think about what you believe in as a company and make sure your package and decoration reflect those beliefs. If your product has natural or local ingredients then best to choose packaging that is locally manufactured as well. Be transparent in all aspects. Offer company insight on the label and package it in a clear PET or glass container so your customers can see what they're getting.
Don't be afraid to let it all hang out. Often in an attempt to tell people all the wonders of your product you forget to share why you care so much. Your product is your passion and you worked hard to bring it to market. Your packaging just like yourself should leave a memorable first impression.