Packaging & Perception

There's an excellent post over on Design Gazette looking at the champion of design that is Nespresso, Nestlé's capsule coffee brand.

I have two Nespresso machines; one in the office, one at home. I'm a sucker, having fallen for the Nespresso pitch even though I know I could buy the same quality ground coffee in a bag from Asda/Wallmart and produce a decent cup of coffee at a fraction of the cost.

I've fallen for the pitch because Nespresso are teaching us all a masterclass in effective packaging and product perception. Or because I'm stupid, but let's not go there.

By surrounding their very basic offering of a cup of half-decent coffee with props like attractively coloured capsules, shiny machines, nice stores (just rare enough to appear exclusive) and George Clooney adverts (all men want to be George Clooney)  they are aligning with the cool coffee shop culture we'd all like to think we'd fit in to. If such a culture existed. Which it doesn't.


Nespresso is cool.

Nespresso is cool.

In pursuit of our unatainable dream of cool we're willing to pay £3+ for a cup of coffee in Starbucks or Cafe Nero, so 26p per Nespresso capsule for a bit of cool at home appears to be a bargain. Of course we could make a cup of coffee at home for considerably less but it's just not as cool, is it?


Other ways of producing coffee are not cool.

Other ways of producing coffee are not cool.

Nespresso understand what so many is businesses seem to forget, that beyond a certain level of competence or quality, nearly every part of the decision to buy is based on perception.

Perception, perception, perception

There are many companies out there who, if they assigned a fraction of the effort they devote to stuffing a product with more features into ensuring that the product is packaged and presented correctly, would be a lot more successful than they currently are.

Of course you have to get the product right but the supporting material (from nice shops to decent packaging and documentation) will skew the customers perception of the product before they get around to tasting it, installing it, plugging it in or driving it.