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British Food Journal

The role of packaging within marketing and value creation
Bo Rundh,
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Vol. 118 Issue: 10, pp.2491-2511, https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2015-0390
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The role of packaging within Packaging
within
marketing and value creation marketing and
value creation
Bo Rundh
Department of Business Administration, Karlstad Business School, 2491
Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
Received 29 October 2015
Revised 17 May 2016
Abstract Accepted 17 May 2016
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the importance of innovative packaging for
marketing purposes in a food supply chain. The intent is also to understand the function of packaging
as a marketing tool. The outcome of the study is expected to contribute to the link between packaging
and marketing literature.
Design/methodology/approach – The case study method was chosen in order to assess and
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investigate how packaging can be used in marketing. The study focuses on narrating the use of
packaging for different customer applications and the unit of analyses was the packaging product.
In order to analyse the five sub-cases or “corporate stories” a cross-case analysis was used and the
analysis of data was carried out in different stages. This approach treats each sub-case as a separate
entity and the analysis reveal both similarities and differences among the sub-cases.
Findings – The present study demonstrates that packaging has become an important tool in
marketing of different products either this is for end-consumers, or customers in a supply chain.
This has become more essential as more products are introduced on a market. The study shows the
significance of linking packaging to marketing strategy. An important ingredient for that is the use
of packaging design for differentiation purposes. The results support also that packaging has
become an essential factor for a secure and efficient distribution in a food supply chain. In addition,
packaging and packaging design is contributing to value creation for different actors in a food
supply chain.
Practical implications – The managerial implication from the case study shows that packaging can
be used together with the product concept to create a competitive offering in a market. This gives
managers the possibility to differentiate their products from competitive offerings by using packaging
and packaging design in a creative manner.
Originality/value – This paper fulfils an identified need for contributions to more research on
packaging and marketing strategy. The study shows the influence of packaging on marketing.
Keywords Marketing, Marketing mix, Packaging
Paper type Case study

Introduction
The modern consumer requires a wide range of products to meet the needs of a
multifaceted lifestyle and food items is one of them. A study by INCPEN (2011) shows
that an average household in UK buys more than 4,000 items of food and other related
products every year and a typical supermarket can carry more than 50,000 product
lines. Since many of these items need to be packed in sales packaging (primary) to
protect and contain them, the demand for effective packaging has increased.
A secondary packaging (cardboard boxes; plastic wrapping; trays) is also used to
group and protect goods during distribution in a supply chain. Customer
requirements have emerged from a fact of increased damages and that products
ought to be packaged that its content is not damaged before it arrives to a British Food Journal
Vol. 118 No. 10, 2016
pp. 2491-2511
The author is grateful for the financial support from Elof Hanssons Stiftelse for fulfilling this © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0007-070X
research and to two anonymous reviewers’ comments to this paper. DOI 10.1108/BFJ-10-2015-0390

Clever designs of packaging and using computer design (software) can provide supplier’s solutions to maximize the number of packaged products per pallet and container load in relation to the final destination. 2008). 1997. Active packaging solutions have also been developed in order to meet customer demands for storage and food safety (Singh et al. The role of packaging has also increased as competition of shelf space has become more important in attracting attention of a product and causing a purchase in a supermarket. 2011). . Hult and Ferrell. This requires different types of packaging materials and solutions depending on the product and physical conditions during transport and distribution in a local market (e.10 been recognized for marketing purposes in generating sales at the point of purchase (Schoormans and Robben.g. More research is therefore needed to improve our knowledge about the dimensions of packaging and its role in creating positive customer Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) perceptions. Another important issue for packaging is for differentiation purposes in marketing working as a communicator in the sales outlet. The outcome from that study resulted in a conceptual framework and drivers behind integrated packaging design. In the next section the findings are discussed and the last section contains the discussion and conclusions from the study. Day (1994) argues that a sound understanding of a market allow firms to develop strategies and capabilities that “respond to market requirements and anticipate changing conditions” (p. 1993. An increasing value of packaging and packaging design has also 118. BFJ final destination. Literature review In marketing literature. 37). (2012) has in a study presented a framework of packaging design based on a literature review with the purpose to improve supply chain efficiency. marketing strategy has been researched by many scholars (e. New solutions with shrink-wrapping have served both to protect goods against damage. The intent is also to understand the function of packaging as a marketing tool. Orth and Malkewitz. From a consumer perspective packaging has become even more important since it is often the first thing a customer will see before it makes its first selection in a supermarket (Ampuero and Vila.g.g.. Slater and Olson. The main purpose with this paper is to explore the importance of innovative packaging for marketing purposes in a food supply chain. This knowledge is received from a thorough assessment of market needs about the use of products and services provided which enables firms to develop a competitive advantage and profitability in the long run. 2012. Tetra Pak) in the supply chain. This paper will therefore discuss the importance of packaging and its role within marketing and value creation. Even though packaging has previously been treated as a part of the product concept it has nowadays become an important variable in marketing strategy. 2001. Varadarajan. Greenley. We therefore address a research gap about the influence of packaging in relation to the marketing concept. However. packaging and packaging design’s strategic role in marketing has 2492 only been recognized in the academic literature in recent years. as well as to diminish the risk of theft. 2006). Packaging and distribution of different products has also been simplified and more efficient by packaging innovations (e. In the next section the theoretical points of departure are discussed followed by the research method. The outcome of the study is expected to contribute to a link between packaging and marketing literature. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. for export of food items). The researchers concluded that packaging design needs to “comprise between all major packaging functions” and considering the role of packaging in a more systematic approach. 2011). Azzi et al.

or to fulfil requirements from partners in a supply chain. material used and whether it can be recycled or reused. Products reaching. Many attempts have also been made to review and assess the extant research on international marketing (Leonidou et al. labelling and information. The multi-function of different packaging solutions is also dependent on the particular supply chain which has undergone tremendous changes. and marketing and the role of packaging in industrial management continues to rise due to increased logistic costs. with the goal of creating and conveying brand impressions and forming consumers perceptions of specific products (Azzi et al. At the same time multinational firms are aiming to standardize packaging systems worldwide (OMAC Packaging Workgroup. These factors can involve the export packaging. Kotler and Keller (2006) are arguing that since the majority of all purchases decisions are made on impulse. Due to lower incomes smaller pack sizes are also needed to make products affordable in emerging markets.and medium-sized firms.. The international marketing literature is also adding dimensions of making business in different business environments. e. Beside the increasing importance of self- service. 2007). tampering resistance and diverse physical and biological needs during distribution in a supply chain. printed instructions about product use or disposal of a product). A food supply chain Previously a food supply chain was regionally and limited to a small area consisting of small. or aimed for other markets than the domestic market. A market entry often requires a thorough analysis and screening procedure before a firm can enter a local export market (Douglas and Craig. value creation improved packaging technology and enhanced environmental regulation (Azzi et al. create consumer confidence. 2012. “the effective package must perform many of the sales tasks: attract attention.. 2005). A further globalization with an increased competition and concentration of primarily retailers has driven the food industry into a .g. 2012).g. 2008). 435). company and brand image.. Packaging in a food supply chain Attractive and functional packaging has become an important competitive advantage in any food supply chain. End-customers can also have packaging requirements that need to be considered from suppliers upstream the supply chain. Especially when addressing primary packaging. whereas “green issues” are playing a greater role in consumers’ purchase decisions in more developed markets (Brown. consumer affluence. is even accumulating other factors that need to be considered from a packaging and marketing point of view. Rundh. The logistic system was fragmented with primarily regional and local reach (Lee et al. 2010). It is also providing information to consumers about product content (e. describe the product’s features. 2011). Packaging (tertiary and primary) provides protection. p. p.g. innovative packaging can Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) contribute to benefits for consumers and profit to actors in a supply chain. and make a favourable overall impression” (p. colour. 2012. A marketing tool contributing to achieve firms’ marketing objectives and customer Packaging satisfaction in the food sector is packaging: within Many authors emphasize the importance of packaging in business strategy (e.g. there is no doubt that the function is 2493 primarily marketing related. 393).. Such analysis should also include packaging requirements since packaging has become an important tool in firms’ marketing activities and need to be adapted in relation to cultural factors in a local market. since consumers have become more concerned about the amount of packaging. labels) and other kind of information (e. 435).

vertically integrated multinationals with huge product diversity and a focus on low cost and efficiency’ […] 2494 ‘More than 80 percent of food sales are delivered via this model. 2012). components. 1998). whereas printed information on the package or by labels can inform the consumer how to use. dimension. differentiation and brand building (Nancarrow et al. recycle or dispose the product and the package (Figure 1). Packaging and the product concept A product is often considered as something that is tangible and can be described in terms of physical attributes in the marketing literature. fresh and safe for the intended shelf life. The product concept is often described in form of physical attributes such as form. Packaging in a food supply chain Converting Logistics and transport packaging . Packaging design and communication can be used to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product at the point of sale.. total product. 333). On the other hand Onkvisit and Shaw (2009) argue that “in many situations both tangible and intangible products must be combined to create a single. Requirements on packaging solutions in a food supply chain An increased globalization within the food industry has also driven actors within a supply chain to search for more efficient logistics and packaging has become an important ingredient to protect and market food products. The 118. 2008. Perhaps the best way to define a product is to describe it as a bundle of utilities or satisfaction” (p..10 effects of this globalization have contributed to the development of new supply chain models within the food industry. 24). Suitable packages can also be designed for the individual household. temperature) but also to product food by barrier protection keeping the content clean. and shape and so on. another research direction has found out that packaging is adding value and has become an important marketing variable in itself for purposes of information and communication. A main function of Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) packaging is physical protection during transport (shock. Packaging design Design Studios Supplier of Filler and packaging Food Retailer material Processor Figure 1. p. vibration. In this context packaging is considered as a part of the product concept. BFJ pressure for a cost reduction throughout the food supply chain (Lee et al. However. and participating organizations consist of large publicly traded or privately held business with both national and global reach’ ” (Roth et al. The typical buying organizations are large. Another objective is containment to group small items in to one package to allow efficient handling in the supply chain. Packages can also include different solutions for security reasons (anti-theft devices such RFID tags or seals to help indicate counterfeit).. “ ‘The model moved beyond regional to include global participation for importing (to reduce costs) and exporting (to generate revenues) in all levels of the chain.

g. value creation Packaging 2495 The main function of packaging is to protect the content from losing its function that a product is intended for. Previous research shows that packaging can influence consumers’ perceptions and evaluation of products (Rettie and Brewer.. shape. e. or a tertiary packaging in the form of a special packaging solution that is necessary for a distant export market. Packages can be developed to have features which add convenience within the distribution but also for opening. colour. The original function of packaging is changing and it is now used as an important Packaging marketing tool to attract attention. Packaging design can be used to utilize the package’s material. Protection include many functions depending on the product area such as protecting the product from shock and vibration. e. for consumer electronics. Raghubir and Greenleaf. e. logistic functions and marketing managers to consider and re-consider their packaging solutions. keeping the content stable from temperature changes during transport. describe the product and its content. Colour and graphics has a significant role in the international marketing in relation to a local cultural context (Aslam. 2001). The package should be able to protect the content either it is a food item that need to be fresh and keep its flavour. The length and time of the distribution will obviously influence the choice of material. This requires that the package has the necessary information about the content. 2000. or for storing in a refrigerator. A fourth area that can be added is the environmental issues in relation to choice of packaging material. 2006). A second important function of packaging is the necessity to inform and promote the content in the package in a local market. Simms and Trott (2010) argue that a new conceptual thinking is necessary in relation to “the generation of new product opportunities through packaging” marketing and (p. Colour and graphics can together be the tools that differentiate the product from its competitors (Schmahl. branding and dimension to make attraction and inform the customer to make a decision in the store or in a retail outlet (Rettie and Brewer. in the form of being easier to carry from the store. A third important area for managers developing packaging is user convenience. customer’s possibilities to re-use the package and the disposal of the package. 398). 2011). Another important aspect is the shape of the package for differentiation purposes which is used. Either this refers to the primary or secondary packaging. All these requirements have forced packaging developers.. This requires that the decision maker Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) consider the materials needed in the package in order to take into account the logistic function and the transit conditions for the package during its transport in the supply chain. or another consumer product such as toothpaste. 2006) and can be used to get their attention (Underwood et al. This gives managers a possibility to differentiate their products from competitive offerings by using packaging design in a creative manner. Azzi et al. Rundh. and make the within sale of a product. This has become a necessity in relation to the individual consumer who has varied and even .g. during its use and for reclosing the package. or clean and sterile from influences in the environment. Packaging and marketing Packaging plays an important role in marketing and can help brand owners and other actors to create a unique position in the marketplace. but also that the language and texture is understandable in a local market.g. 2009. 2012). 2000. in the cosmetic industry and by pharmaceutical companies. This can add value for the end-consumer.

typography and printing technology into the available space on the package. but it is also important for how it can be transported in the secondary packaging. e. seal ability. Absolut Vodka). improve printability. A designer has the possibility to use materials for a package to a Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) certain limit since the material itself has its limits. but can also function in the store for display purposes. The graphic design process of a package is complex and requires different skills and creativity as well as technical expertise. Combinations with other materials and coating and lamination have also increased the possibilities to use board materials for packages of liquid products. The designer can. At the same time it is necessary to consider the increasing environmental issues rose in relation to the use of packaging. Colour is therefore often used for marketing purposes to denote product categories. Visibility. It also requires an understanding of a client’s product and target market (BillerudKorsnäs. b). IKEA packaging solutions). 2013a. Within the Fast Moving Goods (FMCG) industry. 2010). Simms and Trott. colour and graphics since modern printing technology offers new opportunities for a creative design. The shape of the package can attract customer attention. Choosing the right size and shape of a package in relation to material used can cut logistic costs considerably in a supply chain. There is probably no other tool in the package design that can influence the consumer’s mind more than the colour on the package. colour. cultural meanings and emotional associations (Aslam. This is translated and visualized by a combination of shape. e. A design of a visionary package can have many influences and an important one for packages has been the inspiration from art. but also have an interest in trying new tastes and 118. New development of pulp has increased the possibilities to build a packaging board with different properties depending on the end-use of the material. BFJ conflicting preferences and desires. Singh.g. The coated substances can protect the product against light. 2000). shape..g. grease and heat. a secondary package does not only function during the transport for collecting the primary packaging. Graphics. However. A flat package can save space on a pallet and in a container (compare. In this context we are mainly discussing packages based on board material which is renewable and can be recycled. 2011. When determining possible colour options managers need to consider the meaning of different colours in relation to the cultural context in a local export market. humidity. Colour is a powerful tool that can identify a brand or tell us something about the nature of the product. but also depending on the characteristics of the packaged product. Colour. 2011). Underwood et al. The selection of the right material and coating not only protect the product but can even save material. or from the product history (e.. Material.g. oxygen. simplifies the converting and packaging and reduces waste (Stora Enso. The graphics need to support the information and . Another important tool for a designer and the marketer is the shape of the package. brand owners introduce more than thousand new products each month on the shelves in British supermarkets (Nancarrow et al. A unique and attractive package is a necessity. Shape. Design of the primary packaging is evidently important since this package function as “a silent salesman” in a store and should not only protect the content but also inform and persuade the 2496 consumer to make the final decision in a self-service system. 1998. A colour can also have a cultural association and evoke emotional reactions (Madden et al. (2001) argue also that visuals on the package can be of strategic importance for differentiation purposes since pictures are more effective stimuli compared to words. 2006. work with the visibility of a package via its material. 2006).10 new experiences.

The functionality of a package has become even more essential when customers are searching for convenience in the shopping process and at home. copy. The environmental issues refer to customers use and disposal of the package. logo and other visual features. Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) Communication. p. (2001). 2006). to create a desire for the product and to sell the product.g. An increasing number of products are also sold on a self-service basis. 2000. Creating visibility is not enough for achieving a decision to purchase and a package must obviously have a meaningful message to get the attention and engagement from consumers. to communicate a message. e. An attractive package with a high functionality can also improve the possibilities for closing a sale in comparison with competing products. A firm’s marketing efforts is also depending on management’s ability to assess external trends and use its resources and capabilities in an efficient way. Marketing communication research highlights also packaging’s ability to communicate with consumers (Nancarrow et al. where it is manufactured. The idea with opening design studios Packaging within a company is also to let the customer to come closer to the design process and within speed up the process as a whole. promotion efforts to the ultimate customer. colour. Saleability. a change in product content. The package and its design need to. method of application and intended results but even create a desire for repeat purchases. This can be achieved by packaging design and an effective choice of shape. At the same time it is necessary that the package is suitable in relation to the size of the household ((The) Packaging Federation. 58). Silayoi and Speece (2007) argue also that a package becomes a critical factor in the purchase decision when a consumer is undecided since a well-designed package communicates at the decision-making time. At the same time packaging innovation must also meet ethical standards in the society (Bone and Corey. or that the firm is selling for a lower price. The package must also be suitable for transport and storage in a supply chain. New environmental issues and requirements for sustainability has also put a pressure on suppliers to meet such 2497 demands. 2004). during the Design studio workshop we can tell the customer what kinds of materials we marketing and can use and how packaging in general can be produced” (Sillanpää.. or packaging material. The content of the communication becomes a balance between functional messages and visual effects in order to create differentiation to competing products on a shelf. 1998. Whereas the brand management literature emphasize the importance of packaging for brand purposes as argued by Underwood and Klein (2002) and Underwood (2003). but surprisingly it turns out that more shoppers are utilizing in-store marketing and branding cues to make an . A package must therefore have enough impact on the shelf among a myriad of competing packages.. 1998) and how it can be used to get attention among consumers. 2010). “Besides making the packaging design process easier. 2012. by Underwood et al. It can also be a claim about the product ingredients (natural ingredients). Underwood and Ozanne. attract the buyer. Recycling or re-use of packaging material has become on all managements agenda (e. “Today’s shopper is more empowered than ever before to make educated and responsible buying decisions. To reach a positive reaction from a customer is more likely to result in a desire to engage with the product concept. or the outcome of using the product. Attention grabbing messages can involve the launch of a new or modified product concept.g. European Union. The package design and communication need also to show the intended use of the product. Vernuccio et al. European Union Packaging Directive. value creation Environmental issues and sustainability. Functionality.

However. 2011 p. e. resources alone are not sufficient to create a competitive advantage (Teece et al. As 76 per cent of purchase decisions occur in the store. Capabilities are often developed within a firm’s functional areas or by combining different types of resources at the corporate level but. Packaging’s importance at the point of sale has also been discussed. This can be in the form of workshops or brainstorming meetings. Packaging design During the development of new packaging solutions it is valuable to employ a customer orientated way of thinking.g. 2498 Value creation by packaging. Marketing capability The packaging sector is undergoing a radical change. The concept of value has also been of interest for many researchers Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) (e. Suppliers have also built special design studios where they can show packaging solutions from other branches. but even show how a new packaging design can fit into a shelf in relation to competing products.. Eye-tracking techniques are also used to better understand consumer reactions and attraction to a new package. 6). Niemelä-Nyrhinen and Uusitalo (2013) argue that designing value offerings by packaging obviously require an understanding of customers’ value creation processes and value perceptions in a supply chain. by Wells et al. An important aspect is to understand how customers are using the product and what type of value a new packaging solution can bring to customers.. Most of the incentives and inquires we receive come from large and smaller companies specialising in the marketing and manufacture of consumer products. A strict emphasis on a material or a new technology is not sufficient to create and implement a solution to customers (Hakola. (2007) and can hence improve a firm’s product sales as argued by Simms and Trott (2010). or packaging material. Our world has become centred on brand owners. 2012). Woodruff. emphasis on different functional aspects is not sufficient for the use of. 1998. It is rather the ways in which they are applied through management processes that can develop them into an advantage. 2001).10 Advertising International. or introduction of a new package. There is a great need for innovation (Aho. 6). 2011 p. whereas convenience is more important for other actors.. 2012). Payne et al. Traditional sales negotiations have turned into inspiring and professionally challenging brainstorming sessions where people come together to seek new packaging and logistics solutions for the years in the future (Aho. 2013). packaging has an important impact on the purchase decision ((The) Point of Purchase Advertising International. 2008) and some agree that customer perceived value may be defined as a ratio of customer perceived benefits vs sacrifices in relation to a supplier’s offering (Ulaga. 2005). The pressure from brand owners to introduce new packaging solutions to the market is greater than ever. A supplier or brand owner must also understand what type of value a particular package can bring to actors in a supply chain and their own value creation processes. Rundh.g. Material suppliers are therefore inviting brand owners and packaging specialists to participate in the design of a new package. For brand owners packaging can be a basis for differentiation and brand building. Previous research has recognized that packaging can be a possible source of competitive advantage (Nancarrow et al. 1997. The importance of resources and capabilities has also received much research interest . BFJ overwhelming portion of their purchase decisions” ((The) Point of Purchase 118. 1997).

two areas emerge as of interest for further research and development of propositions. a packaging solution in a supply chain that is perceived as being unique in relation to competitive offerings. 1994. A distinctive and eye catching appearance at point of sales (POS) improve a positive respond Distribution and supply Effective packaging solutions add value to the physical flow in a supply chain chain and contribute to more cost efficient solutions to diverse actors Environmental issues Creative packaging can reduce the amount of packaging and contribute to the disposal of the product Value Packaging is an excellent way to communicate sophistication and positioning of the product and thereby create value in customers mind Additional benefits As a gift or using the package for something else after the product has been consumed Innovation Unique and unusual packaging solutions can contribute to a mature Table I. products sale. In previous research scholars have argued that marketing capabilities are within fundamental to the firm’s success either this is in domestic or international markets (Murray et al. Firms with marketing capability can effectively develop and manage new solutions to meet customers’ needs either this is in a domestic or export market (Table I). in the marketing literature (Day and Wensley. 1988. shape and colour and design of the package. The possibility to use packaging as a device for differentiation or saving costs in a supply chain creates opportunity for creating Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) competitive advantages in relation to competitive offerings. 2011). (2011) argues that “a differentiated position is an advantage due to the increase in brand loyalty by customers and their resulting lower price sensitivity” (p. or a superior customer value/brand position. e. Propositions Based on the discussion of marketing and packaging literature above. Packaging can contribute to improve the product concept by achieving competitive advantage in relation to competitive offerings Pricing Differentiation by packaging gives opportunity to avoid customer sensitivity to pricing tactics Communication by Packaging can contribute in communication with customers by its shape design. Innovative packages can attract new segments on a market Marketing capability . The framework presented here implies that packaging can be of importance for a firm’s marketing strategy and that a competitive advantage can be reached by developing innovative packaging solutions in relation to actors in a food supply chain.g. Day and Wensley (1988) consider in their framework that competitive advantages can be reached by either having: a lower 2499 relative cost position. 2011). These propositions combine supplier and customer perspectives in a marketing context.. Marketing variable Marketing capability Product and product Management’s ability to assess and develop products in relation to development customer needs is a key ingredient to reach a competitive edge. 255). A superior customer value by differentiation is reached when a firm is able to develop and create. 2004). The first relates to the area of packaging and marketing strategy and the second to the importance of packaging for value creation. Leiblein and Packaging Reuer.. Murray et al. 2011. resulting in firms’ value creation competitive advantages (Murray et al. These capabilities are the organizational processes where marketing and resources are combined and transformed in to value offerings. Day.

The importance of using packaging for marketing purposes requires an insightful marketing capability within a firm. For brand owners packaging is a basis for innovative solutions and a possible source for creating competitive advantage. P2. The importance of packaging has become more essential for differentiation purposes as more products are introduced on a market. The first one concerns four packaging solutions for food products. e.g. identify relevant variables influencing the situation. We address these issues by examining the role of packaging in two different areas. The empirical findings in this paper are based on the case study research method in accordance with Yin (2009) and Eisenhardt (1991). P5. in line with the findings of Azzi et al. Research method When the phenomenon of interest is new and complex. (2012). Packaging and packaging design contribute to value creation for different actors in a food supply chain. Packaging and packaging design has become an essential tool in a firm’s marketing strategy (to communicate. differentiate and for targeting purposes). 2002). The main reason for this is to make a contrast of products and customers using them. The study focuses on narrating the use of packaging for different customer applications. One rational for selecting . 732). Case selection The case for this research was selected on the basis of purposive sampling (Patton. The qualitative approach provides researchers with deeper levels of understanding of new or complex phenomena by yielding a high level of detail” (p. The propositions related to value creation emphasize the increased importance of packaging for securing an efficient distribution in relation to different actors in a food supply chain. The case study method was chosen in order to assess and investigate how packaging can be used in marketing. Propositions related to value creation P4. The importance of Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) packaging design is also. 2500 P3. 2002). Purposive sampling enables the selection of cases that are particularly informative in relation to the research question (Patton. In this situation Golic and Davis (2012) argues that a qualitative approach is suitable since it can be a starting point “in order to build an understanding grounded in a detailed description of the phenomenon by collecting field data. whereas the second is for a fashion product. At the same time modern packaging design can also contribute by attracting and communicating with customers at the sales outlet and thereby offering a possibility for value creation in relation to competing offerings. BFJ Propositions related to marketing strategy 118. Packaging has become an essential factor for efficient and secure distribution in a food supply chain. The increasing importance of packaging and packaging design in marketing is such phenomenon. extant theories may not be available to explain the situation or.10 P1.

The single case study consists of five embedded “corporate stories” that constitutes the basis of the empirical findings. The use of corporate stories has been discussed among several scholars (Benjamin. We have also interviewed the communication manager and sales people at five packaging exhibitions (EasyFair 2010. 29). a single case design rather than a multiple design is when the case represents Packaging something that is extreme or unique (Yin. we have interviewed the communications manager three times and two sales people at each Context Case Embedded unit of analysis 1 Figure 2. Data collection in the case study An important issue of the case study method is the possibility to use different sources of data as evidence in a case story. Furthermore. In an embedded case study design several data sources are recommended which are discussed below (Yin. (2001) (Figure 2). 2009): within In a single-case study. internet documents and personal interviews. 2011. p. In this context each narrative is representing a different Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) packaging solution for a customer in a supply chain. 2006. The company made also an acquisition in 2006 to overcome more innovative products. The different kinds of information have provided us with data for developing the case study. 2501 The case firm in this study was selected on the basis of that is a global actor in the packaging industry and has a history of innovative packaging solutions. 2015). This will also be used for analytical purposes. 2007). 2006. Type of case study Source: Adapted after Yin (2009) . the challenge of presenting rich qualitative data is readily addressed by marketing and simply presenting a relative complete rendering of the story within the text. Yolles. The story value creation typically consists of narrative that is interspersed with quotations from key informants and other supporting evidence (Eisenhardt and Graebner. 2014 and Scanpack 2012. Marzec. 2007. but also at packaging exhibitions. This background resulted in the selection of a single information rich case with the possibility to use sub-cases or embedded cases within the single case as discussed by Carson et al. Denning. An important ingredient in the case study was the possibility to use embedded cases in the format of “corporate stories” from the company. Data for the case study were collected from internal reports. 2007. 2009). In this case study we use “corporate stories” or short narratives as embedded cases as suggested by Yin (2009). Another source was field observations made at mill level.

10 extensive basis of data for developing this case. One criterion of quality in case study research is validity and refers to the degree to which a study supports conclusions drawn from the results (Yin. For this purpose a case study database was used. Together with other archival data this has provided us with an 118. In this study the unit of analyses was the packaging product. 2009). However. there is no single design for conducting a case study which accentuates the quality criteria of a study (Beverland and Lindgren. In order to analyse the five sub-cases or “corporate stories” a cross-case analysis was used and the data analysis was carried out in different stages. charts | Personal interviews 10 interviews with sales people and 3 interviews with | communication manager Table II. Quality criteria in the case study There is a long tradition in business marketing research to use a qualitative approach with cases studies since the method suits the study of relationships and interactions in business markets. In an embedded case study design the unit of analysis is critical (Yin. 2009). In the next stage the narratives or “corporate stories” were developed leading to embedded cases. Each corporate story (narrative) has been selected carefully in order to predict different packaging 2502 solutions (Table II). 1994). 2003). rather than a specific management problem. 5 packaging exhibitions | Documents Leaflets. video clips. We also relay on experience and literature within the packaging area in order to present evidence in different forms using interpretations and measurements as this case relates to how packaging is influencing marketing. This exists particularly in a supply chain context. 2010). Construct validity refers to the process of developing operational measures for terms and concepts being studied. In order to improve the construct validity in this research the Sources used in this Data collection Description case study Archival records Internal documents. This approach treats each sub-case as a separate entity and this analysis can reveal both similarities and differences among the sub-cases (Yin. In this study interviews have been combined with narratives and internal documents to make a triangulation possible. The results from this first stage were compared with corporate documents and external information and field observations. When the case information was collected an in-depth analysis of the different data took place with a cross-analysis of the Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) interviews to identify similar constructs and themes. annual reports | Field observation Visit at the mill. This formed the basis for the case story. Even though the research method has followed a design as suggested by Yin (2009) there are quality criteria that need to be addressed. Case analysis In all phases of a case development process different sources of data have to be integrated to form the case format (Yin. Narratives Corporate stories | Data collection Retailers Visit at 2 retailer chains | in the case study Case study database For organizing information from different data sources | . BFJ packaging exhibition. The sub-cases were then interpreted and summarized forming supplier and customer perspectives in a marketing context.

The company has been growing in the domestic market for some time.800 employees. The evidence came from interviews. “Chocolate is an evocative product that calls up a flood of memories” says founder and part owner of the firm. The new group concentrated its production to different paper and packaging board materials used for packaging purposes. Together these empirical findings reveal how firms operate with different functions within packaging in order to develop a competitive advantage in a competitive environment. All of them important ingredients in the marketing process for any firm.039 million euro and more than 1. (3) Wmyra (derived 2012). The firm has worked with packages since the first chocolate cream was produced and found it important how it should be protected and presented. Chocolaterie is a small firm producing exclusive chocolate for the Swedish market but with the intention to go international. In 2503 order to improve the reliability of the study a case study database were developed for collecting and categorizing the information given. This supported the purpose of within seeing issues from different perspectives and to establish a chain of evidence. Packaging narratives. in November 2012 the case company was acquired and a new group was formed which will be a leading manufacturer in primary fibre-based packaging materials and packaging solutions. Corporate story 1. Chocolaterie – the box is such an important marketing tool. and (5) Confectionary (derived 2012). The total capacity is in excess of a million tons of paper and board with a total turnover of 8.400 employees in 13 countries. (4) International Fashion (derived 2012). The new company have more than 4. (2) Meals (derived 2012). The corporate stories that are collected are narrated by the communication manager of the company. Findings History of the case company The case company has an old tradition in pulp and paper production since 1889. single malt whiskey and cigar. field observation and different documents. Since this research is more of a descriptive and explorative character internal validity was not applied. She continues “it calls up happiness. One of the cases is selected from another type of retail chains in order to contrast the situation in the food industry: (1) Chocolaterie (derived 2012). The corporate stories reveal the importance of packaging’s influence on function. In order to conduct the research and answer the research question five “corporate stories” or narratives were selected for presentation in the case. A merger with another manufacturer in 2006 has made the case firm to one of the leading Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) manufacturers of packaging board material in Scandinavia. Another criterion of validity is external validity and refers to the possibility a study’s finding marketing and can contribute to generalization beyond the actual case. In this research five embedded value creation cases were used to make the generalization more compelling. use of multiple sources of data were used. However. chocolate is not an easy product to pack since real chocolate is sensible for external odours. design and adding value to customers. The company produces traditional variants of chocolate but also more creative and unusual flavours such as blue cheese. However. The process starts as soon .

The factors that influence packaging . BFJ as you see the pack. Meals identified an unfilled market niche – family-size frozen quiches. The previous paper board package that was purchased from a wholesaler was to thin and was difficult to seal gave problems. innovative packaging solution that fits the way people look at our products” says one of the founders. The assignment for the converter was to design a chocolate pack that could create a shelf impact. A close co-operation with the designer and the supplier of packaging board made it possible to develop a new package that has 2504 increased the sales of ready meals over the last six months. That’s why the box is such an important marketing tool”. “We chose a different shape. the better results” says the packaging buyer. Interpretation of the corporate stories Even if the corporate stories are different and describe diverse packaging concepts a certain pattern can be established that symbolises the influence of packaging on the decisions firms’ make in relation to the market. but also to handle a month in the distribution system which requires a lot of the packaging material. “We wanted an unusual. It should also be functional and convenient” argues manager from the designer agency. This has moved the products from an occasional order range into the mainstream range of Sweden’s leading grocery chain. The 118. A new V-shape of the pack and a demanding distribution put an additional stress on the board material. Corporate story 3. International fashion – trying to communicate a feeling. but also the possibility to reduce the gram mage compared to the material previously used. The result was a success story with an international reputation. But the crucial point for this specific business was how the packs would stand the very demanding voyage before ending up on the retailers’ shelves” says purchasing manager at the UK Confectionary. The whiter the carton board. This is also supported by the managing director of meals who says “with the help of strong design and a new packaging solution we positioned ourselves Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) correctly”. leading to a decision to buy on the part of the customer. In combination with the bright colors it is an un-beatable combination for shelf impact. With the graphic design “we are trying to communicate a feeling of luxury and flair. The idea to produce whiskey was born when eight classmates were on a skiing holiday. so print quality is essential. “Packaging is central to building a brand. it has to be attractive and communicate the contents clearly. To reach a high impact the pack has a four-colour printing with foil. Wmyra started up in 1999 a year after the idea was born. The pack had also to be stable and give possibilities for high quality of the printing in order to reach a premium feel. The production of whiskey begun after that all permissions were granted. The material for the pack is chosen on the basis of a high printing quality. Corporate story 4. but the new solution has become a success with the customers. Meals – it has to be attractive. The first delivery was a test and when it arrived at safe at the retailers it became a regular line “following good sales figures”. Every Christmas season the International Fashion firm develops a new gift pack design and to ensure a less commercial impact the logo is not printed on the pack. In addition to demanding conditions in the supply chain the new pack had a new design. The packaging material was also chosen due to the printing results and possibilities to print inside the box. Corporate story 2. Wmyra – innovative packaging. Corporate story 5. The gift packaging is used during the Christmas season in all its shops in 40 countries.10 board material used is odour and flavour neutral. Most importantly. Confectionary – a different shape.

e. shape and form of the package. (3) smart packaging solutions to reduce waste of material and (4) packaging development that improve logistics in a supply chain. but even the possibilities to produce a package suitable for marketing and a supply chain.g. All the corporate stories show that packaging design has become an important tool for creating a product concept that offers functionality (in the supply chain). One of them is to practise differentiation and increase the value of a product and thereby create a competitive offering to a customer. texture and graphics. An essential mode to create a superior advantage is to develop a unique product concept to a customer. The main attributes that is used by the suppliers refer to: the choice of material (type of package). Traditional sales meetings has as well found new forms where marketing and design people come together with packaging specialists and research and development managers to find new solutions for customers in a supply chain: The interpretation of the corporate stories highlight the impact of (1) functional and efficient board materials. . Discussion and conclusion There are many options in which a company can seek to achieve a competitive advantage and a strategic position in a market. decisions refer to external factors either in the supply chain. The importance of packaging design has also been found in other studies. shape and size attracting customers of a package. shelf life). utilizing superior raw materials. instructions). The findings provide several insights into the linkage between packaging and marketing of food items (Table III). (2) a need for packaging development for information and attraction of customers. The innovative part is symbolised by a packaging laboratory and value creation showrooms for interaction between the supplier of the material. colour (need for cultural adaptation. graphics (visual images or designs on the surface) and labelling (information about product and its content. 277). attraction value on the shelf). However. Internal factors are also related to the within product and possibilities to develop a package in relation to material used. colour. The present study implies that packaging has become an important tool in marketing of food products either this is for customers. the shape of the package (for a pallet. or from requirements in Packaging the marketplace made by end-customers. An important goal for the supplier of base material is often to become a full-service supplier of packaging solutions. (2012) argue that “uniqueness may stem from employing superior technology. For demanding markets it may also be necessary with a third packaging layer. or consumers in a supply chain. By using an appealing combination of material and shape. Holmes and Paswan (2012). attracting customers to buy the product in order to reach customer value. or from differentiating the tangible and augmented elements of the product” (p. Hooley et al. Another mode to create a unique and differentiated product is by using packaging as a competitive tool in marketing and marketing strategy. An important factor is also to have design expertise working close to customers in the supply chain since brand owners have become more involved. This has also been found to be successful in the case company where the supplier is working in close co-operation with design studios and converters to create challenging solutions to customers in the supply chain. The innovative process is also influenced by 2505 packaging design made possible through material used (in this case board materials). designers and customers in the supply chain. this requires that the supplier has the ability to develop innovative packaging products and Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) ready solutions to customers. The choice of material is significant for the packaged product and specific requirements during its distribution which often necessitates a primary and secondary packaging solution.

p. However. The colour can be an utmost important factor for market success. The use of design studios Use of colours/business culture Attractive printing Instructions Service content Illustration and information about Intangible assets of the package Table III. Previous research like Murray et al. instructions) given on the package which often requires a cultural adaptation in relation to a local market context. 2006. Firms with the capability to develop new innovative packaging solutions can effectively meet customers’ changing needs and expectations. The shape is also important for the format in relation to a pallet or a container. BFJ Marketing Cue Packaging 118. Another important ingredient for an exported product is that the graphic is understandable for customers in the local marketplace. . either it is domestic or on an export market since colour erase emotions among customers. (information about the content and how to use the Benefits of the product when using it Packaging’s function and how to use product Ease of disposal influences on the product) Free samples for testing a new Appearance of package in relation to marketing product content the attractiveness of the package can be increased. Colour is also used for “combinations or specifically coloured packaging are often used in highlighting the country of origin of products in foreign markets” (Aslam. a firm’s marketing capability can also be expressed by its ability of a high functionality of the package and use of material. However. a further integration of packaging into the marketing strategy requires marketing capabilities. or by efficient communication at the point of sale (Figure 3). Marketing capabilities is an approach when firms organizes and combines different resources into value offerings for the creation of competitive advantages. easy Recyclable material to empty 2506 Composition of package that Meeting hygienic requirements protect the content and leakage Re-use of package for other purposes Reseal ability Pricing Packaging design Branding purposes Differentiation at shelf place Private brands/product line Distribution Packaging development for Package size/size of household meeting requirements in a supply Reducing damages of product content chain during transport Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) Promotion Packaging design by using. but also for the shelf place. user friendly Material and its composition Reducing waste of food content.10 Product and product Packaging development Creation of customer value in handling concept Functional development of the product and its content package Customer convenience. (2011) has also argued for the importance of marketing capability as a necessity for a firm’s success in competing in both domestic and international markets.g. Marketing capability can be expressed in different forms. graphics. This has also put an extra pressure on the choice of packaging material and packaging solution when products are exported to areas with different climate zones. or demanding conditions in a supply chain. A customer should be able to read and understand the information (e. 21). Aslam (2006) argue that colour “evokes strong product associations and category imageries”. symbols and shelf place colours. Aesthetically appealing package at material.

Since supply chain members can value packaging attributes differently. Creative packaging solutions for food products are also supplying different kinds of information such as nutritional information and how to use the content. A better packaging solution will also improve logistics . The results of this study also support that packaging has become an essential factor for a secure and efficient distribution in a food supply chain (P4). besides protecting the content during transport and warehouse handling. This has become more essential as more products are introduced on a market (P1). The package should also create convenience in order to support handling and storing of products that is convenient within a supply chain and among end-consumers. Supply Chain Requirements Packaging within marketing and Packaging Supplier of value creation Material Marketing Customer Strategy 2507 Converter Customer Requirements Retailer Design Figure 3. The study shows the significance of linking packaging to the marketing strategy. our results highlight the importance of ensuring that packaging is an integrated part in marketing strategy decisions. Another managerial implication from the case study shows that packaging can be used together with the product concept in order to create a competitive offering to the market. At the same time new packaging solutions require an insightful marketing capability to become effective in the marketplace. Such efforts can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness in a supply chain. in food retail markets. This is also in line what Niemelä-Nyrhinen and Uusitalo (2013) found in their study of potential sources of value in a packaging value chain. An important ingredient for that is the use of packaging design for differentiation purposes (P2). this requires marketing capability and further education of staff within a food supply chain which is partially supported by the results in this study (P3). However. marketing capability ultimately also require an understanding of value creation processes among its members. e. Studio A conceptual model Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) Conclusion When competition is increasing firms are searching for more efficient ways to compete and packaging and packaging design has obviously become an essential tool for differentiation purposes as more products are introduced. First. The results from the study support also the propositions suggested in the areas of value creation and an increasing importance of packaging for the marketing strategy.g. Especially if packaging design is done in relation with the development of the product concept and not as a separate entity. Managerial implications Our study has also further implications for managers. At the same time has packaging and packaging design contributed to value creation for different actors in a food supply chain (P5). The end customer has also specific requirements of a packages possibility to communicate.

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Vol.L. Sage. (2003). (1997). (2011). Vol. and Klein.T. Dr Rundh has published in different international marketing journals and at international conferences. and Ozanne. (1994). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. London. pp. Wells. pp. Underwood. definition. pp.R.. “Is your package an effective communicator? A normative framework for increasing the communicative competence of packaging”. 3. “The dynamics of narrative and ante-narrative and their relation to story”. Industrial Packaging Marketing Management. 20 No. Vernuccio. He has also hold different marketing positions within the exporting industry. 36 No. H. 333-354. and Michelini. value. 1. 4. pp. “The influence of visual packaging design on perceived food product quality. R.M.L. Vol. Dr Bo Rundh can be contacted at: bo. 207-220. R. Journal of Marketing Communications. 10 No. (2007). 315-319. London. (2002). Yin. 313-326. R. 3. J..A. N. Vol.emeraldgrouppublishing. S. value creation Underwood. (1998). Woodruff.M. Journal of Marketing Research. (2013). R. R. N. 35 No. Sage. Downloaded by EKB Data Center At 06:07 26 October 2017 (PT) fundamental issues and foundational premises”. “Packaging as brand communication: effects of product pictures on consumer response to the package and brand”. Further reading Raghubir.L. 4. 119-140. R. London. 4.K. 62-77.L. W.. R.se For instructions on how to order reprints of this article. 25 No. and Krishna. Wang Edward. Klein. (2001). A.. “Customer value in business markets an agenda for enquiry”. Vol.rundh@kau. (2003).com/licensing/reprints. (2001). 74-94. 4 No. “The importance of packaging design for own-label food brands”. pp. Yin.htm Or contact us for further details: permissions@emeraldinsight. 1. M.E. 11 No. 2. within Underwood. Ulaga.. Varadarajan. Karlstad University. 403-422. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 139-153. pp. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Journal of Academy of Marketing Science. His current research interest refers to international marketing and marketing strategy. 13 No. Journal of Product & Brand Management. About the author Dr Bo Rundh is a Professor at the Department of Business Administration at the Karlstad Business School. Sage. pp. “Vital dimensions in volume perception: can the eye fool the stomach?”. Cozzolino. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. 41 No. pp. and Armstrong.com .. Vol. and etichs in packaging innovation”. pp. logistics. 10. Vol. Farley. and brand preference”. 30 No. 677-690. R. 2nd ed. A. “The communicative power of product packaging: creating brand identity via lived and mediated experience”. Vol. G.K. (2007). European Journal of Innovation Management. Journal of Organization Change Management. “An exploratory study of marketing. 805-816.L. Applications of Case Study Research. L. 8. Vol. (1999). 2nd ed. “Strategic marketing and marketing strategy: domain. (2009).K. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management. pp. 58-68. (2010). “Packaging communication: attentional effects of product imagery”. Underwood. Vol. “Customer value: the next source for competitive advantage”. 7. Journal of Marketing Theory 2511 and Practise. 38. Yin. 10 No. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management. Yolles. R. M. pp. marketing and Vol. L. please visit our website: www. R. Vol. pp. and Burke. 4th ed. R.

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