This story from Forbes on the importance of packaging highlights a quote from Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs, that focuses on how the team at Apple (especially as led by designer Jony Ives) brought ritual into the entire product experience.
They were trying to create interaction rituals, even as the user was unpacking the electronic from its box. How they designed the packaging would frame how the user would meet & approach the product. They were trying to compose a lived experience like directors of a theater piece, trying to bring the weight and meaning of ritual to a person’s first experience with their new product.
Steve Jobs may not have known about the fMRI evidence for expectations altering the customer’s experience, but he clearly understood their power. Walter Issacson’s biography of Jobs quotes Apple’s Jonathan Ive:
“Steve and I spend a lot of time on the packaging,” said Ive. “I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.”
Ritual? Theater? These concepts seem far removed from typical packaging concerns of cost, weight, and protection. But it’s important to remember that the customer experience for e-commerce products includes the way the product lands in the consumer’s mailbox or on their doorstep. That first impression can make the product better and the brand more desirable, or it can create a negative perception that will tarnish both.