“No Story (on Your Packaging), No Glory”

Attractive Packaging is Not Enough, You Need a Story

Georges Schneider


Marketing and storytelling expert Markus Gull spoke at the Pro Carton PROPAK Austria Marketing Event recently. Markus  is a renowned story smith, brand architect, content producer and creative director of Gull Gotham and Gull + Company (based in New York and Vienna).  His companies specialize in helping brands find sustainable ways to reach and stay in touch with their audiences

According to Markus, every brand needs a story now as well as attractive packaging. This is because the focus of advertising has moved from only attractive packaging to relationships and relevance to the consumer. Below we have summarised the article.

Why is packaging so important?

Gull is responsible for the brand look of Hofer (Aldi in Austria) and a variety of packaging designs. Recognising the importance of packaging he says; “I would hate to be a pack. Packaging has an awful job, it is spread throughout the supermarket and is often the only product promotion, after all,  you cannot advertise for every single product.”

Changes in marketing practises

Gull outlines the “triple crisis” plaguing the world of advertising today; “There is the management crisis: there is too little entrepreneurial thinking and too much management. Secondly, we have a political crisis: that is more than apparent and the logical consequence is the third crisis, the marketing crisis: marketing as we have practised it for decades, no longer works.”

The world changed when the first online website was introduced in 1991 as the consumer gained power. Products can no longer say “Buy Me!”, rather the consumer must believe the product is made for them.

Which marketing practises are no longer working?

TV ratings are decreasing permanently while Facebook and YouTube ads are becoming increasingly unpopular. Even though €459 billion is spent on placing advertising messages, Google have proven that 56.1% of ads are not even viewed.

Gull highlights that people are in a position of power due to the internet. They are no longer just consumers but human beings. Therefore facts no longer work in persuading consumers as we decide “emotionally and subconsciously” and so packaging must combine emotion and experience.

What needs to be done to modernise packaging?

“Create a story! The story is the truth of the brand, it is emotional and seductive, makes sense and matches the intellect. We are always concerned with stories, we cannot stop telling ourselves stories! But it is not about story telling, it is about story sharing!” , says Gull. The story a brand tells should never be about the brand itself but rather about the consumer listening to the story.”

Gull states that the job of packaging is now to convey the message: Who can use me or what use will I be to you, the consumer? Then the consumer knows at first glance: that is what I want.

In this way, communication becomes conversation and so the story is shared. Gull concludes by saying that one thing applies to all brands and it is; “No Story. No Glory!.”

You can read the full version here