Product packaging has evolved in its role in marketing strategy. For many years, packaging received little, if any consideration as part of the product. It merely provided a storage function. Then, when marketers understood that brand associations related to packaging are held by consumers. Thus, packaging became part of brand building efforts, with notable examples being Coke's contour bottle and Apple's all-in-one iMac.
Today, packaging takes on an even more prominent role and can actually be a point of differentiation. Packaging can enable product use in different situations (e.g., Yoplait's Go-GURT), product easier to use (e.g., Heinz ketchup in bottles designed for refrigerator doors), or shape a brand image that can command a price premium (Apple iPod and iPhone). In the future, product packaging will take on greater significance for what it does not do... waste natural resources. Concern about protecting the environment has spurred a call for coming up with ways to reduce the amount of materials used in product packaging. Wal-Mart has a Packaging Scorecard initiative that assesses its suppliers efforts to reduce packaging waste.
Focusing on packaging can not result in a successful marketing outcome, it is the socially responsible thing to do!