Microsoft Hardware Packaging

"FITCH radically simplified the packaging elements, making the product the hero. This strategy engages shoppers and differentiates the product line from its competition."

 

 

"A new product naming strategy, information hierarchy, and uncluttered design appeals to shoppers on a more emotional level. The streamlined box front leads with comprehensive benefits rather than features, allowing people to easily understand the products, as well as trade-up for more features.   

 

With the introduction of Windows 8 in 2012, Microsoft Hardware wanted to forge a greater connection between the hardware and the software.  The product range was being simplified, focusing on fewer SKUs, new products, optimized for Windows 8 were introduced as they looked to differentiate themselves from the competition and become the clear leader in the peripherals category.
As a result, FITCH was asked to create a new visual identity for the brand that included a new naming system, as well as packaging design and product messaging.

 

The new system had to 
Clearly be identified as Microsoft
Provide an unmistakable connection to Windows
Help the consumer understand the ‘step up’ process between products 
Deliver on the unique value proposition of each device
Reassure the customer they are selecting the leading brand in the category
Provide details the shopper needs to complete the purchase 
Assure them that the product will meet their needs and fit with their lifestyle

 

Products were right-sized into boxes that made maximum use of the space with no wastage, meaning greater volume of product on the same amount of shelf space, as well as substantial savings on logistics.

 

The use of red and white gave optimal shelf stand out – against a sea of otherwise largely dark product packages – and brings the aisle to life. The continued use of red provided consistency for Microsoft brand loyalists.

 

The slant was created as a unifying device across Windows, Hardware and Office (featuring in both the design and the form factor of the packaging), and the Microsoft logo was given greater prominence and visibility to tie the product back to the parent brand. 

 

The product was the focal point of the box, positioning it as an object of desire, rather than a functional device. 

 

A new naming system was introduced that was concise, and most importantly created families of products, indicating products that were designed specifically, albeit not exclusively, to work better together, as well as to promote the core benefit of the product, i.e, Mobility, Touch capabilities, wireless etc.

 

Product messaging was redefined to focus on the benefits of the products vs the technical features.  A maximum of three benefits were to appear on the front of box – to enable a clear understanding of the ‘sell up’ across product ranges.  A visual system was introduced to communicate a fourth primary feature / benefit e.g., Limited edition, Bluetooth etc. 

 

The system also was designed to accommodate a tiered product system to allow a path for upsell from core to premium products. There is a premium and a core product line. The premium line has a dark grey back, which is visible from the side as well.

 

The back and sides of the box are used to convey stories related to the limited edition products. The Artist Series tells the story behind the artist and showcases the downloadable wallpaper that comes with the product. The front and side panels were used to show different product imagery. 

 

Research proved that over 80% of shoppers conducted online research prior to visiting a store and therefore immediate location of specific products was vital. The sides of the box were strategically used to ensure that no matter how the product was stacked on shelf, shoppers could easily see the product imagery and name. 

 

Microsoft Hardware now has a bold and globally consistent on-the-shelf presence that is engaging, helpful to shoppers, and distinct from other brands in the aisle.

 

The visual identity and packaging system sets a progressive tone and brings cohesion to Microsoft’s product portfolio."

 

Designed by FITCH, Seattle