Is Your Packaging Effective?

Does It Sell Your Product or simply Contain it?

We just completed a packaging study in which we tested four variations on one package design.  When we first received the designs I was a little concerned.  There wasn’t much difference between them.  I thought, “Why are we testing this, these are nearly the same?”  Wow, was I wrong.  After one-on-one in-depth, 30 minute online interviews we learned a great deal.  Our respondents had strong feelings about the background color, the layout, the text size, content location, the headline and the logo.  Everything about the packaging was challenged and improved.  Our client received a clear roadmap to what belonged on the package face plus what they need to add on the side and rear panels to address unanswered questions about the product.  Consumers thought of far more questions than we did.

Which is really the point here.  Designers, product managers, brand managers, sales people and retailers often forget that they are experts in their category.   Much information about products is second nature to them.  But it isn’t to consumers.  Consumer knowledge ranges from nothing to having last purchased the product category many years ago to possibly skewed information based on poor experiences or bad advice from others.  Consumers do have a sense of what they need or want, but they need help in deciding which product best meets their needs.  That’s where testing comes in – to create the package that not only contains your product – but SELLS IT.   

In packaging research, the emphasis is not only on appearance but does the package do the job of 1) standing out and 2) triggering a purchase.  Our research identifies the right messaging - prioritizing features and benefits by what actually triggers purchases.

Here is an example to make this point clearer.  We recently did work in a product category that removes impurities.  The product in question removes 20 impurities.  The label simply and clearly stated that-“Removes 20 impurities.”  Consumers wanted to know which 20 impurities are removed.  Now, on the surface, do they really care about 20 impurities, most of which probably have complicated chemical names that non-technical people have never heard of?  No.  From probing, we learned they wanted a list in order to guarantee that the most noxious materials (lead, BPA’s, etc.) are removed.  Thus the solution is to list the most concerning materials as reassurance that the right materials are really being removed. 

Never assume that you or your team thinks just like consumers.  You don’t.  You are experts.  Consumers are not.  Listen to consumers to improve all aspects of your communications with them.     

Call or email us today to discuss your next packaging test and have answers in as little as three weeks!    609.896.1108