Packaging Research – Ten Steps to Actionable Insights

  1. Don’t rush the research process – the stakes are high and the risks too great.
  2. Set clear benchmarks for success – and stick to them irrespective of the results.
  3. New packaging cannot ‘win’ on every metrics – it is important to assess performance on the core objectives outlined in the design brief.
  4. Include the current packaging as a benchmark – this will provide clear direction on the implications of a change and the potential for success of the new design.
  5. Choosing the right methodology is imperative – an actual competitive shelf display is more relevant if your product competes in a crowded category, actual (vs. relative) pack size is important to assess or the packaging has detailed graphics and/or wording. An online interview is a more cost effective approach when testing a number of new packaging options or when prototypes have yet to be fully developed.
    This approach is also appropriate if the category in general and/or key competitors are limited and when looking to test among a broad sample or across different regions of the country.
  6. Consider incorporating a qualitative component into the research – this will provide a more in depth understanding of reasons driving the appeal of the new packaging. This approach can be extremely enlightening in evoking latent brand perceptions and how these are conveyed via the packaging.
  7. Choose your target wisely – interview current and potential buyers to determine the extent to which the new packaging brings in non-purchasers, while appealing to (and not alienating) your existing consumers.
  8. When testing new packaging within a competitive shelf display, aim to replicate the in-store planogram – if your brand does not command central position on-shelf it should not be tested in this position!
  9. Brand fit is an important metric to include in all measurement – is the packaging suitable or does it change consumers’ perceptions of the brand?
  10. Build in brand equity statements – this will provide clear guidance on the extent to which the new packaging is effectively communicating the key brand benefits.

Mary Logan is the Executive Vice President at Research & Incite Consultants