19 Apr Product Packaging In A Competitive Marketing Strategy
Learn about what makes packaging successful and understand the critical research elements for packaging design in this article!
Packaging has been a principal factor in marketing since the Industrial Revolution. The innovation in packaging has never stopped, from upside-down ketchup bottles to repurpose packaging, everything has bought the marketing hype coins.
There are 3 types of packaging
- Primary Packaging
- Outer Packaging
- Transportation Packaging
All three have an important role in marketing strategy.
Primary packaging is the packaging that is likely to be kept by the customer for a longer period of time. Therefore it is the most important and valuable one.
Outer Packaging has the most promotional and directional information which is required to reduce users’ inconvenience. Making customers comfortable and we’ll be informed about the product is the most crucial part of marketing.
Transportation Packaging has to keep the product and outer packaging safekeeping the return rates as low as possible.
While all three packagings have different roles, keeping the branding and looks the same brings memorable memories because that’s what product identification is. Product Identification is a major factor if you have a larger competition space to fight with, it’s better to have a product visible from far in an aisle of a supermarket.
Information on the product packaging should be quick to read and crisp with information. This information will be remembered by the customer to be interesting or informative.
Good packaging also brings in a sense of a sanitised environment as recent times have increased the demand for sanitised and clean goods, the more sealed and safe the packaging looks the more customers will be attracted to it.
Why packaging is important for selling your product:
- Creating Shelf Impact
- Communicating A Message
- Creating a better Customer Experience
- Building a Brand Narrative
Most likely, if you are reading this blog, you already know why packaging is important and you are looking at how to perfect it. The biggest mistake businessmen make in this situation is that they hire a packaging designer and that’s it. Market research is often reserved only for the product.
Underestimating how many elements go into making smart packaging that sells is essential. Of course, research and due diligence is required in order to make the most impactful decision for your business and even save you money long-term on re-designs etc.
CRITICAL RESEARCH ELEMENTS FOR PACKAGING DESIGN
Get In-depth understanding through Qualitative Research
Quantitative research definitely should be done but along with that, if you want to truly understand your target audience, qualitative research is powerful. Effective packaging triggers an emotional reaction, which makes them want to keep the product. In other words, packaging should appeal to the target’s preferences, and only then will it lead to a purchase decision.
You must try to find out the driving forces behind the prospect’s preferences and behaviour. Ask questions like, why is your target customer attracted to a certain design style of packaging? Why are they intrigued by one colour and not the other? What feeling does the packaging evoke?
You can uncover the answers by holding focus groups and conducting face-to-face interviews with your target consumers and even consumers of your competitors. You should also go to the stores and study the scenario there. Observe which products the customers gravitate towards and which ones they buy.
Secondary research is of course also needed. There is a plethora of publicly-available data on consumer opinions that you can capitalise on.
Learn from your mistakes
If you already have packaging, you should be aware of what is working for you and what is not, through qualitative research.
What have people connected with in your packaging design? What elements do your prospective customers gravitate towards? You don’t want to accidentally change your packaging element when it’s actually working for you. Blind decisions are never a good idea.
The research you conduct should dive into which specific elements could be improved (without directly asking the consumers). Use techniques to accurately understand why your prospects have negative or positive reactions to elements of your packaging. Also, find out what kinds of brands they usually go for.
It’s also important to not only speak to existing customers. Reaching prospects can be a difficult task, but will be worth it, especially if you’re looking to launch a new product in the market or if you’re looking to expand your TG (target group). What worked for the last TG would not necessarily work for another.
Steady Incremental Changes Lead to Long-term Success
There must be a constant effort to keep your brand fresh and happening. This keeps you connected to your audience continuously. You could have a fantastic product but if your packaging does not reflect the audience’s sentiment then that sale goes to a newer competitor.
This does not mean that you need to keep on constantly reinventing your branding. Consistency matters as well. Implement incremental changes whenever they make sense for your strategy. You will be more decisive about these changes when data backs you up. It’s very important to understand what’s resonating with the audience and what’s not so that you don’t make a change that impacts the brand badly.
Also, keep in mind that creative packaging doesn’t just mean creating the design, it also includes testing the different packaging materials, experimenting with less or more packaging, different shapes etc. This is in order to learn what the customer prefers more. You can always try different variants in several markets to test out your options.
Adapt to Market Changes
Just because your packaging is doing well, does not mean perpetual success. As younger consumers age and become your target market and at the same time your loyal customer’s age and don’t require your product anymore, your packaging will of course need to change to adapt to the newer audience. Not just that, but also the ever-shifting preferences of the same customers could require a branding redesign.
It is your job to keep tabs on the latest trends in your own industry. What are your best competitors doing? What changes seem to be working with your TG? This will help you understand your competitors and add a modern perspective.
Having said that, making the decision to shift to a new design trend might not be the right one for your brand. It’s vital to understand what your brand communicates and match that with the packaging. Making this decision becomes easier with all the options and data insights in front of you.
Whatever you do, innovation should be at the heart of it. Just as in every other sphere of business, technology has changed the game and the same can be said for packaging. The focus today remains on sustainable and smart packaging that aids the use of the product.
It’s important to stay updated with the latest trends in packaging and purchasing behaviour, and then do what suits your brand.
The key to using any innovative technology is that you implement it in a way that will help you meet your goals – driving revenue and repeat purchases. Don’t incorporate new technology just for the sake of it.
Back-up Every Packaging and Design Decision with Good Research
Don’t just use your hunch with a decision that’s as important as your packaging. Remember that the packaging is one of the biggest determining factors in a consumer’s buying decision. It’s a huge differentiator, especially in highly competitive FMCG products. Every small decision (Colours, fonts, size, texture, materials, messaging etc.) all ties into the emotion that drives buying behaviour.
It is important that you continuously research your packaging design. Whether you are looking to change something major or minor, you must know if it will resonate with your TG.
It can be a daunting task to gather all your prospects and conduct rigorous research while remembering to ask the right questions using the right approach, in order to achieve an accurate response. This is where we can help. Aeon Research specialises in customised consumer research, which assesses your specific business query.
Feel free to reach out to us and we can discuss how exactly we can help you!