Packaging Review

The objective of the review is to understand how the packaging is performing, assess its strengths and weaknesses and identify areas for improvement.

The basic notion is to compare the performance of the brand with and without packaging to determine how the packaging strengthens the brand, enhances its equity and increases consumers’ disposition to purchase the brand. In addition, the review should see how well the packaging stands out on the shelf.

Review — Brand-Package Assessment

The study comprises two cells — one where the consumers are only shown the brand name, and the other where they see the packaging.

Central to the review is the brand-package assessment which covers the following aspects:

  • Purchase Intent is measured on a 5-point scale (from definitely will buy to definitely will not buy) or a smiley slider.
  • Brand equity: Respondents are asked to rate their preference on a 5-point scale (from most preferred to not at all preferred) or a smiley slider.
    Alternatively the net promoter’s index (NPI), where consumers are asked to rate their willingness to recommend the brand on a 0 to 10 point scale, is a good measure of brand equity.
  • Engagement (Image/Affinity): Imagery, perceptions, and one or two communication messages are rated on a 5-point agree-disagree scale. Alternatively, for online surveys, respondents could click and drag the attributes on a visually engaging 2-D scale.

The dimensions should cover brand image attributes, persuasiveness (want to buy), likeability, relationship/involvement (for me), symbolism, quality (high quality product) and the one or two of the communication messages on the packaging.

In addition, prior to these questions, the study should ascertain respondent’s category and brand usage and brand disposition. The question on disposition relates to the respondent behavioural loyalty, whether she meets her requirements from a repertoire of brands, or whether she usually buys only her favourite brand.

The cells must be weighted in the context of brand usage to eliminated bias.

The output of the brand-packaging assessment compares the two cells on persuasion (purchase intent), brand equity (brand preference) and the image dimensions. If the packaging is effective, you will see significantly higher ratings for the second cell, the one where respondents are shown the brand packaging.

In addition to finding out how well your brand’s packaging is performing, you might be interested in reviewing how well the packaging of major competing brands is performing. This is useful because you need to benchmark against competition.

To achieve this, the study needs to include the major competitors that you want to benchmark against. The sample size will increase as you need quotas for each of the brands, the battery of image attributes will vary a little from brand to brand, and the questionnaire length with increase substantially.

Review — Shelf Impact

It is important too to review how well the packaging stands out on the shelf. This should preferably be conducted on the shelf, in retail outlets. Not only will that help you simulate the real-world environment, it eliminates the need to set-up and a controlled location.

Note that the sample size for this phase of the review is much smaller, probably 20 to 30.

To run the study in the real-world you do however need to secure the retailer’s permission to use their stores. This is usually not an issue, but if it is, then you could use virtual shelves populated with digital images of packs. Respondents view these mock-ups on computers coupled with screen-based eye trackers, in a controlled location setting.

Details about how to conduct research with eye tracking devices are provided in the section Shelf Impact — Eye Tracking.

The heat maps and gaze plots tell you whether your packaging stands out. You want to know if your packaging is a hot spot, and if it lies early in their gaze path. You also want to know how your competitors are performing.

This information must be broken down and analysed according to brand users and non-users.

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