Packaging is often the most important and overlooked aspect of marketing.

In the last 10 seconds before the purchasing decision, consumers view packaging as a major motivation to buy.  While many marketers aim to be on the consumer’s shopping list, it’s also the packaging and the last 10 seconds before purchasing which can be most crucial.

Packaging Market Research on great packaging reflects several best practices.

1.  Good packaging reflects the conditions in which it will be sold.

Look at fast food restaurants and beverage companies that are creating packaging that reflects the customers’ purchasing and usage of the product.  For example, V8 is making their packaging fit into vending machines.  On this note, effective packaging must reflect product benefits.  For example, McDonalds is emphasizing food quality now with boxes emphasizing how high quality the food is.

2.  Unique shapes, structures and delivery systems help differentiate products from competitors.

With so many products on the shelf, it’s important to stick out to consumers.  Research has found that good packaging contributes to convenience, which improves customer satisfaction. It also breaks notions of how much customers are willing to pay.  An example is “Simple Orange” juice being presented in a carafe style bottle. This presents their product as more “high-end” allowing them to charge a premium price.  Another example is Imperial Sugar Company’s “Redi-Measure” brown sugar cup-packets, intended to make measuring easier and to prevent their customers from using too much or too little of their ingredients in the baking process.

3. Packaging should include the brand’s personality with branding and characters.

An example of this is Toucan Sam, which immediately indicates product benefits like fruit flavor and fun times.  This brand heuristic helps invoke the emotional component of purchasing, and subordinates the more rational price considerations of purchasing.

Customers need simplicity in messaging due to many conflicting messages, competing products like private labels, and complicated products.  Good packaging often reflects simple brand values and product claims. One way to do this is to remove much of the clutter and only print what is essential.  Doing so should make packaging easy to read and not confusing to potential customers. Research indicates that customers are increasingly noticing more scientific claims written on packaging and becoming confused and overwhelmed by them. Additionally, companies can return to past successful taglines to help the customer strengthen their buying heuristics.

4. Packaging needs to highlight compelling and believable claims on product differences.

One example of this cereal brands emphasizing their use of organic ingredients and lack of preservatives, unlike their competitors. This can help justify a premium price and draws positive attention to products.

5. Direct comparisons to a competitor product can be effective.

For example, a cereal can say that it has 50% more milk than another product.  Price should not be the only differentiating characteristic, and premium prices need to be justified.

6.  Packaging is read not up and down, but at the left and right corners of packaging.

Reassuring claims should be put in these corners, while primary claims should be in the center of packaging.   Along these lines, the fewer the words the better, as consumers tend to look at images and visuals more than evaluating written claims.

7.  Effective packaging can target “Rejuveniles” who are middle aged people young at heart and somewhat nostalgic.

This packaging is more kid-like, similar to toys and has bright graphics.


About SIS Market Research

SIS International Research is a global Market Research and Strategy Consulting firm.  We provide insights, data and strategies to boost our clients’ revenues and uncover new opportunities.  Key Packaging Market Research solutions include:

  • Packaging Testing
  • Ethnography
  • Shopper Journey Insights
  • Customer Journey Mapping
  • Usability Testing (UX)

Contact us for your next Packaging Market Research project.