What is Packaging Intelligence?
Packaging Intelligence is a process by which one keeps abreast of packaging changes and trends that can create a competitive edge when used properly. Conversely, poor packaging can ruin a product, its appeal, and ultimately, its sales.
Paper or plastic? If only all packaging decisions were reduced to such a binary option! Unfortunately for a product manager or marketing team, there are a multitude of variables that enter into even the most basic of packaging decisions.
- Attract customers
- distinctive shapes
- showcase the product – make it stand out from others
- Establish an image
- high tech
- forward thinking
- environmentally concerned
- Make a product easier to use
- Make it easier to carry or handle
- non-slip materials
- Provide a pleasing and comfortable feel in the hands of the user
- Extend shelf life – protect the product/contents from light, water, heat,breakage, etc.
- Convey vital information
- ingredients, materials contained in product
- directions for proper use
- Reduce shipping costs (stackable, lighter)
- Be patented and create a barrier to entry
- Be produced at a reasonable cost
What are some key packaging trends?
A combination of factors are constantly being developed and introduced to the packaging world. Here are just a few areas worth monitoring:
- New materials
- green, biodegradable
- New designs
- New shapes
- New ways to open and reseal
- New ways to use automation/robots
- New inks and printing options
- Inclusion of RFID tags and embedded chips for security, tracking, and supply chain management
- Safety (e.g. pet, and child-proof)
How do you conduct Packaging Intelligence?
The process of tracking innovations in packaging, monitoring moves by competitors, and conducting research among customers may be handled internally and/or with the assistance of a qualified third party firm.
Trade shows, conferences and various online searches or news letters are a great source of information about general trends in the packaging industry as well as specific applications across a variety of markets and insights about competition.
Meeting with and interviewing packaging companies in your supply chain is also an excellent way to maintain up-to-date knowledge about changes that could impact how your products are presented to customers.
In all cases, however, knowing the customer’s needs, perceptions, values and role in the buying process are all important (if not critical) to a product’s success. Designing and creating a successful package will ultimately involve those who will consume and/or purchase the product it contains.
To this end, primary research methods can be used to:
- Present concepts via online surveys or discussion panels of consumers to gain insights into their reactions to packaging images, designs and features.
- Expose prototypes in focus groups to critique and compare to current packages, new packages, and competitors’ packages.