The marketing and advertising industry is rife with advice about the power of first impressions and making impact. It’s as though all our marketing efforts focus on that 1 second moment when consumers lay their eyes on the product and pop displays. If we don’t score completely in that moment, all is lost apparently.
But brand value and brand equity all point to the power of lasting impression. What is brand loyalty aside from a powerful lasting memory? But how much thought is put into making your packaging and display as memorable as possible?
What is lasting impression anyway? Is it about 8 seconds to one minute after the consumer sees your product? Or is it the memory of your brand or product from previous impressions?
If you do a Google search right now for keywords lasting impression, you won’t find much. If few people have thought deeply on this matter, then could it be that the last impression is more important than the first impression? If it is, you may have to put more thought into what images and words are left with shoppers as they pass by your product on shelf and your POP displays. If they chose your competitor’s product over yours, what was their last thought about your product? Why didn’t they choose yours? Are your displays not working?
Power of POP Display to Get the Right Message Out
If your primary consumer packaging isn’t making an impact on shoppers memory, then POP display may have the power to make a clear and lasting impression. If the primary packaging doesn’t shout out a challenge to the shopper to compare, or give them something to chew on mentally, how we can make an impression on them. There are a number of reasons why shoppers remember products (see list below).
I’m thinking about some of the products I use. Pantene hair shampoo has the benefits I like. I buy because of the product itself, however the bottle does portray a silky smooth symbolism. Tetley Tea has the taste I like and perhaps the round label matches the round tea bags. The green colour is the colour of green tea. Nestle Pure Life water comes in well designed bottles with blue,yellow, green labels. The water has the taste I like, but the packaging is very attractive and actually adds to the value of the product. These are memorable and very successful products now.
Other unbranded bottled water and its secondary packaging looks cheap — the labeling, copy and symbols all project a message of inferior quality. Other tea brands focus on pictures of strange ingredients. They’re forgetting that most consumers want images of satisfaction.
Impression Test: Be the Shopper. Enter a store aisle and write down the products you think you might buy. Now walk down that aisle and at the end, write down which products you remember. Walk down several aisles, then head toward the checkout counter, and write down which brands or products you remember. Do this at Shoppers Drug Mart, Great Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Costco, Walmart and any other retail store that might carry your products.
Thoughts about products you didn’t buy or couldn’t find might be conjured up too. It’s that unfinished business that demonstrates further how important psychology is in consumer marketing. The point is, that shopping is all inside the head and package designers need to understand shopper’s memory (emotional needs).
Without getting too technical, it’s fair to say the human mind possesses both short term and long term memory. Short term might last about 7.8 seconds. If information isn’t prepared or isn’t emphasized enough during that 7.8 seconds, it won’t be passed along to long term memory. It disperses like a vapour and is notoriously difficult to bring back. Through human evolution, the mind has a trash bin and it’s not easy to undelete.
You could make a great first impression, and then be forgotten quickly. Whether it’s their first purchase, months after first sight, or a repeat purchase, long term memory is where it happens. Brand messaging must create that transfer from short to long term memory (and hopefully not through hundreds of repetitious TV ads).
“Purchase decisions are often made hours, days, weeks or even months after the consumer was originally exposed to the product information and with limited memories of speciﬁc product attributes, advertising has only a limited impact upon the decisions made.” from Consumer Psychology by Cathrine B Jansson-Boyd; McGraw Hill publishing.
They Don’t Care to Remember
People don’t have poor memories – they just didn’t think it was worthy of long term memory. There’s more to what they want than features and benefits. They want emotional fulfillment, well at least what they remember as their fulfillment.
Advertising traditionally focuses on repetition. The idea is that if the consumer doesn’t remember or doesn’t want to remember, then force-feeding them will compensate. You’re replacing their memory function.
Why Do Customers Pay Attention and Remember a Product?
- Sensory impact – Colour, texture, appearance is relevant to them and senses are intimately tied to the emotions, and the eyes dominate decision making – all product attributes and personal decisions are transferred into physical feelings.
- Clarity – the message and symbolism has to be clearly understood
- Unique/rare – nothing quite like it, but meaningless unless that characteristic is relevant to them
- Resonates with personal values – supports their most important values
- Name and Logo – word and pictorial symbolism that represent your brand values – it better make sense
- One specific standout benefit – one characteristic really stands out like a nail in a board – a characteristic which they couldn’t normalize or quickly rationalize – it sticks in their mind and requires further thought and thus the person hangs onto the memory hoping to solve it
- Associated with other positive images/benefits – their sports hero, sexy hollywood star, luxury cars, exotic locales, etc.
- Memories of satisfaction – successful usage is powerful, but if a competing product appears to offer the same duplicate satisfaction – they could switch brands fast. Advertising needs to remind them of the satisfaction they felt when they used the product.
- Repetition – yes it’s persistent reinforcement that helps keep the memory alive.
On a related note, research shows that consumers don’t often know what they want instore nor why they bought what they did. These findings tend to weaken the value of TV advertising — the ads may not build sufficient preference and awareness. Are they buying due to some emotional impulse tied to memories? You could argue that instore advertising did it. I don’t think so.
I think advertising and display can only go so far to manipulate shoppers psychologically (and we must try). Their memories have to do with unmet emotional needs. If you can tie your brand to those unmet needs, then you’re going to find a lot of people buying your product for no reason. Or, more shoppers will find a reason to remember your product and brand.
What’s up with the latest shopper research? Read this retail store case study and get some POP display tips, and find out why you need to get your promotional dollars as close to the shopper as possible. What is outstanding packaging design. Find out more about Ravenshoe Packaging and why this Markham Packaging company is well suited to launching your retail promotions across Canada.