A report by PRS Research suggests that half of new packaging redesigns don’t even work. In a review of 10,000 studies, they concluded that only half of redesigns improved on current packaging designs.
PRS set out to to understand why some redesign initiatives didn’t meet expectations, as well as to identify systematic patterns that were limiting successful redesign. The came up with 5 causes for the redesign failure:
- Unnecessary redesign (product managers tire of their packaging before shoppers do, but they make changes based on their own gut feelings rather than shopper research)
- Solving the wrong problem (they didn’t discover the “real” problem shoppers had with the product therefore made the wrong changes)
- Not being innovative or impactful enough (redesign failed to link packaging innovation and graphic design to strong on-pack messaging, the packaging wasn’t noticeable and added benefits weren’t highlighted to the consumer. Perhaps the redesign effort was too conservative.)
- Creating confusion and unfamiliarity (packaging changes didn’t respect “core design equities” which are the familiar features that shoppers understand and are comfortable with. They went outside the shoppers comfort zone and created packaging that made the shopper question the products UVP, but away from the attributes that shoppers desired. Disruption and continuity must be balanced.)
- Full use of the packaging by consumers (as we’ve discovered with the advent of shopper marketing studies, shoppers are different than consumers. The packaging and POP displays they see in the retail store is different than what they see when they take products home. The context is different. Packaging has to work with POS in the store, and at home the packaging has to be attractive and versatile enough to be used. Packaging that is ugly or doesn’t fit on shelves might not be purchased again.
Maybe these aren’t groundbreaking findings, but some packaging designers may lose touch with the fundamental value that consumers want when they’re shopping instore. It’s easy to get myopic and stagnant when working with packaging that is currently successful but is starting to lose its lustre. It seems there is a lack of research and packaging testing going on. Perhaps brand/packaging managers won’t invest enough time or money on packaging design or redesign. Maybe redesign is a worrisome issue?
That could point to a lack of belief in the power of good packaging or their confidence in their ability to understand what’s needed and apply the right solution. That might be the role of a good packaging design company. Being innovative, creative, and a market leader isn’t a magic event. It comes from diligent pursuit of knowledge about what works best. Research, testing, experimentation and feedback help in choosing a winning packaging design.
When inspired, people make much better decisions. Inspiration leads to the willingness to discover what’s best.
PRS says the most effective companies invest consistently in upfront learning and structural innovation. They believe in successful processes where lessons are learned at the outset rather than realizations at the end when facing deadlines. They suggest that “companies need more information and insights at the outset of design initiatives, to identify opportunities, allocate resources appropriately, and provide direction.”
PRS further concludes that new packaging structures are more likely to drive success than graphics-only changes. They believe changes in shape and materials produce the best redesign end results. This last point is open to argument however. It is the graphics and copy that drive home the benefits to shoppers instore. Nevertheless, packaging is powerful and perhaps an under-respected part of the marketing mix.
To solve that, we need to read more on what makes excellent packaging. We can get inspired from other company’s successes and creative designs. The trends are there, and shoppers can tell you what they want. Are you listening?
Looking for the best POP displays possible? Find out more about being disruptive in retail, how to improve brand value with shelf impact. Get some tips on improving your displays and what makes the best POP. Do retail price discount strategies really work, and what is value based pricing?
What do you think of this new Coke redesign? Can the curvy graphics compensate for the new square, eco-friendly design? We always say no at first, but I think they’re onto something here.
Need consolidation of your packaging operations? Outsourcing packaging design and fulfillment is wise — you’re outsourcing the headaches, time-consumption, and you won’t need part time internal staff to handle inconsistent packing schedules. The more you think about it, the more sense it will make.