| Marketing Research Services
| Packaging Research
Package graphics and copy are critical marketing variables, particularly for
nonadvertised or underadvertised brands in self-serve shopping environments. The
package on a retail shelf is the last opportunity to influence consumers before
they decide to buy. It’s the final sales pitch at the “moment of truth”.
The better the package design and copy, the greater the likelihood that consumers
will choose that brand. Any new package design, or significant change in an existing
package, should always be subjected to the scrutiny of scientific consumer research.
Before new package designs are created, it is always wise to conduct qualitative
research to explore target consumers’ knowledge, frames of reference, perceptions,
motivations, and needs related to the product category and your brand. What images,
elements, phrases, symbols, and illustrations resonate with the target audience?
The up front qualitative work helps identify the most important package-design
elements and provides guidelines for the creation of new package designs.
PackageOpt™ (Package Optimization)
A package, or package design, consist of shapes, colors, images, fonts, brand
name, and messages. The number of permutations of these elements (i.e., unique
package designs) can run into the thousands. With PackageOpt™, it is possible
to predict consumer reactions to all possible combinations of these package elements.
How Does PackageOpt™ Work?
Once the basic variables of effective packaging for a brand are identified
through qualitative research, Decision Analyst's PackageOpt™ research methodology
identifies optimal prototype packaging concepts, using choice-modeling experiments.
Different brand name treatments, messages, themes, illustrations, imagery, colors,
layouts, etc., can represent thousands of possible package designs. Each respondent
usually sees five to 10 scenarios (i.e., combinations of variables). PackageOpt™
tests subsets of all of these possible combinations to predict the effectiveness
of every possible set of elements. The top 10 or 15 packaging concepts are identified
for additional package testing, beginning with PackageScreen®.
The package design process typically begins with the creation of a large number
of “rough” or early-stage designs. A low-cost packaging research system
to evaluate early-stage packaging ideas and concepts in batches of 10 to 20 at
a time. It identifies the package designs that resonate with consumers, so that
creative efforts can be focused on the better designs.
How Does PackageScreen® Work?
A representative sample of 300 target-audience consumers are recruited. These
participants are invited to come to our encrypted Webserver and view the early-stage
package designs. Each respondent sees all of the package designs one at a time
(front panel only) on his/her computer monitor, in randomized order. Then each
person views the package designs a second time and answers a series of questions
about each design. The answers to the survey are fed into a mathematical model
to calculate an overall score for each design. The highest-rated designs are recommended
for further development.
The next step in the design process is to learn more about the better designs
so that further improvements can be made. PackageCheck® provides this diagnostic
feedback. PackageCheck® is a proprietary online-based, monadic pretesting
system to evaluate early-stage packaging concepts.
How Does PackageCheck® Work?
A representative sample of target-audience consumers is recruited to view each
package design online. Each respondent sees only one package design (i.e., a monadic
test) and then answers a series of questions, including open-ended questions.
The report includes answers to standard questions, compared to Decision Analyst’s
action standards, as well as verbatim responses to open-ended questions. The verbatim
detail is valuable to creative teams as they strive to improve the graphic design,
as well as the copy. A typical PackageCheck® study is based on 75 to 100 target-audience
As packages near the end of the design process, a more complete evaluation
is required, with comprehensive measurements to assess all of the important elements
of package design. PackageTest® is Decision Analysts’ comprehensive,
online packaging research system to evaluate finished (or near-finished) package
How Does PackageTest® Work?
A representative sample is recruited from one of our worldwide online panels,
and qualified respondents are invited to evaluate the package design. Recommended
sample size is 200. Respondents first see the package’s front panel, and
later view the other panels. The research design is monadic (i.e., no respondent
evaluates more than one package design). The respondents complete a battery of
questions and diagnostic ratings about the package. The report includes answers
to standard questions, as well as the coded responses to all open-ended questions,
along with analysis and interpretation.
Our SellingPower™ mathematical model, based on a number of key variables, calculates an overall score for the package design and compares it to our action standards.
Custom/Ad Hoc Packaging Research
Regardless of the method of testing, one of the focal points of package research is the shelf impact or attention value of the package in the context of competitive
packages. Does the consumer notice the package on the shelf? Can the consumer quickly identify the brand? Is the package appealing enough that the brand gets
considered for purchase?
To evaluate shelf impact, we typically create representative displays of the test package in a competitive environment. The test package is rotated within
the display. The displays (with the rotations) are shown to a representative sample of consumers. The respondents are questioned about what they see and what they
understand as the length-of-time exposure increases. This methodology helps determine the visibility (or attention value) of a test package, relative to competitive
packages. The attention value and brand registration of every package design are constant focal points of Decision Analyst’s research.
The retail shopping experience can be simulated online with virtual technology,
so that respondents visually “fly into” a store and move to a shelf
set where the test package is shown in a competitive context. Respondents are
asked to choose the brand they would be most likely to buy if the products on
the shelf set were the choices available. Respondents can click on packages to
see greater detail, including ingredient statements and nutritional information.
With 3D animation, packages can also be modeled so that respondents can rotate
the packages to view them from many different angles. This is especially valuable
if the package design involves a new shape of an unusual shape.
For some packages, eye-tracking can provide additional diagnostic information.
Depending on the product category and packaging issues, eye-tracking might be
recommended. Eye-tracking can help reveal where a consumer’s eyes are focusing,
show the pattern of eye movements, and map where the eyes are lingering. Pupil
dilation can be an indicator of arousal. These measures are not predictive, but
can add to our understanding of why the package scores as it does, and provide
clues about how the package might be improved.
Packaging Research Services
Decision Analyst is a global marketing research and analytical consulting firm
with over 35 years of experience in packaging research. We have tested hundreds
of packages over the past two decades for leading consumer goods companies. We
are a world leader in online packaging research. If you would like more information
about Package Testing, please contact Jerry W. Thomas, President/CEO
or call 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.
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