Interest and focus on packaging design has increased in recent years, and with it so has the number of packaging research studies. Unfortunately, when research is fielded by entities that are not experts in the nuances of package design, the findings can lack the direction necessary to drive a successful packaging execution to market. Product Ventures, a packaging innovation consultancy, shares how to avoid the classic packaging research pitfalls that can ensnare a design initiative.
You get “duhs”, not “ahas”
Obvious insights result when researchers lack sufficient understanding of packaging to effectively probe, uncover, and obtain actionable insights. However, researchers working arm-in-arm with designers and engineers ensure the right questions are asked, and the appropriate tools are leveraged based on realistic packaging possibilities. This results in more meaningful insights that unlock design potential to produce a compelling, cost-effective and manufacturable solution.
Garbage in…garbage out
One must avoid the enticing convenience of leveraging online research for the screening of new packaging ideas. When designing a tangible item, it is critical to enable consumer interaction with 3D packaging prototypes so that viable options aren’t prematurely eliminated based on misperception and/or strict visual impression. Packaging is a physical object and its size, feel, and functionality can be just as important as its visual communication.
New package gets trial, but not repeat
Packaging is often evaluated solely from an “at shelf” perspective; however, packaging has a life- cycle that goes beyond the shelf. The package’s ability to win at shelf may lead to “trial”, but “repeat” is derived by the package’s ability to perform in use. There isn’t one tool that tells all, so it is important to conduct research across pertinent package moments within the consumer package experience to ensure a successful outcome.
Redundant rounds of research
Typically packaging research does not accommodate for the modification of designs on-the-spot to confirm consumers’ needs are being met. Because consumers are reactive and not creative, they cannot envision and confirm their packaging desires until they see them realized. Real-time iterative prototyping enables the team to “get it right” within the same research session, avoiding the additional time and cost of redundant rounds of design refinement and validation.
Skipped steps and missteps
Budget and timing restrictions often lead to too few, or inappropriate, consumer steps within the package development process. Qualitative research is best used to understand but often misused to measure. Quantitative research is best used to measure but lacks depth of understanding. When cost-constrained initiatives necessitate one consumer touch point, the right step is a hybrid of quantitative and qualitative research. This enables consumers to quantitatively choose and qualitatively offer feedback.
In today’s fast-moving and competitive marketplace, failure is not an option. When research is fielded by entities that are not experts in the nuances of package design, the findings can lack the direction necessary to drive a successful packaging execution to market. It’s essential to employ expertise that can effectively navigate through the packaging innovation frontier, elicit meaningful and actionable insights, deliver a consumer-preferred package solution, and avoid the ultimate pitfall…Failure to Launch.