Packaging research – testing your pack

Your pack is a key ‘touchpoint’ with consumers; for many, it is the first point of contact they will have with your brand.  As such, your pack is as much about communicating your brand as about providing a mechanism for selling your product.  Our pack design research philosophy is less a ‘beauty contest’ but more to identify the extent to which and how your pack enhances or detracts from your brand image.  Is it working for or against you?

The key considerations for a packaging test are:

Is it pre-design or post-design testing (or both)

·         Pre-design - testing an existing design can provide vital information for those considering an overhaul of their packaging; where is the existing design performing more strongly or weakly? What parts of the design should be retained and what parts can go?

·         Post-design – test one or more design option against each other and / or the competition

How many designs you share with respondents

You can…

·         test more than one new design and / or

·         test a new design against the current design and / or

·         test a new design against a competitor(s) 

However, whatever your needs, it is important to consider how many different products a person can reasonably absorb and  effectively respond to.  It can differ based on the nature of the product, the complexity of designs, the amount of difference between designs and other factors but, historically, we tend to test between 3-5 designs.

How the pack is shared with the consumers

·         Some packs can be tested on the internet using images of one or more faces of the design. The advantages of this are clearly time and expense; this is a considerably less costly approach than face-to-face interviewing. 

·         Other packs need to be tested in a face-to-face environment; these are packs where touching and feeling the pack is important and where showing different faces independently will not convey the pack successfully.   Although considerably more expensive, this approach has the benefit that we can take selected respondents and interview them in more depth if there are additional issues that you would like to investigate. 

The core questions you ask

·         First, do not ask too much.  You and / or your designers may have spent weeks or months perfecting your designs but you cannot expect members of the public to appreciate minor nuances in pack design

·         Brand / product ratings, for you and, potentially, key competition.  To be used as a benchmark BUT keep number of ratings as short as possible; people can glaze over when faced with long lists

·         (If pre-design) ask respondents to describe the existing packaging, what can they remember about it, possibly even test for colour recognition

·         Pack ratings, for you and, potentially, key competition – on same criteria as brand ratings (plus a couple relating to design)

·         Likes and dislikes of packs

·         Finally, the ‘beauty contest’; which is their favourite, and why

·         Additional questions

The key analysis...

The test generates a wide range of data but, for us, the key analysis is a comparison of the pack ratings and the brand ratings.  This enables you to spot the size and direction of 'gaps' between the two ratings and to determine where the pack is having a positive impact on your brand image...and where it is not.