headline press information

Date 29th April 2013 / www.procarton.com
Title What makes packaging successful?
Text The international Institute Stratégir focuses on the most realistic possible testing of the two lives of packaging: on the shelf and at home with the user. Pro Carton spoke to Managing Director Line Kerrad on the numerous tasks packaging has to fulfil. For download in print quality, please click on the photo.

Stratégir was founded in 1986 and is an international, independent market research group, specialised on Consumer and Shopper Research in the fields of consumer and luxury goods as well as OTC. The focus of packaging research is the evaluation of the two lives of packaging at the POS and in-home by employing a complete diagnosis of the appearance on the shelf and a comprehensive individual evaluation off the shelf.


What are the communication functions of packaging?

Every packaging has two lives: a social life on the shelf, and a second, private, life in the home of the consumer after purchase. First, there is communication with the shoppers at the POS. The communication genius Lars Wallentin (ex Nestlé) coined the phrase: "Packaging is comparable to five seconds of advertising, running continuously." Packaging needs to be seen and recognised in the competitive environment, it must be attractive. Hence: no attention, no sale! The mass effect (given by the number of facings), readability and recognition are important for impact at the POS. A pack on its own may create a completely different effect compared to a number of facings on the shelf. In case of product ranges, a good balance needs to be achieved between range coherence and range differentiation to support product selection.


Would it not make sense to support a product with Shelf Ready Packaging?

Shelf Ready Packaging not only offers opportunities, it also bears risks. The advantages are: additional space for communication, increasing shelf impact, faster selection of products, conveyance of high quality through premium and stable presentation. The risk is that primary packaging may be covered, at least in part. Access and replacement may also not be as easy as with shelves. In case of a planned presentation with SRP it is essential to take this into consideration when developing and testing the primary packaging. If everything is well thought-out, designed and implemented, then Shelf Ready Packaging can be very effective.


But the life of a pack does not end at the POS?

Correct. Good packaging must be successful in both lives. At home the packaging continues to communicate with the consumer, the product and the brand need to reinforce continuously. A consumer has certain expectations for every product category, and these must be met. Does the fabric softener whisper: "I will make your washing smell fresh" or does the infant food reassure responsible parents: "I am a natural product"? In the home setting the packaging must also be convincing in terms of handling. And in fact there is a third life: recycling. Successful packaging conveys a feeling of social responsibility as it does not burden the environment excessively.


What is relevant for relaunches and why do they flop so often?

Each rework needs to start with an analysis of the current packaging: if the pack is to be relaunched it is crucial to analyse the current packaging to be successful. What makes the packaging special - also in comparison to competitors? What can be modified and what must remain unchanged?


Once the strengths and weaknesses of the packaging have been determined, the objectives of the relaunch need to clearly defined. Which direction should the changes take? Where should the pack deliver more than at present?


From own experience we know: a high percentage of packs already fail in their social life, on the shelf. Often the basic requirements necessary to create high shelf impact are not taken into account during reworking of the pack. For example, the logo is too small, the contrasts are inadequate, or the typo is difficult to read for someone standing in front of the shelf.


How are you presently developing methods and techniques to estimate the success potential of packaging?

We employ a number of technologies. For example, if a new pack design cannot be produced as mock-up, then we create a virtual shelf in original size using 3D modelling to represent reality at the POS. We can then simulate realistic purchasing conditions via video projections to test the new packaging in the current competitive environment.
Eye-tracking supplements explicit questioning when testing packaging. Consumers cannot verbalise all information. Implicit eye-tracking measurement is the link between what consumers say and what they do. There are two different approaches: mobile eye-tracking via spectacles can measure the visual impact of packaging on the shelf. In addition, this supplies information on navigation patterns. Eye-tracking via monitors gives information as to which elements of a pack are decisive for visual impact and how consumers decode packaging.


What role does packaging play in the Internet era?

Here, research is still in its infancy. Online shopping mainly relates to the second, private, life of packaging. The pack continues to communicate with consumers on the Internet. The focus tends to be more on conveying information, either about the product itself or the brand, i.e. via codes which link to corresponding websites on the Internet. However, the visual display of the pack continues to provide an emotional approach.



Line Kerrad

Line Kerrad

Virtual shelf

Virtual shelf



Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.