Many marketers (and Insights agencies) approach packaging and shopper research from an advertising background and perspective. However, the reality is that these are fundamentally different media – and there is risk in applying an advertising “mindset” (and methods/metrics) to shopper studies.
Advertising is about implanting brand and product messages, which are to be recalled and acted upon a later time.
Moreover, advertising is typically viewed individually (without direct competition in view) and has a fixed time frame and distinct viewing sequence (beginning, middle and end).
Packaging and shopper marketing is about driving immediate action and closing sale.
It is encountered in the clutter of the aisle (typically next to direct competitors) and the shopper is in control: He or she can ignore it completely, spend 2 seconds scanning – or engage fully and read the back panel.
These fundamental differences translate to the most critical measures and metrics for evaluating efforts. For example, with recent learning from Behavioral Economics, there has been increased focus on “System 1” communication. But this term has different implications when applied to the two different media.
- For advertising, “System 1” is primarily about connecting on an emotional and visceral level, to implant messages that are indeed memorable.
- For shopper and packaging, “System 1” is primarily about breaking through shelf clutter, to be immediately recognizable and easily shop-able.
In both cases, it is important to communicate immediately and intuitively, but the key success criteria and metrics are different.
And in fact, we’ve found that the dominant “emotion” in the CPG shopping experience tends to be confusion or frustration at shelf – and that most packs fail to resonate strongly on an emotional level (perhaps due to the absence of video or sound). Therefore, marketers searching for “emotional packaging” – and/or developing and evaluating packs on that criterion - may be mistakenly applying an “advertising mindset” within a shopping context, and will, therefore, be disappointed in the results.
Please click here to read a more in-depth article about “Emotional Measurement and Packaging Research: What We've Learned So Far”.