Want Results? Avoid Beauty Contests When It Comes To Package Design

Want Results? Avoid Beauty Contests When It Comes To Package Design

Marketers will often turn to focus groups for feedback on current or proposed packaging design. Unfortunately, traditional focus groups tend to mimic beauty contests. They turn into opinion gathering sessions that support a participant’s point of view, rather than providing feedback on consumers’ actual buying behavior within the store environment where products are purchased.

Participants play art director over design issues, confuse the brand with the package design, react emotionally to price increase questions, and talk about what they “like” and “don’t like”. As a result, the output quality of this type of research is minimal at best.

On the other hand, effective behavior-based focus group research measures the effect of brand influence, analyzes the buying behavior of participants in a comparative retail environment, and uses eye-tracking technology to find out what consumers pay attention to – and what they ignore.

The significance of brand influence

Effective brand value testing involves separating the brand name from the actual proposed or current package design. This measurement gives an indication of how the brand is perceived prior to seeing a packaged product. Participants are then introduced to the packaging and asked if the new or proposed package design adds, or detracts from, perceived brand value. Marketers may be making a costly mistake if the perceived value of a brand is negatively affected by a new design architecture.

Buying behavior of participants in a retail environment

Packaging design is measured and tested in the comparative marketplace for which it is intended. A comparative marketplace is one in which the competition sits side by side for comparison and consideration. This is a circumstance that does not usually occur in print and broadcast media; as competitors usually do not jockey to be side-by-side.

According to Wharton School research, over one third of the brands displayed on the shelf are never seen. A colorful and exciting new design that is approved in the boardroom or chosen in a focus group may fail if all the other packages on the shelf in the same category are equally as colorful and exciting. Contrast is what makes a package design stand out on the shelf, and this can be achieved through the effective means of both design and structural innovation.

Eye-tracking technology

Consumers spend 2-3 seconds scanning a package for relevant information. If they do not immediately comprehend the benefit they will move on to a competitor’s brand. It is imperative to know what consumers are seeing and what they are not, and this can be done effectively with eye-tracking technology. This type of research gives marketers an idea of which messaging to prioritize, and which information to minimize.

Not surprisingly, the more text there is on a package, the less it will be read. Unfortunately, many well-meaning marketers think the opposite, and act accordingly. Some of the product designers at Microsoft have put together a great parody of this practice by showing how the Microsoft marketing department would redesign Apple’s iPod package. Instead of the simple and elegant messaging Apple created, it becomes a hodgepodge of system requirements, badges, call-outs, sub-branding logos, benefit statements, feature lists, and more!

Effective behavior-based focus group research goes beyond “opinion gathering”, giving researchers the feedback necessary to understand the impact and value of both present, and proposed packaging design in real-world terms.

Tim Robertson is Creative Director of BigCity, a packaging design agency. Visit http://www.bigcitygraphics.ca for more ways to avoid old-paradigm thinking around package design and research.

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Increasing Productivity With Green Fleet Vehicle Tracking

Increasing Productivity With Green Fleet Vehicle Tracking

Today’s challenge to both reduce carbon emissions and implement duty of care must now also run in tandem with the bigger picture of endeavouring to control daily running costs and cutting mobile workforce inefficiencies.

Still recovering from recession, yet facing tough ecomonic obstacles ahead, SMEs and larger fleet operations, alike, strive to maximise workforce productivity and evaluate cost effectiveness in the practical, daily business of attempting to complete more deliveries and increasing work schedules to offset escalating fuel prices, amongst other rising expenditures.

The so-called ‘green fleet’ realtime vehicle tracking technology, has both the capability to deliver all the necessary applications to comply with energy efficiency requirements and provide dynamic business streamlining, yet often fails to be recognised as probably one of the most highly valuable investment assets that a fleet operation can undertake.

A combination of short term planning measured against timetabled return on investment, together with a perception of judging systems training against actual implementation, can hold back company progress. Failure to recognise that running a ‘green fleet’ produces real measurable value by the deployment of a vehicle tracking solution, which tightens up location, time scheduling and constantly monitored control over mobile resource productivity. Unfortunately, this results in constantly having to struggle against industry competition and with reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, unaided.

The introduction of a vehicle tracker can have at first, implications for retaining workforce trust. However, if a productivity incentive and reward package is also introduced with the understanding that daily driving manoeuvres and behaviour count towards  larger percentage saving, both SME and larger transportation enterprises can benefit, from driving cab to boardroom.

In the years ahead, fleet operators will need to keep up with the emerging technology solutions to help limit fuel consumption, reduce emissions and sustain their own necessary growth. However, today, the reduction of fuel use can simply be achieved by reducing the total daily mileage!

A fleet gps tracking system can set a strict boundary for vehicle usage, report on number of miles driven, individual journeys, and any abnormal journey patterns. Defining and recording a vehicle’s working territory according to entering and exiting and the duration of time within the specified area is set up by the application of a ‘geofencing’ programme.

Behind the wheel behaviour has a significant impact on CO2 emissions with estimates claiming that harsh braking, idling, revving in gear, speeding and time spent in cruise control can account for nearly third of fuel consumption and ultimately, means poor miles per gallon performance. Fuel consumption can be cut by an average  of between 7-10 percent using commercial vehicle tracking software, which can set customisable thresholds as well as monitoring fleet performance.

Realtime reporting can update driving performance e.g. speeding, idling or braking to fleet managers every 20 seconds, who can immediately react. GPS tracking can also use  interactive maps, which can be viewed online allowing a change of routes  according to traffic conditions or the altering of  schedules, thereby reducing both wasted fuel, energy emission and cut running costs by up to a fifth.

Increasingly recognised as a key duty of care issue that applies to all fleet operators, whatever their service industry, green fleet vehicle tracking not only complies with the urgency of emission reduction but simultaneously, dramatically enhances backroom and front end field planning and productivity.

http://www.cybit.co.uk are the UK’s Leading Supplier of Vehicle Based Telematics Services, GPS Vehicle Tracking, Fleet Tracking, Trailer Tracking with customisable added value application modules, who deliver an extensive portfolio of advanced vehicle tracking solutions to over 2,000 enterprises across a wide-range of industries. UKAS accredited to ISO 9001:2000, Cybit’s dedicated professional services team can provide guidance to legislation compliance, Human Resource Management and Duty of Care best practice.

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Learn how world-class companies drive sustainability with reusable packaging.
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