Product packaging: Finding the little things that frustrate people… and turning them into innovations
Packaging innovation is all about the little things.
The insights that guide our way when we’re working on a packaging project are detailed and granular, and gained through acute observation of consumers at key moments of truth along the whole customer journey: how do they find the product on shelf? How do they pick it up, where do they put it in their shopping trolley? How do they open the pack, where do they store it? How do they use the product, what do they do afterwards?
Little details like these may seem trivial, but they’re not. These “low-level” insights (as opposed to the “high-level” questions of behaviour and attitudes that we deal with when we’re looking at brand innovation and positioning) can hide huge opportunity.
If you can solve some of the tiny things that frustrate consumers about product packaging, you can create a winning innovation.
Packaging innovations can drive value, help your brand stand out at shelf, and offer differentiation versus the competition – but it’s essential to keep consumer insight at the heart of your challenge.
“Clients often think that if the current packaging seems to be working okay, or they’re in a ‘low-interest’ category, then it’s not worth exploring,” explains Happen’s senior agent Heather Newton. “But even in these ‘low-interest’ categories, we’ve found a huge range of consumer frustrations just waiting to be uncovered – each one a potential springboard for innovation.”
A change in packaging can also bring an existing product to a new audience or a new occasion. For instance, Heinz baked beans, for decades sold only in tins, are now available in microwaveable Snap-Pots, driving differentiation versus own-brand, commanding a higher price point and meeting needs for singles looking for speedy mealtimes with less washing up. 1kg re-sealable Fridge Packs, with measurement lines down the side, are aimed at families, and drive both value and frequency. Similarly, fruit squash has always been sold in big bottles for the kitchen cupboard – now it also comes super-concentrated in tiny squeezy bottles that you can take with you on the go, opening up new occasions and going head-to-head with flavoured ready-to-drink options.
And all of this is especially important in categories where product innovation has long lead times. As Heather explains: “If a pharma company wants to make even small changes to the current formulation of a product, that could require years’ of testing to meet the regulatory and legal requirements in each market. But by changing the packaging of an existing formulation to meet a consumer need or solve a small frustration, a new idea can get to market much more quickly.”
Whether you’re opening up new occasions, taking on the competition, reaching new consumer groups, or driving additional value, the potential for packaging innovation to make a difference to your brand, in market, is huge. To discuss a packaging innovation you may have considered, talk to us at Happen.