linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
     
  Satkar Gidda Attracting Consumers through Package and Product Innovation
by Satkar Gidda
May 23, 2005

For years branded packaging designers, and more importantly brand owners, have been aware that consumers make as many as 70 percent of their buying decisions in the store. They are also faced with huge choice in any product category. An article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Consumer-Goods Firms Duel for Shelf Space" indicates that, in many superstores, consumers face up to 100,000 items from which to choose (22 October 2004, Deborah Ball).

So, what does this mean to the brand owner, who is not only fighting for the hearts and minds of the consumer but also for the increasingly limited amount of space on the retailer’s shelf?

 
 

Year on year, retailers demand more for valuable shelf space, and as private label and specialty products widen the field and raise the level of competition, the strategic impact on packaging is huge. Now, more than ever, there is a need to achieve excellent stand out on shelf and product/pack recall in the mind of the consumer. But, looking around supermarket shelves, one does not see widespread individuality. Most packs in any category seem to have leapt straight from the same gene pool: same shapes, same sizes, same colorways.

Any 3D or graphic designer will tell you absolutely free of charge that the obvious way to stand out is to look different. Long-established brand icons such as Toblerone chocolate and Polo mints managed to achieve it. These are iconoclastic products that smashed category norms and have since become icons in their own right. However, these brands would be considered unacceptably innovative by marketers looking to launch them today and would be either strangled at birth or sent back to the drawing board.

So, what is the reason? Basically, while innovation was once seen as a vital tool in the consumer goods armory, risk-averse marketers are now squeezing out creativity in the interests of short-term profitability. Every new product or pack concept is researched to death, and many great ideas are thrown out simply because a group of consumers is suspicious of anything that sounds new.

Conservatism among the buying public, twinned with a generation of marketing directors who won't take a chance on something that breaks new ground, is leading to supermarkets and car showrooms full of me-too products, line extensions and minor product tweaks.

The notion of triangular chocolate (launched in 1908) would today be considered too difficult and too risky as a proposition, as would a mint with a hole, introduced 40 years later.

Consumers want new ideas and breakthroughs but are fed with a diet of conservatism that is sweeping through British corporations. Decisions made solely by marketing departments and market research companies are by their very nature unlikely to set the world alight and it is short-sighted to base all new product decisions on them.

A Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) survey several years ago suggested that while 33 percent of respondents believe that innovation "creates strategic competitive advantage," 42 percent agreed with the proposition that their own corporate culture is "the key constraint to innovation." The results showed that there is a long way to go until the innovation process is deeply embedded in the culture of companies; its use still seems predominantly tactical.

Our own agency, SiebertHead, has worked on Phileas Fogg snacks in pyramid packs and Torino wine in an irregular shaped bottle. Fogg's pyramids had a lift of a hundred percent in the first year of its new packaging shape. That sort of ROI is a compelling argument for innovation.

Despite huge amounts spent on research a quick look at the average supermarket will demonstrate that most packaging in the FMCG area is me-too and just doesn't stand out from the huge crowd of products on display. Those brand owners that have the conviction and courage to do something new will sweep away the competition.

Maybe now it's time for your marketing department to turn to an analysis of brands that have made the leap and take courage from their success, rather than let focus groups decide and define the future of the brand.

 
   
   Satkar Gidda is a director at SiebertHead.



 
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 10 )  email

  brandchannel brandspeak archive   2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  | 2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
 
 
Dec 19, 2005 Feeding the brand: New adventures in podcasts, RSS, ring tones and digital radio -- Nick Wreden
  Podcasts, RSS, ring tones and digital radio offer endless ops to communicate the brand in the 21st century.
   
 
Dec 5, 2005 Can Americans Do It Better? -- Vincent Grimaldi de Puget
  Why is it so hard for the Detroit manufacturers to get it right? A little bit of brand management could drive GM a long way down the road of solvency.
   
 
Nov 21, 2005 Capturing young minds with compelling content -- Nic Jones
  Developing an active relationship with your young market means creating engaging content.
   
 
Nov 7, 2005 Does your brand have hand? -- Karl Treacher
  The quickest way to lose loyalty? Offer to do whatever it takes to please the customer.
   
 
Oct 24, 2005 Tragedy Has a Language All Its Own -- William Lozito
  Words can be as powerful as a natural disaster, or would that be tragedy? A look at the descriptive power of words.
   
 
Oct 10, 2005 Choosing a Powerful Brand Name -- Tom Blackett
  In the top 100 global brands, family names are the most prominent. What can we learn about naming from looking at the top 100 brands in the world?
   
 
Sep 26, 2005 Protecting Your Trademark Far from Home -- Cassiano Golos Teixeira
  Managing a mark across global markets can be tricky and costly.
   
 
Sep 12, 2005 Hip-Hop Culture Crosses into Brand Strategy -- Joseph Anthony
  Big corporations cross over to cash in on the hip-hop craze sweeping the US.
   
 
Aug 29, 2005 Nurturing a brand strategy in retail operations -- Linda Anderson
  How can a brand help nursery and garden retailers reap rewards?
   
 
Aug 15, 2005 Goodwill Hunting: Financial Value of Marketing & PR -- Doug Albertson
  The value of goodwill in gaining return on your marketing investment.
   
 
Aug 1, 2005 Marketing Metrics and Package Design -- Ted Mininni
  How can a good package help deliver return on investment?
   
 
Jul 18, 2005 China shops for new US export: global brands -- Carl D. Howe
  Lenovo buys IBM's PC business, Haier bids on Maytag and CNOOC bids for Unocal. China is on a shopping spree for US brands.
   
 
Jul 4, 2005 The Value of Technology in Managing Brands -- Kent St.Vrain
  Can the technology platforms used by finance and operations help marketers too?
   
 
Jun 20, 2005 Miss Silverbird International: Brand extension or brand arrogance? -- Uche Nworah
  Miss Silverbird International competes on the crowded stage of world beauty pageants.
   
 
Jun 6, 2005 Can Automakers Make Us Dream Again? -- Vincent Grimaldi de Puget
  The real strategic issue is that young grads dream of Silicon Valley rather than Detroit. GM and Ford not only compete with Toyota and Renault, but also with Google and Pixar.
   
 
May 9, 2005 Overpowering the Brand Cynic -- Maureen P. Wall
  Overcoming the cynics among your ranks.
   
 
Apr 25, 2005 Can China’s heritage brands be saved? -- Doris Ho
  Can China’s heritage brands compete against tough international goods and services?
   
 
Apr 11, 2005 In Pursuit of Brand Loyalty -- Jean-Léon Bouchenoire
  Do customers lack loyalty or have brand owners betrayed their brand promise? Demonstrated by examples from the car industry and fashion houses.
   
 
Mar 28, 2005 Are You Brand Worthy? -- Kim Castle
  How strong is your commitment to brand? Four questions to find out if your business is in fact brand worthy.
   
 
Mar 14, 2005 Open Source Branding: Invite customers in -- James Campbell
  Brands should drop the subtle psychological bullying and try genuinely interacting with their audience.
   
 
Feb 28, 2005 A human operating system for your brand -- Jean-Claude Saade
  Customer relationship management: In defense of an honest relationship with consumers.
   
 
Feb 14, 2005 Beyond Royalty Revenue: Measuring ROI from licensing -- Stephen R. Reily
  In an era where accountability for marketing resources is at an all time high, how should we measure the full range of benefits from licensing.
   
 
Jan 31, 2005 If marketing is not important to you, what is? -- Vincent Grimaldi de Puget
  A combination of strategic and organizational approaches to marketing is central to competitiveness and survival.
   
 
Jan 17, 2005 Kids’ Brands: Staple, fad, craze or classic? -- Nic Jones
  An appeal for categorizing kids’ products by distinctions between fads and classics.
   
 
Jan 3, 2005 Would you buy polluted water? Reflections on brands and sustainable development -- Vincent Grimaldi de Puget
  Is sustainable development good business sense? From junk food to environmental ruin, many brands are laughing in the decline of our planet and mankind.