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FLEXO Magazine : July 2010
Industry Indicators Nobody Reads a Concept the importance of Packaging to a New Product introduction By Jack r. Gordon Ever wondered why so many new products fail when so much effort and money is spent ensuring that we get the concept exactly right, and that it is then paired with a good product? Tens of millions of dollars are spent each year in the U.S. alone to quantitatively predict the effect of introducing new products into the marketplace at the concept and product level. And, much is also spent on assessing the repositioning of current products. Many estimates place new product failure rates at 75-90 per- cent. While some of these failures can undoubtedly be traced to poorly thought-out and researched ideas, many failures are simply the result of poor execution. Having tested about 40,000 concepts and positioning worldwide over the last 20 years, AcuPOLL has witnessed (and participated in) many successful introductions, but has also seen a lot of good ideas fail. And, one of the key culprits, from our experience, is that the concept often fails to be effectively communicated to consumers. PaCkagiNg to the ResCue It does not matter how good a concept you have if the consumer never gets it—and nobody reads a concept before making a purchase decision. Although advertising certainly helps consumers understand what we are selling, most brands spend much less (or nothing) on advertising these days. Modern media is also effective at getting copy points across, but most people still do not seek online help to better understand most categories before going shopping. So, that leaves us with packaging. Packaging must effec- tively communicate the concept, in addition to other packag- ing objectives. What do we expect packaging to accomplish when we execute the introduction of a new product? The answer is almost overwhelming. Packaging’s major goals are: • To protect the product (from damage, tampering, etc.) and keep it fresh. • To break through the clutter and “grab” the consumer as she/he passes by. • To communicate the concept; that is, hand the insight back to the consumer and sell the benefits, both rational and emotional. • For line or brand extensions, to support the brand, its image and equity, and to assist the brand in bonding with the consumer to help build a stronger brand over time. This is a lot to accomplish, especially with the limited size of many packages. But all these goals are absolutely critical to a successful new product introduction. The physical protec- tion (safety and security) of the product is well known, so this won’t be discussed further. However, the other points are often where packaging fails to support the introduction, and will be discussed in detail. Some companies pay scant attention to creating distinctive packaging, while for others this measure is of the ultimate importance, even at the expense of supporting or developing brand equity. The ability of packaging to grab the consumer’s attention when she/he is passing the shelf (often with many different things going on in her/his mind) is crucial. But it must be accomplished in a way that strikes the consumer as taste- ful, not garish. Consumers must not only notice the package, but want to pick it up to learn more. This is especially true for new product success. Thus, distinctiveness must be evaluated in context with other key packaging measures to ensure it is really a positive. What does your label or package say about your product? • More people will see packaging than will ever see ads • Successful new product introductions require a more detailed understanding of what is being communi- cated by the packaging • Tens of millions of dollars are spent each year in the U.S . alone to predict the effect of introducing new products—only for 70 to 90 percent to fail anyway. 14 FLEXO July 2010 www.flexography.org FLXO_July10_v2.indd 14 7/16/10 9:36 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010