Package Design is new media

The new media I’m talking about is for new product introductions, and what tools a marketer should use to build consumer brand awareness for a new product. Turns out its best to spend your money on package design and other in-store media. Here’s why.

As you know, I am a package designer. And even the few shy ones among us can be accused of having a strong, even evangelical, sense of the consistent value our work helps build for clients.

But historically we haven’t had a clear and convincing case over those on Madison Avenue selling the powers of traditional TV advertising.

That is until recently.

A new Nielson/Bases study, as reported in Ad Age this week, has some fascinating hard numbers. And there are three pieces of data from this study that support the notion of the real value of in-store media.

1. The store now beats TV
It seems the leading driver of product awareness is the retail store not TV. By a 50% to 36% margin, consumers said they learn about new products where they buy them, not from TV messages. There is evidence that shoppers are more receptive to new ideas while actually shopping, rather than channel surfing.

2. This trend is growing
This trend of awareness driven by in-store activity seems to be rising. The figures above of 50% vs. 36% were from 2008. In 2004 these figures were almost tied at 52% vs. 48%. The reasons are not clear, it could be a more selective shopper, a search for more value, or a more fragmented media environment, but the trend is clear from the data.

3. Heavy users are even more influenced by in-store decisions
By 55% for the store to 35% for TV, loyal customers (defined as those three times more likely than average to buy a product), were more likely to say that the retail environment is their preferred source for brand awareness.

So yes, I am a package designer, but it isn’t a stretch to say that the product package is the foundation of all shopper-marketing efforts. No end-aisle display will work without an appropriate package, no POS merchandiser has any power unless it is designed to maximize the package, and no coupon program will work if a consumer can’t find your brand.

If you are a marketer take a look at this data, and then take a look at your package. Evidence is mounting that this may be one of the best places to put your new media resources.

Get the package right before you turn on the TV.

The display shown was designed by Mechtronics for Duracell


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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3 Responses to Package Design is new media

  1. Great article. It is nice to see some actual statistics behind the fact that effective package design grabs the attention of the consumer and makes them buy it if it is good. Emotional connections sell! Thanks for this story.

  2. Pingback: Design corner #38 – New bus design for London, Visual recipes, Showreels, Giant wall stickers and much more… – The Blogs at HowStuffWorks

  3. Pingback: Product Labels are More Important than TV | Lightning Labels Blog

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