Packaging design dictates winners even in mature, saturated markets.
Last year, Affinnova, a global marketing technology company, published “Package Design Trend Watch: The Beverage Aisle”, a comprehensive package design analysis report of the beverage market. The findings confirmed that package design is the key factor in gaining market share.
FACT: Packaging drives 36% of purchase decisions – more than TV ads, digital advertising or peer recommendations. – MeadWestvaco Packaging Methods Study, 2013.
Here are the key findings of the analysis:
Design is key to helping newer brands compete against category leaders. NOS and AMP, energy drinks by Coca-Cola and Pepsi respectively, failed to gain share against Red Bull and Monster despite the advertising and distribution of the two parent behemoths. Yet, Sparkling ICE, with limited advertising and distribution in the sparkling water category, effectively used package design to beat out category leader Perrier.
Design is key to helping overcome a late start. In 2011, Kraft’s MiO became a leader in the water enhancer category. Yet, Coca-Cola’s new Minute Maid offering quickly gained share by building brand awareness with exceptional package design, which scored highest with consumers for brand equity as well as outscoring MiO on traits like “wholesome”, “fresh”, “flavorful”, and “natural”.
Design is key to carving out a niche. Red Bull and Monster are category leaders in energy drinks, yet Starbucks’ Refreshers and Double Shot brands gained share with a softer, less macho package design, which appealed to women by 2-1.
Design is key. Period. In the rivalry between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, Pepsi has successfully used effective package design to outperform Coca-Cola in various categories. Pepsi’s Sobe Lifewater grabbed consumers’ attention by driving brand equity against Coca-Cola’s Glaceau Vitaminwater. Pepsi’s Izze sparkling juice converted twice as many purchasers versus Coca-Cola’s Honest Fizz.
In conclusion, the analysis showed that traditional marketing drivers are becoming less effective in helping brands gain a competitve edge. Brands that put energy into creating strong package designs gain tremendous advantage.