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Pros and Cons of Package Design Research

You find yourself knee-deep in a packaging redesign, ready to elevate your brand and boost sales. You’ve taken all the necessary steps. Your package design agency was carefully chosen, you’ve gone through plenty of creative design rounds, and have finally reached agreement on a couple strong contenders. Ship dates are in place and your biggest retailers have put your product(s) in their planograms. With time ticking away until your new packaging is available to the public, you find yourself at a crossroads.

Which design do you choose?

You become burdened by questions like what will our consumers say? Should we choose the evolutionary design – close in to our current packaging or choose the revolutionary design – far out, with little tie back to current?

It’s time to weigh the pros and cons of consumer research.


  • Verify if the new design and brand strategy deliver on objectives and expectations

  • Validate that the new design and branding stands out against competitors and effectively engages consumers

  • Gauge possible success at shelf in the form of purchase intent and expected purchase frequency

  • If purchase intent is statistically significant among respondents, your results could help convince retailers and investors of the power of your brand and its future success

  • Receive unbiased input from target consumers in a controlled environment before on-shelf release

  • Measure consumer interest/disinterest

  • Avoid risk of negatively affecting your core consumer loyalty

  • Avoid additional printing and plate costs if changes must be made

  • Gain strategic decision making based on data


  • Cost

  • Added time to get to shelf

  • Creation of the research (screeners, questionnaire, design concepts)

  • Depending on methodology, research itself can be timely

  • Additional changes to final selected design

  • Skewed results based on unclear or non-specific questions

  • Results are not statistically significant for use in analysis of new packaging

  • Not reaching or knowing your true target market through poorly devised screener

  • Consumers may not select your personal preference

Research success story: Wholesome!™ the leading U.S. brand of Organic, Fair Trade and Non-GMO sugars and sweeteners were debuting a new name, new positioning, and new packaging across their 50+ skus in early 2015. The re-branding was a revolutionary departure from current. In order to validate the new brand strategy as well as minimize risk and maximize potential, the marketing team at Wholesome! took the new designs into consumer testing. The screening included brand loyal consumers, natural consumers and non-natural consumers (the new target audience). The results were statistically significant in confirming the success of the rebranding to increase impact, increase brand recognition and increase purchase intention across all consumer segments compared to the previous packaging. “Nine out of ten consumers believe the brand makeover fits our positioning. We couldn’t be happier with the results,” said Bobby Patton, vice president of marketing at Wholesome!

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