Mind The Gap: Don't Let Your Packaging Forecast Fall Short!

Packaging can be a game-changer at the “first moment of truth” and is the one marketing execution every one of your users will experience.  After all, nobody reads a concept; your advertising – for those you can afford to reach – and ultimately the package must communicate the idea fully, with no major gaps, or there will be no sale. 

ACUPOLL’s work with strategic packaging consultancy PTIS (Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions, LLC), a division of HAVI Global Solutions, LLC, has resulted in a more complete packaging research solution that allows you to not only assess the strength of your package, but to understand to what degree it deliversfalls short, or even (in some cases) exceeds the strength of your concept ... and the likely volume consequences that result. 

PTIS has long preached that the primary measure of success for packaging is not appeal, but purchase interest. Packaging is the product and should be measured in the same way we measure interest in products or concepts (Purchase Probability/Likelihood To Buy, Uniqueness, and Value).  And if the package does not “sell” the benefits strongly enough, if it does not convince consumers that it will work as promised – in short, if it does not communicate all the things the concept described – it will not “sell.”

So, we investigated how well companies’ concepts were translated in packaging.  And, not surprisingly, we found a wide range of success, with some translated perfectly, which resulted in pretty good product introductions … and others falling short.

Here are some examples of concepts we tested, and re-tests of packaging only.  Note the range of Packaging Only performance:

  1. In the First Aid example, the packaging actually outperformed the concept (at least directionally), reflecting a more focused articulation of the message.
  2. The Cream Cheese concept (with packaging) scored about the same as the packaging alone.
  3. The Snack Bar tested within the same grade range between the two stimuli, albeit directionally lower.
  4. The Laundry product tested significantly lower (two full letter grades), due to dropping an important claim and reason-to-believe.

So, we believe it’s critical to “Mind the Gap” – and make sure your packaging sells your product at least as well as your concept does. That’s why ACUPOLL’s packagingmethodology is constructed to allow exactly this comparison … and even better, to let you understand the volumetric impact of your packaging execution. 

ACUPOLL believes packaging should face the same rigor as concepts, testing multiple candidates and seeking to fully understand consumer intent to purchase.  Volumetric modeling on packaging can help identify the actual gap between concept appeal and the appeal of the final packaged product.  We have seen volume from the packaging actually increase versus the concept as the packaging became more focused than the concept at selling the key benefit(s), and other times when it has led to as much as a 35% decrease in likely volume when claims and support were changed between the concept and the package.  For example, here are the volume forecasts for the four concepts above, with the concept performance set as the baseline at 100%.


Of course, volumetric predictions at the concept stage can be valuable in focusing corporate energies on the biggest ideas.  But don’t just stop there; mind the gap!  Make sure your package fully delivers your concept.  Comparing concept volumes to those of packaging is an easy and affordable way to make sure the final communication on the shelf delivers everything you’re expecting ... or even more.