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Achieving consumer-driven packaging innovation

Great packaging comes from understanding consumers’ unarticulated needs, says Paul Baker, manager of packaging innovation at Masterfoods USA.
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A focus group won’t necessary given you this feedback. Consider sending your branding and marketing departments out to participate in consumer research so they understand how consumers use products and related issues that affect package design Baker says.

Masterfoods’ approach to consumer-driven innovative packaging centers on four core steps:

1. Listen by observation. Photograph consumers as they shop in stores. “Lots of times stores will give their OK to use a camera. If one store says ‘no’ go to another store” Baker notes. Record consumers’ behavior and the context that shapes it. Are they often in a hurry?

“Have empathy for those people you’re designing for” Baker told the Brand Identity & Package Design conference in April in New York. “Then you can begin to innovate around those issues and solve their problems rather than just tweaking or upgrading packaging.”

2. Design with personas. Create a fictitious consumer or two—mom or a son or daughter—whose needs articulated in your consumer research guide design.

3. When using personas understand the consumer’s goal. Identify a desired result rather than create a task list. Does your consumer want to engage your product while watching TV? Is she a busy mom who wants to reward her kids’ good behavior with a mess-free snack?

4. Brainstorm. Baker suggests following a sequence of dig translate and evaluate. Do you truly understand your brand’s consumer and have the research to support it? Are the data accurately represented in order to translate into meaningful concept generation? Finally did you get it all right?

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