NEW YORK -- Brand marketers thinking of changing a package design should first consult with consumers, distributors and retailers.
By doing so, the chances of producing a winner that increases brand equity will be greater, according to Cynthia Ziemer Burke, director of marketing at Mott's USA division of Cadbury Beverages, Stamford, Conn. "It will surely be a package that will increase sales, and that has to be your bottom-line objective," said Ziemer Burke.
"People shop the shelves. They buy the brand they are familiar with or they pick up the best-looking product on the shelf," she said.
Ziemer Burke spoke about the repositioning of Cadbury's Mr. & Mrs. T cocktail mixes and Mott's apple juice at last month's Strategic Research Institute's Effective Product Packaging conference here.
She said manufacturers should consult with their consumers, sales reps, brokers, distributors, retailers, advertising agencies, and finance, operations, packaging, research and development, accounting and logistics departments when redesigning or designing new packaging to address their various needs.
Ziemer Burke said that, in redesigning Mott's apple juice from a 64-ounce glass jar to the plastic bottle now hitting store shelves, Mott's practiced some QFD: Quality Functional Deployment.
"QFD in its simplest sense is a way of listening to customers' needs, determining the best way to fulfill them, and making sure that everyone internally works together to meet those customer needs.
"With Mott's, the consumer wanted a bottle that was easy to hold, easy to pour, easy to open, shatter-proof and recyclable.
"In addition to looking at the customer wants, we also looked at the production costs and abilities and weighed a trade-off between a hot/cold-fill process, which is what our competitors use, vs. an aseptic process which was not currently being used by anyone in the multiserve juice and drink aisle," she said.
Mott's decided on the aseptic filling process because it offered an easy-to-pour bottle with a square shape and a grip built into the back of the bottle.
"Consumers prefer it to our competitor's plastic bottle and they intend to purchase it. The square shape delivers to the trade because it is lightweight and shatterproof, and the efficient square design allows us to fit 12 bottles on the shelf instead of 11, resulting in lower storage, transportation and distribution costs, and less out-of-stocks. This bottle also can fit on the middle shelf at eye level where consumers can easily see it," Ziemer Burke said.
"We learned by listening to our trade and consumer customers and ended up with a superior product as a result," she added.
Cadbury also listened to its consumers and distributors when it decided to reposition its Mr. & Mrs. T's cocktail mixes.
Cadbury decided on a completely redesigned label that replaced the familiar circle logo with bold block letters. However, when the label was shown to distributors they balked and said changing the logo would be akin to changing the logo of Coca-Cola or Campbell's Soup.
After test-marketing an evolutionary label that kept the circle alongside the revolutionary label, Cadbury found that while both labels attracted new users in equal numbers, the evolutionary label was preferred to existing labels.