Studies on Packaging and Perceived Value

Hey guys!

I wanted to help create a case for helping redevelop some branding/packaging for a client, but they are logical thinkers and don’t love change. Having some case studies would be helpful to help them understand the value it has in the perception of customers. Do you know of any studies or rebranding case studies that show the power of a rebrand or at least a packaging overhaul?

An example I have is a famous sommelier who took the crappiest wine, rebottled it, and gave it a new label. He entered it in a fancy wine competition and won! Packaging can change your perception of value greatly!

Thanks for the help!

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It’s always an interesting equation to balance. I’ve been a part of a lot of packaging strategies over the years. In the 2010s packaging really got out of hand in CE with everyone trying to have the nicest package in the Apple Store. Beats really kicked it off with all of their packaging being double wall so everything felt thick and heavy. At one point I was working on packages with fold open front flaps with magnetic closures, spot UV inks over embossed areas on the front to make renderings pop, clear windows in the inside flap to the product, molded trays etc… of course every penny that went into the package was one penny less we could spend on the product BOM. I was trying to argue for cheaper packaging so we could afford better build quality and CMF. The package gets thrown away and then someone has to live with the product. Sure we made the sale but will the person’s review of the product online be good?

I ended up identifying 3 simple principles:

  1. the package needed to protect the product in transport (the package’s entire reason for being, but worth listing as number 1)

  2. the package needed to do enough to help sell the product at the point of sale in a retail environment where someone might not get to test out or even touch the product

  3. it had to make someone feel good about their purchase until they got it home and unboxed it to minimize buyer’s remorse

Most of the packaging programs I’ve worked on in the last few years have completely shifted from aiding at the point of sale to minimizing cost/waste for D2C online sales… with maybe a simple high res printed sleeve added for retail applications. Lately it has been all about avoiding an over box, making the package the shipping box itself, and doing a little bit to tell the brand story.

Not exactly what you were looking for but just sharing my experience. :smiling_face:

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Oooh this brough back memories of Tropicana, Pepsi and Peter Arnell!

Great input yo. Ill add that I was involved in a major overhaul of a brand’s packaging for a whole category. Focus was on lifting brand at POS, exposing product and communicating features. The concept store looked amazing. The retail stores - not as much. Turns out it was harder to maintain and restock, the cost of packaging increased, and volume of shipped air trippled (adding further to cost). Shipping package was used as a display, meaning when the box got damaged, goods couldnt be displayed properly. The sales increase didnt make up for it. Packaging was ultimately updated again within a few years, creating total chaos on store shelves because of the low turn-around SKUs with old packaging, and the sales declined.

My point being - if you want to do a major change there are lots of things to consider. Looking attractive is s small part of it. And if you haven’t been down this road before you might want to adjust your confidence, and hire a consultant that you can blame when shit hits the fan :face_with_peeking_eye::wink:


@bornduff with all of this caution, it might still be worth pushing. I’d try making your case in the following ways:

  1. the package could work harder to tell the brand/product story at point of sale and could help lift sales

  2. competitors have upped the packaging ante and the result is our products look inferior in a side by side of the consumer reviewing the packaging at retail (suggest testing this hypothesis with a small research phase)

  3. doing a survey of industry trends the branding/packaging looks substantially dated and may be hindering sales

You have to explain it in business terms, not design terms. The cost of a rebrand can be very high. If there is a new logo, typeface, or colors involved it can take years to roll out across every touchpoint (web, marketing, retail displays, sales presentations, on product graphics…) and any effort/dollars spent on this means it is coming from something else so it helps to at least notionally show there will be a good ROI.

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The above advice is mostly good and valid, but here’s the hard truth…

If the client isn’t into change, it’s not going to work.

If the current brand and packaging sucks, and they are fine with it, you are wasting your time and effort trying to convince them otherwise.

In my 20+ years as a professional I’ve been in this situation countless times. Thinking I can do good and elevate a brand/product/packaging if the starting point is so obviously in need of help.

The reality you need to ask is “if it’s not great now, why don’t they care?”…

… is it because they never realized it and are blind to the market and competition? If so, are you pointing out something they already see?

… is it a lack of budget (doesn’t sound like it) and somehow you are going to do the work for free?

It may well indeed be a situation that needs help but you can’t force someone to take help if they don’t want it. I’ve tried and usually it’s just frustrating and the results are watered down and mediocre at best.

As consultant since 2007 I only take on clients that want to do good work. I’ve learned forcing change, especially if unwanted is a waste of time.

Good luck. I’d spend my effort finding clients looking for change rather than pushing change on those that don’t want it.

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Thanks @engio @_YO and @rkuchinsky for the input. Sorry for the extremely late response! Let me give you a bit more clarity on the situation. Lets say nothing changes about the already cheap box they put it in; just doing a graphic refresh. It’s perhaps more of a “designed by committee” look. The graphics look like they were made in PowerPoint 1997. Uses of lime green as a “pop” color striped all over the place with jumbles of Times New Roman all over the place. It’s easy for me to see a simplification of the box design to make it fit better with the other competitors on the store shelves. I’d say retail is a big part of their business, so I’d say it’s important to have the box be the salesman, or at least not look like a pop-up ad on Yahoo hahaha

Say, what kind of research phase are you speaking about here? Internal research or hiring a research group?

@bornduff the way you explained it originally I thought you meant fully rebranding, as in the logo, etc.

If it is more of just a packaging layout project on path could be to mock up a new package design using the same dieline as the old package. Just a quick aesthetic refresh to show them what you are thinking and then show them side by side.

You could easily set up a survey with the side by side designs and send them to potential customers and have them select a preference.

I did something similar for a client years back (minus the survey)… it wasn’t a glamorous project but it helped them increase sales on an existing product with minimal effort.


after concept, nothing amazing, but just cleaned up:

I think I convinced them to edit the text down even further and simply the graphic on the back in the end… I need to try to find that file…

@_YO this is great! Honestly, I just found a perfect example beyond the one you just shared. Thanks for the background on this too! This image shows what the old product looked like, then the updated design as it started to roll out. Technically, they both show the same thing, but one does it on a much more delicious level.

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Thank you Richard for the repeated warning. Right now I am having the first beer in 15 month and musing about sorting out some client relation.

Letting go of it, alltogether, felt like unneccessary hassle. But that notion might not only be rooted in one sole beer.

I’ll sleep over it.

Thanks again for your clear words about clients, who are adverse to change.
Even the greatest designer in the world will not be able to make the blind see.

That takes some devine connection, that I might just lack…

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