When redesigning packaging, brands should consider key brand assets and ensure the new design remains familiar with a ‘just noticeable difference’.

It’s the sort of approach neuromarketing research enables while avoiding Tropicana-style disasters. Back in 2008-09, the orange juice brand spent a reported $35m on redesigning and launching new packaging for its best-selling Tropicana Pure Premium product only to see sales plummet by 20% in a very short period; the old packaging was swiftly reinstated.

Writing in The WARC Guide to effective packaging, Aoife McGuinness of HeyLab explains that “packaging redesign has to be done in a way that is new enough to be salient, but familiar enough to be recognisable.”

It’s a strategy that is based on Weber’s Law, formulated in the 19th century, which states that an additional level of stimuli – known as the Just Noticeable Difference – is necessary for the majority of people to perceive that there is, in fact, a difference between the resulting stimulus and the initial stimulus.

But how to measure the effects of a just noticeable difference? The use of neuromarketing techniques – such as electroencephalography, eye-tracking, implicit association tests and visual saliency testing – can help marketers understand the non-conscious decision-making processes that consumers are engaged in and inform effective packaging redesign, says McGuinness.

That applies across such elements as key brand assets, findability, salience, cognitive load and emotional response.

Packaging has an important role to play in influencing product perceptions and in-store purchase decisions, especially for food products, where purchase decisions are characterised by low-involvement processes, she notes. And it’s also the case for online shopping, where a passive state of attention dominates.

And with the growth of e-commerce during the pandemic predicted to continue, understanding these non-conscious processes is only going to become more important.

For more details, read Aoife McGuinness’s article in full: Using neuroscience to assess the effectiveness of packaging redesigns.

Sourced from WARC