Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blink Revisited: Product Packaging and People’s Opinion

Blink: We always thought that we should conduct a testing survey to find what others feel about our product, and what could cause most of the testers fail to provide an accurate feedback. We know that product packaging is very important, but what are the criteria of successful product packaging.

Below are a few examples:
  1. A blind test shows that more people prefer Pepsi than Coke. Coke was worry and tries to create a New Coke, and testing show that people prefer a slightly sweeter Coke. Coke was so confident that the New Cake will a big success based on the testing result, but it failed miserably and people wanted the Old Coke back. How could this happen? Are the testers lying? It turns out when people prefer sweeter drink when they are taking a sip, but a whole can of sweet drinks is just too much; and real testing should happen by allowing them to bring back the product and use it like they normally do, and provide a feedback after a week or so for the feeling to sink in.
  2. Once upon of time, margarine was not selling well because people prefer butter. So they change margarine color from white to yellow (so it looks like butter), and testing show that people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference (it proves that it’s not that margarine taste bad, but people’s perception of it). Then they renamed the product as “Imperial Margarine” and put an impressive crown on it, and wrap it with foil (those day foil was associated with high quality). You don’t ask people whether they like their Margarine with foil or not, you just ask them which one test better.
  3. Christians Brother or E&J brandy taste better? Blind test shows that people like both equally. After the testers are told of the brandy’s name, they happen to like Christians Brother more. If the bottles are shown, the testers like E&J more. We need to isolate whether the product’s problem lies with the taste, name or packaging.
  4. 7-Up: if you add 15% percent more yellow to the green packaging, people report they tasted more lime and lemon.
  5. Chef Boyardee Ravioli with Chef Hector on the label. Chef Hector needs to be an easily recognizable human being, and close-ups of the face work better than full-body shots. As Hector becomes more cartoonish, the more abstract he became, and the perception of taste and quality in the ravioli goes down.
  6. Hormel canned meat: the tiny sprig of parsley between the “r” and “m” helps bring freshness to canned food.
  7. Peaches test better in glass container as compared to tin; and people prefer ice-cream in cylindrical container as opposed to rectangular packaging.
  8. Aeron Chair by Herman Miller: it was designed to be a high-tech new-age ergonomic chair. Tester doesn’t like the chair, with perception that wiry frame doesn’t hold, and said it looks weird and ugly. Eventually more tweaking made the comfort score got higher, but aesthetic scores goes from low to average. Not long after it was launch, it won a prize of its design; it became a cult object in the advertising world, and it starts appearing in films and television commercials. What was once an ugly exoskeleton chair had become beautiful. People don’t actually hate the chair, but they weren’t used to the new and unusual design: maybe ugly was just a proxy for different.
  9. A group of Jam tester’s preference result gotten quite near to the expert’s opinion. When they are asked for their reasons of preference, disaster happens. Non-expect don’t have the ability to evaluate the jam based on detail such texture, taste and smell. Do you know that there are 10 dimensions of texture (adhesiveness to lips, firmness, denseness, etc)?
  10. The Triangle Test: Pour 2 cup of Coke and 1 cup of Pepsi, and ask people to guess which one is the Pepsi. Only one-third would guess it right.
It is not that clever packaging could save a bad-tasting food; but lousy packaging could ruin tasty food. Why doesn’t Pepsi’s dominance in blind test translate to real world success? Because in the real world, no one ever drinks Coca-Cola blind. The unconscious association with Coke involves the brand, the image, and the red can and logo. Coke tries to focus on changing the product, while Pepsi focus on youth and making Michael Jackson their spokesman. There a lot to be learn about how to perform a real world testing which translate to real world result.

No comments: