Key principles and measurements that drive transactions

By Matthew Salem, Senior Vice President, Behaviorally

A successful packaging design can boost sales by up to 5%. That is the power of great packaging design. As the Transaction Experts, Behaviorally has helped countless brands craft effective packaging that contributes to business growth. Our recent PackPower Awards highlight several exemplary packaging designs across a variety of brands and categories globally.

While every brand and design journey is different, there are common threads that drive success that have consistently emerged in our research. This is driven by two overarching facets: driving contrast to disrupt at the point of sale and ensuring the proposition is clear and relevant. By leveraging key principles and best practices, brands can influence customer behavior and drive the most important moment of marketing: the sales transaction.

Drive contrast by being distinctive to create disruption

Whether in digital or physical retail, countless products vie for shoppers’ attention. A key to victory for a brand and its packaging to succeed is driving disruption. Packaging needs to break through the clutter and noise of a category through visual contrast and then ensure it communicates effectively. This entails leveraging a brand’s complete toolkit of visual assets including structure, color, visuals, logos and fonts, to ensure packaging stands out. Once the pack is disruptive, it is then critical to facilitate viewing that is commensurate with the design team’s desired hierarchy and speak to shoppers in their language. 

Speak the consumer’s language to communicate your proposition

To drive relevance and appeal to your target consumer you first need to understand their needs, preferences, motivations and emotions which 1) helps propel creative that forges an emotional connection and 2) further supports consumer relevance and desire via the inclusion of clear and concise messaging. Through a creative mix of visualizations and copy points to highlight key benefits – including those tied to costs of entry, as well as those promoting a brand or product’s point of difference – you give your packaging the best chance to sell your product and brand. 

Juxtapose consistency with adaptability in a dynamic world 

Reliability and trust versus innovation and problem solving. On the one hand, in an ever-evolving retail landscape, effective packaging must maintain a consistent identity and product proposition across diverse retail channels and contexts. On the other hand, a pack may need to adapt for a variety of reasons including business needs, as well as changing consumer behavior. This means maintaining a consistent look and feel across different formats, sizes, variations and extensions while also ensuring adaptable design elements are built-in to “future-proof" for flexibility and customization with passing time. An example impacting more and more brands over time is designing for both the digital and physical shelf. There is a need to optimize design elements for different platforms, devices and retail presentation to ensure relevance and appeal when in context, contributing to increased trial and development of brand loyalty and buyer retention. 

Advancements in technology will continue to support proven truths and drive new learning 

As a seasoned insights researcher, I have witnessed the power of approaches steeped in behavioral science drive best-in-class packaging design – and now how the future of market research is being revolutionized by AI. 

Behaviorally’s ongoing measurements consistently reveal the enduring effectiveness of established principles in shaping consumer behavior and decision-making at the point of purchase. Our unique behavioral framework helps brands understand how packaging elements such as color, shape, size, texture, typography, imagery and messaging impact contrast and communication. Furthermore, our tools and methods ensure that design elements work together to meet brand needs in specific environments, including within any given brand’s franchise portfolio as well as versus competitive category offerings.

As we turn to AI, we see it helping researchers enhance the quality and validity of market research by ensuring greater consistency and accuracy in data collection and reporting. Further impact comes in forms of industry-leading invention, like the PackPower Score™, which drives new, critical learning by providing a one-number predictor of the sales impact of any packaging design change. The PackPower Score uses AI in the form of machine learning algorithms and cutting-edge computer vision, along with sales data and our industry leading behavioral database of pack designs. With this we can determine the impact of packaging design alone, isolated from other influences of the marketing mix, on sales of a product. 

Our PackPower Score is a living example of how AI is transforming the future of market research. It enables faster, smarter and scalable learning that is meaningful to insights professionals and builds on established indicators of packaging success.

At Behaviorally, we embrace AI as a tool to help us further our industry-leading design expertise. When we combine behavioral science and AI together, we are destined to continue creating best-in-class products that drive the most valuable moment in marketing: a purchase transaction.

Harness the power of effective packaging

Effective packaging is a dynamic force that can shape consumer behavior and purchase decisions at the point of sale. It calls for covering all corners – being disruptive yet distinctive, relevant yet unique, consistent yet adaptable. As a trusted partner, Behaviorally offers invaluable insights and guidance grounded in behavioral science principles and best practices. By leveraging our proven methods and collective expertise you can create packaging designs that are sales powerhouses. 

Learn more from 30 of the most effective pack designs of 2023 that were awarded the Behaviorally PackPower Awards. By harnessing the power of the PackPower Score, we evaluated over 500 pack designs across 50+ countries and 10+ categories that were featured in 25+ publications to uncover the most effective packs of the year. Find out more by exploring the winners in the PackPower Awards Metaverse Art Gallery and downloading the case studies collection here:

Contact us today to elevate your packaging designs.

About the author: 

Matt Salem, SVP customer success, loves researching anything and everything – professionally and personally! As the host of Behaviorally’s ‘Our Best Behavior’ podcast, he speaks with guests across a variety of topics tied to driving the most important moment in marketing – the transaction. 

With over 20 years at Behaviorally, Salem’s wide range of research experience across packaging, shopper merchandising and path-to-purchase initiatives helps him ensure customer success.

Connect with him on LinkedIn.