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Design and more…

 

Sept 29, 2011: New packaging for Ivory soap brands on display at Procter & Gamble's Cincinnati headquarters. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

What does this brand’s evolution mean to you?

Seriously,  I’m curious – what do you think about this new packaging? Obviously, it gave me pause and that is why I’ve decided to explore it in this post. The more I think about it – more levels of consideration come to mind. Let’s reflect on a few now:

Brand Recognition

Few products have enjoyed widespread recognition as Ivory soap. It is iconic in that it represents soap in it purest and basic form. No fuss – just soap. Years of positive consumer feedback have secured Ivory soap’s place among its competitors.  As long as Ivory can continue these branding benchmarks it should expect continued success based on its marketing strategy.

With the introduction of new package design, do you think Ivory will suffer a change in brand recognition?

Package design today requires the use of color, type, and shape that will bring attention to your specific item. Anyone who walks down the aisle of a supermarket quickly sees that package design has evolved into a rainbow spectacle of products vying for your attention.  There are two ways to look at Ivory’s new packaging. In one way they have joined the masses to compete using the same media. I’m wondering though if their product would stand out from the crowd even more if it had retained it’s white (as in pure) packaging? Speaking for myself, I have often overlooked a product with a new package design simply because it was new. I was not aware of the change and my eye simply overlooked the product. Even items that I use regularly I have overlooked and assumed it was out of stock on the shelf at that time. Eventually I’d discover that it was there, right in front of my nose. Will that be the case for Ivory?

Below are some examples of how Ivory packaging has changed over time. If you’d like to see more examples they can be found on Photobucket and Google.

New packaging for Ivory soap

Demographics

Without any knowledge of the specifics of Ivory’s marketing plan, I will presume (based on my personal perspective) that the market reach is for any age group that wishes to use soap in its purest form, at a competitive price, and that is easily accessible for purchase. No bells or whistles. No fancy claims. Just soap – use it and it successfully cleans what it is applied to.

Will the new package design negatively affect a current user’s opinion of Ivory soap? Conversely, will the new package design positively entice a non-user to give it a try? Will the new colorful package bring it to the attention of a new customer base? Will the new package design imply a change in the product’s performance to both past and potential consumers? Does a change in the use of color, type, and package shape wield that much power in the minds of a consumer?

It’s a battle between “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it” and “out with the old and in with the new”.

Economics

Let’s face it, the economy is a tough nut right now. People are more aware than ever of how far their dollar goes. I know that some pricey product lines establish their identity with the use of specific fonts and colors and the materials they use for packaging and the product itself. Things that shine give off the aura of expense. There is a certain luxury attached to the softness of fur, fine leather, cashmere, etc. We can all tell the difference in the package design of a brand name product when compared to a knock off sample or even a dollar store brand. Most likely it doesn’t have the same presentation and impact. It is in fact a step down from the originating brand.

So how will the public perceive a product that evolves from a predominantly white package to one that incorporates color? Will there be any perceived change in the brand’s value? Will there be a change in the perceived return on investment when buying Ivory soap? I  must admit I’ve never contemplated the repercussions of a change like this before. I would be interested to know if any metrics become available that give us a answer.

So what do you think?

I’m confident that hours and hours of discussion were involved in this package design change. It was accomplished by utilizing the skills of the highly acclaimed agency Wieden+Kennedy of Portland, OR. Time will tell if this new package design will enhance or detract from Ivory’s brand. I will continue to monitor my media sources for more information. If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to share.

If you’d like to read more about the roll out of this new package design, here is a recent post on Yahoo.

 

I’ve always found it fascinating how effective it can be to simply repackage a product and generate a new response to the same item. Take a generic cereal for example and put it in a new brightly colored and illustrated box and watch it jump off the shelf as you walk down the aisle in a supermarket. I love to check out the various labels for wines and beer. Some are beautiful and inspiring. Mostly I walk away wondering who came up with the design. I always wonder if I could do work like that.

A new “Legacy” bottle is being rolled out across the country for Dr. Pepper Snapple products. What do you think – Hit? or Miss? It will be interesting to hear the feedback as the design hits the shelves.

To learn more about the bottle redesign you can check out this article in Media Bistro or read the press release introducing the design.

 

Good news for those of you who have struggled with the decision to add social media to your marketing mix. According to the Small Business Success Index small business adopted the use of social media at twice the rate of 2008 in 2009. These businesses are finding that social media offers them access to their market – enabling them to build their brand, engage their current customers, and attract new customers as well.

Here’s a link to useful information summarizing these finding: http://www.bit.ly/ceSbFP

It’s never too late to add social media to your marketing plan. BoyDog Design can assist you in sorting through the various social media sites, blogging options, directories, and more. Is it time to hone the social media persona of your business?

Part of any marketing agenda is the need to create and measure awareness of your brand. One of the current media outlets that you can employ is a blog. A blog created to promote your product or service can benefit your business in a number of ways.

1. Search Engine Marketing – Your online presence via your blog will increase search engine activity and ultimately should result in higher rankings on search engine return pages.

2. Direct Communications – Your postings allow you to speak directly to your potential market. If you speak honestly, openly, and with authority you will instill the perception that you are an authority within your product or service category.

3. Brand Building – Blogs are another media outlet to promote your brand’s core values and how they will positively impact a potential customer.

4. Competitive Differentiation – How you present your brand in your blog in comparison to your competition will help you promote the ways in which your product or service is different and more relevant to a consumer’s needs.

5. Building a Relationship – By presenting your brand with an honest approach to your target market and promoting trust in the benefits you are offering you can eventually build a long-lasting relationship with your customers.

6. Niche Marketing – Tap into an underdeveloped niche for your brand category by using your blog to reach a niche market you may otherwise be missing.

7. Media & Public Relations – Blogs offer a free opportunity to spread the news about your brand. Regular press releases reinforce your brands accomplishments and place within your category.

8. Position Yourself as an Expert – Your blog will enable you to establish your level of knowledge and expertise pertaining to your brand category. It helps in demonstrating to your market that you are a source of information they can benefit from.

9. Reputation Management – A blog allows you to build on the perceived image of your brand. It also allows you to state your position if your brand is perceived negatively.

10. Low cost – It doesn’t get any better than FREE. Most blogs can be set up using existing online publishing platforms.

I routinely suggest the creation of a blog for a client. More often than not I receive a lukewarm response to my suggestion because there is a false assumption that blogging requires extra special skills. If you know enough about your product or service to offer it to the public you should have the required knowledge to write about it. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of creating and operating a blog there are professionals to help you. I admit that most likely includes a fee, but the potential benefits should outweigh the initial cost.

Don’t lose out on a wonderful opportunity to promote your brand by eliminating a blog from your marketing mix. With some thoughtful preparation and a little practice anyone can master the art of posting on a blog. If the thought of doing it yourself is still something you prefer not to tackle remember that you can always hire a blogger to promote your brand for you. By educating a blogger about the benefits of your brand and setting boundaries for the blog’s performance you never have to give up control of your brand’s voice. Ultimately, isn’t that what your crave for your brand? At the forefront you want to establish a dialogue with your target market that allows you to build trust and brand loyalty for the present and into the future.

Whether you’re a small business owner or responsible for the marketing program in a large corporation you will undoubtedly be confronted with the need to track the attitudes of your customer base. Depending on your particular product or service, the way you collect this data and the effectiveness of the information you receive will vary in detail and degree of relevance. Marketing metrics are used to help improve your return on investment and offer insights into new avenues of profitability.

Awareness and Knowledge:

We presume that customers progress through stages of knowledge about a product or service. The progression starts at being totally unaware to an initial introduction, then on to a purchase, and finally total awareness and loyalty to the brand.

You can measure a potential customer’s level of awareness by asking questions such as, “Have you heard of Dell?” or “When you think of computers, which come to mind?” The first question would be considered an aided question as you are planting the brand within the question. The second question is considered unprompted because it is totally generic and doesn’t offer any brand as a jumpstart to answering.

Once you’ve established that a consumer is aware of your brand you can delve deeper into their feelings. You might ask them if that particular brand is for them? Have them rate the brand on a scale of 1 – 5. Ask them to verbalize any strengths or weaknesses they attach to the brand?

If you’ve established that a person has actually purchased your brand you can then inquire about their purchasing habits. How many times have you purchased this brand? What was the last brand of this product type that you purchased? The answers you receive should help you discover the level or awareness of your brand, where your brand ranks when your customer thinks of that category of product, and what specific knowledge and beliefs they may have about your brand.

Attitudes:

Based on their experience with your product or service your customer will develop their perception of your brand. In order to collect and decipher these attitudes you will have to explore their degree of liking your brand and the image your brand has made for them.

Questions to consider:

  • Is this a brand for people like you?
  • Is this a brand for people younger than you?
  • Is this a brand for people older than you?

The responses should be measured on a scale of 1 – 5. One being the lowest and five the highest rating. The data received will show how relevant your brand is to that consumer.

  • Is this brand a good value for the price?
  • Would you be more likely to purchase this brand for a reduced price?
  • Would you stop purchasing this brand if the price were to increase?

Measure the responses on a scale of 1 – 5. The data received will reflect the consumer’s perceived value of you product for the money.

  • List other products in your brand’s category and have the consumer rate them on a scale of 1 – 5.

This rating will allow you to see how your brand is perceived against your competition. Your ranking demonstrates the quality/esteem associated with your brand.

  • Would you switch to another brand if this brand were not available at the time you intended to make a purchase?

Rate their response from 1 – 5. The results should give you an indication of their intentions.

  • Is it very likely that you will purchase this product?

A 1 – 5 rating for this type of question will measure their intentions to actually purchase your brand.

Usage:

Measuring usage is to quantify the frequency and number of units purchased. The information gathered will let you know:

  • what was purchased
  • when and where it was purchased
  • how many have rejected the product
  • how many have added the product as their preferred brand

The answers you receive are self-reported behavior of your customer. An array of questioning will give you insight into their overall view of your product or service.

Questions to consider:

  • What brand in your category did they purchase before your brand?
  • How many times in the past year have they purchased your brand?
  • How many items of your brand do they currently own?

All of the above questions are usually part of an ongoing survey of potential and current customers. This request for information can take the form of warranty cards and registrations, offering prizes in return for information, random drawings that encourage participation in a survey, or regularly administered surveys conducted by phone, e-mail, mail, web, social media, etc.

There are many ways to approach the collection of this type of data. Any attempt to do so will be influenced by your particular product or service. What works for one category may not be efficient or provide usable information for another. Tracking customer trends for brand awareness will require a focused approach to the information you want to gather and then developing the right set of questions and conditions to administer your survey. Once your data is collected you will need to review it keeping in mind the set up for each question (aided or unaided) and the goal of the response you seek. The results should give you better insight into the personal relationship your customer has with your brand.