Working on redesigns is one of our specialties at REAL Insight. Our in-context solutions and shopper expertise allow our clients to navigate the risks and create optimal packaging. 

The biggest risk to a redesign is subconscious alienation. This happens after a redesign when a shopper enters a category they shop in every week, scans the shelf for their brand, and fails to notice it at the speed of shopping. They deselected the new package without even recognizing it and likely selected a competitive brand instead.  

The good news is this mistake is avoidable. Here are 3 tips to avoid subconscious alienation with your next redesign. 

Tip #1: Recognize your brand’s guardrails

Before you start redesigning, start by building foundational knowledge of your brand’s current key equities through shopper eyes and its category. This will allow you to create the design’s “guardrails” for what is essential for success.  

Brands and categories are approached in unique ways. Our brains use assumptions and norms as shortcuts of which we may not even be conscious. These are things like a brand’s structure, color and key visuals, category layout, key players, and prices. Embracing these shortcuts in your design will ensure your brand continues to be in the consideration set.  

Our REAL Foundation is an at-shelf category exploration focused on understanding mission and mindset, assumptions, brand equity, pain points, gaps, consideration set, and reaction to specific brands. 

Tip #2: Leverage First Moment of Truth learning to accelerate your launch 

Once you have some initial designs, the next step should be testing them in the First Moment of Truth (FMoT). This is the five seconds your brand has to be seen, understood, and wanted. Shoppers use the shortcuts discussed in Tip #1 in this first moment to find and evaluate products. 

By learning how your designs are received in the FMoT, you can gauge which designs move the needle the most from a design objective perspective while also eliminating and optimizing designs that carry more risk of subconscious alienation.  

Our REAL Optimization is an actionable, qualitative at-shelf method used to assess and optimize design performance through the eyes of shoppers. We use it to help brands narrow down and optimize designs prior to quant or to select a final design. 

Tip #3: Norms have shifted, so should your testing 

In a post-covid world where trends can shift as easily as posting a simple TikTok, historical benchmarks are becoming less and less reliable. For big bets like a brand redesign, shifting your mindset to relying on solutions based on authentic consumer behavior will get you answers that you can trust will translate to reality.

Subconscious alienation is impossible to capture with online quantitative solutions or shopping labs that rely on these benchmarks.  Even lab environments miss this type of alienation because they don’t capture the authentic speed of shopping. If you ask hypothetical questions, you will get hypothetical answers. 

Our REAL Validation offers the depth and nuance of our qualitative methods but with robustness to determine the risk/reward of your redesign. Between potential lost sales and additional sales, this method makes millions of dollars of difference to our clients. 

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