Consumer behavior is a top contributing factor to the products that we see on the store shelves – and in e-commerce catalogues – every day. Marketing professionals use psychology and marketing concepts to determine the needs and desires of customers for the benefit of a company or research study. Packaging is often the first impression that a company has on a consumer – not surprisingly, one of the top careers in packaging right now is consumer behavior analyst.
What is a consumer behavior analyst
Consumer behavior analysts in packaging spend their days researching the answers to questions about our preferences with regard to the packaging on the products that we consume every day. They want to know what type of materials we prefer and why. What colors attract us or detract us from making a purchasing decision? What information do we want to see right away when looking at a product on a shelf? How important is recyclable or sustainable materials in packaging?
The questions are endless but the basic idea is straightforward – what packaging solution is going to lead to the highest return? Consumer behavior analysts work as advisors to find the answer to this question and help facilitate the creation of the best packaging solution for each and every product. Without their input, packaging decisions are often a guessing game based on preconceived notions of what may or may not be true. Having their expert input is critical to long-term sustainability and growth of a particular product line or a company as a whole.
Packaging represents a promise to deliver a certain level of quality to a consumer. Building this trust and value right away through packaging is a critical element to product success. Knowing what it will take to build that trust with consumers often requires the years of experience that consumer behavior analysts have.
What information are they finding out?
What are consumer behavior analysts finding out about how purchasing decisions are influenced by packaging? It turns out, they are gathering a lot of information: one-third of consumer decision-making is based on packaging, according to research cited by The Paper Worker. Let’s look at what factors fall under that one-third of the decision-making pie and how to succeed in those areas.
Our eyes look for recognizable elements. This is why we often see a face in an electrical outlet or shapes in the clouds. An emotional connection is created from every experience that one has with these recognizable elements. This is why companies focus more on consumer experiences than brand functionality when building a brand in the minds of consumers. The more positive experiences that are created the more positive associations a consumer will have with a company – with the obvious identifier being the company’s logo. Having a prominent logo – and creating positive associations with that logo – leads to an increase in likelihood of a positive purchasing decision.
Colors, typography, and overall design
Having a solid understanding of the buyer persona of your product can greatly impact the design strategy that you choose. Packaging for a product that is targeted toward a baby boomer should look much different than packaging that is targeted toward a college student. The design of a product can also spark a desire to share a photo on social media – this can quickly get your product in front of many eyes. Attractive packaging can also draw in the eye more quickly and create a more memorable experience in the aisle. Various colors also cause subconscious responses – for example, black denotes power and expensive, while yellow is happy and green signifies growth and sustainability.
What else do consumer behavior analysts study?
These marketing and business professionals cover a lot of ground with their day-to-day responsibilities. They are often tasked with:
- Determining customer needs through research and focus groups
- Optimizing retention through outreach efforts (email, phone calls, etc.)
- Create and analyze loyalty marketing strategies
- Communicate trends and findings to upper-level management
- Provide analytical and technical guidance during decision-making times
- Make predictions based on a deeper understanding of customer profiles
Overall, the consumer decision making process is critical to brand and packaging success.