Monthly Archives: April 2013

Quick read branding for a generation of skimmers.

Brand messages and images abound on many online media platforms as consumers consume product information at home and on the go, using multiple devices. With all this messaging going on it is easy to understand that consumers are reading less and skimming more. Brands will have to adapt or perish.

Quick read branding is an emerging trend in response to the shift in consumer behavior from reading to skimming. Brands that can capture their key message into their brand names build immediate awareness and garner consumer appreciation for not wasting their time. For example, the brand “Eat Well Enjoy Life” sums up the emotional and functional product benefits without a tagline or additional marketing copy. This brand name develops awareness and brand affinity in one simple stroke.

Another example is the brand “Good Food Made Simple”. The product commitment is upfront and center, and this commitment statement is made via the brand name on each and every package, with the capability to extend across multiple product categories. It alleviates the need to clutter packaging and promotional efforts with pure marketing pitches, allowing more space for the product attributes that drive consumer purchase decisions.

There is one trade-off that needs to be considered. Quick read brands tend to be lengthier than most “traditional” brand names. This cuts across the grain of most branding that consumers have become accustomed to…single or two word brands. However, those clever, condensed brand names, more often than not, require lengthy taglines or marketing “blurbs” to define them. In this case, marketers are asking consumers to read and remember both the brand name and the marketing copy. A quick read brand cuts to the chase and gets to the point, which is more in tune with current consumer thinking and behavior.

The big question for food marketers is this: how do you create a quick read brand, particularly if  you’re working  from an existing, established brand? The process is similar to the “please tell us about your brand and products in  one minute” opportunities you’re confronted with in everyday business situations. Focus on the key brand benefit and brand positioning. Distill these messages down to simple language, eliminating the marketing jargon, to a simple statement. Quick read branding is about clarity, not cleverness. In time, your over-messaged consumers will reward you for just getting to the point.

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Consumers are still cashing in on coupons.

Coupons are still big with consumers. According to a recent survey conducted by Linkable Networks, 95% of US consumers regularly use coupons to lighten their budgets. Over 73% stated that they use coupons at least 1-2 times a month. Here are some additional findings about coupon use from this survey:

  • 78% indicated that they used newspapers, primarily the Sunday edition, as a source for coupons.
  • Age is a factor in the choice of source for coupons and promotions with 85% of those 45 and older using print media, and 69% of those aged 18-44 searching coupon, deal, and brand websites, in addition to social media, often on mobile devices.
  • Women (67%) are more likely than men (56%) to search for coupons and promotional deals.
  • While shopping, over 65% of respondents claimed that they regularly use their mobile phones to price check and look for deals on items they are considering buying.

For food and beverage marketers, there is still a great deal of opportunity to attract new consumers, retain existing consumers, and build brand loyalty through coupon programs. The shopping behaviors that were born out of the recession appear to have become permanent as consumers have gotten used to looking for “great deals”. Given the range of sources consumers use to search for coupons and promotions, it is clear that food marketers need to consider a multi-channel approach to promotional efforts including both online and offline media.

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Are you frustrating consumers with your packaging?

In a recent study by global research firm Ipsos Innoquest, consumers indicated that they place a high value on food and beverage packaging that preserves product freshness and is reusable. Over 60% of respondents said they would pay premium prices for products in packaging that “keeps food fresh longer”.  Another 50% placed a high value on packaging that is “easy to reuse”.

Other recent packaging studies reinforce consumer frustration with food packaging.  Almost half of consumers in one such study were “frustrated or very frustrated” with food packaging.  Ease of opening packaging was the single biggest complaint.  The packaging formats mentioned most often by frustrated consumers included clamshells, paperboard boxes, bags/packets, trays with lids, shrink wrapped, plastic bottles and septic packs/cartons.  Another recurring theme voiced by consumers was the need to use some type of tool, knife or scissors, to open packages that already had “easy to open” copy on the package. Ease of opening was an issue for all age segments in this study and not confined to older consumers.

User convenience, resealable packaging, and retaining food product freshness are the three most important issues for consumers in evaluating product packaging and purchase decisions. Consumers expressed a great deal of frustration, if not downright hostility, toward brands whose packaging resulted in product waste.  Retaining freshness and being able to “use all of the product in the package” were repeatedly mentioned by survey respondents.

Clearly, food packaging functionality is a significant factor for consumers when considering product purchases. One frustrating packaging experience can “turn off” consumers no matter how good the product may be. Considering the investment food and beverage marketers make in brand and packaging development, it is critical that packaging configuration, materials, and functionality be included in the design process. Packaging provides food marketers with a great opportunity to communicate with consumers and demonstrate their commitment to consumer satisfaction.

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