New study British Brands Group: The hidden power of packaging

02 July 2012

A new study launched by the British Brands Group uncovers the crucial commercial role of packaging, how branding grabs the attention of shoppers, helping them recognise products quickly and accurately and suggests how Judges may better assess confusion in legal cases.
Alongside the acknowledged functions of protecting, preserving and presenting products, packaging inspires consumers’ understanding of and confidence in products and is often integral to a product’s performance. It builds trust and reassurance, promoting repeat purchase.
The study also recognises that, for many regular purchases, shoppers use mental shortcuts – heuristics – to notice and recognise products as they simply do not have the time to assess rationally all the options available to them. Advances in behavioural science allow these heuristics to be identified and their effect measured.
Original consumer research undertaken as part of the study demonstrates how branding acts as a powerful heuristic, allowing products to be recognised in milliseconds. It finds that these functions are significantly reduced if brand elements are less prominent. It also finds that, if branding on two packs is too similar, shoppers take much longer to recognise products and make more errors. Such research techniques have wide implications, from brand management to legal judgments (Press Release British Brands Group, 28 June 2012).