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How to Leverage the Voice of the Customer for Packaging Decisions in 2019

Posted by Kevin Keating at PKG on June 19, 2019 in packaging

The Voice of the Customer, or VoC, is a broad term describing consumer feedback about their expectations of and experiences with products and services.

Woman opening a box.

VoC focuses on the consumer’s needs, understanding, expectations, and desire for product improvement. VoC programs are part of many companies’ core business strategies. Not only does VoC help in improving existing products and developing new ones, but it can also help in the business decision-making process. Using VoC in the development of new packaging designs makes perfect sense, because packaging is a consumer’s first tangible contact with a product.

No Substitute for Comprehensive Knowledge of Consumer Personas

Whether or not you choose to engage in formal VoC programs like surveys, there is simply no substitute for having in-depth, comprehensive knowledge of the people who buy your products. Knowing, for example, that the majority of your consumers buy your product for the small children in their home indicates that convenience and ease of use are important packaging design considerations.

Knowing that you have a large consumer base of sustainability-minded consumers helps you learn which direction you should take your company’s sustainability initiatives. It can also help you choose packaging materials when packaging undergoes the redesign process.

Ask for Feedback, Listen, and Respond

You may not choose to distribute formal, packaging-specific surveys to your consumers, but there are other ways to tap into their thoughts. Providing live chat support on your website is one way to collect valuable feedback, as is monitoring your brand’s social media channels. Consumers are almost always ready to tell you what they love (or don’t love) about your packaging designs through Twitter and Facebook.

Woman accessing Facebook with her laptop computer.

You can use polls on your social media pages, ask for feedback in your brand app, and monitor your brand’s blog posts for comments. The important thing is to gather the information, organize it, and recognize patterns, such as “Consumers love the fact that our new design is easy to reseal.”

PKG Brand Design's Consumer First Approach

  1. Retail Immersion -- Every project begins by stepping into the consumer's shoes and investigating the retail environment. What does your category look like? How do your products display in-store?
  2. Brand Audit & Analysis -- We do a deep dive into your brand and your competitors. We investigate the visual assets you have and break down the story you are communicating to consumers.
  3. Consumer Dialogue -- We talk to highly screened consumers one on one. We do on-demand surveys and online tests with our panels of targeted shoppers. We do quick consumer reads to narrow down choices and nail the concept.
  4. Consumer Chatter Tool -- Our proprietary Facebook-like interface engages consumers in a two-way dialogue. The environment is low-stress and familiar, encourages honest assessments, and allows for targeted, conversational follow-up.
  5. Agile Consumer-Centric Design -- We listen to consumers and then translate ideas into concepts to get quick feedback from them. Next, we iterate the designs, and repeat the process.

Keep Up with General Packaging Design Trends

VoC is also reflected in trends in packaging designs. Some packaging designs don’t perform well with consumers, and there will always be some degree of trial and error when updating your packaging designs. But simply keeping up with design blogs, packaging industry news, and even product photos on social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram can give you clues about what consumers love. 

Naturally, your own business metrics can give you clues as to what consumers think about your packaging designs. Maybe sales picked up sharply after a recent packaging design update. If so, you’re wise to dig deeper into the numbers (and perhaps enlist in a survey provider’s services) to learn precisely why the design was so successful. You might be surprised!

VoC is widely used by brands when designing both products and the packaging those products require. Though it is a somewhat broad term, VoC as a whole is valuable and informative. From VoC study, you can learn what consumers need in product packaging, how they prioritize their needs, and how they perceive the performance of different packaging designs. PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!

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