Tag Archives: Packaging Research

Category Insights: Rainy Day Segments #12 And #35

It isn’t often that marketers get to blaze a trail through
an entirely new consumer category ‘ rolling out brand identities and category
signifiers from scratch ‘ but legal marijuana offers just such an opportunity.
Except, as Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management ‘ a
firm that invests heavily in the budding industry ‘ pointed out in her
fascinating TMRE presentation, marijuana isn’t an entirely new category. The
rich cultural history of the herb in America is something the marijuana
industry has to negotiate as it tries to create an identity that appeals to a
new, more diverse generation of smokers.
Even the word ‘smoker’ is part of the drug’s heritage, not
its present ‘ marijuana users are as, if not more, likely to get high by
vaping, edibles, or topical lotions and patches. Marketers are faced with a
whole legacy vocabulary designed by the authorities to put people off
marijuana, not draw them in. They have to weed out phrases like ‘recreational’ ‘
with its negative drug war connotations. Most of all, they have to contend with
the Cheech and Chong or slacker-era image of the lazy stoner, something that
puts modern marijuana users on the defensive.

Weed culture: from this…

So who are these new users? Paxhia had the figures. 65%
male, 84% employed, average age 30, mostly well-off, and roughly evenly split
between the major political parties. Most strikingly, only 31% of users claimed
they used pot to ‘get stoned’ ‘ but 95% agreed that they used the drug to be
more present in the moment, and in the ethnographic part of the study they shared
stories of how mundane activities from cleaning to fishing to dog walking were
enhanced by cannabis. As Paxhia put it, these people are checking in, not
dropping out. Everybody must get centered.
This wholesale adoption of the language of mindfulness was
the biggest indication of what made this talk so fascinating. Branded Marijuana
‘ the unbranded stuff still does a brisk trade, I believe – is a very modern
category: it’s created by and for younger consumers, and fairly wealthy and bohemian
ones at that. So it conforms almost entirely to what they expect ‘ or what marketers
expect they expect – from consumer goods. Legal pot is artisanal, tastefully
designed, social, inventive and experiential.
Paxhia reported, for instance, that in San Francisco, chefs
and ‘budtenders’ are collaborating on private pairing parties where the
traditionally close relationship between weed and food can be explored in a
more upscale manner. The entire industry is being created along the principles
of post mass-marketing: it’s a trendwatcher’s dream.
Of course, most consumer goods categories balance modern
marketing approaches with a legacy of how things were done in the 20th
century. But while beer, say, struggles to reconcile the Craft-aware kids it
wants to sell to with the Bud-chugging masses it always has sold to, marijuana
gets to make a clean break. It’s at pains to reject its underground image as
corny or childish. No more Reefer Madness ‘ brands like Kiva and Goodship are
almost defensively tasteful. ‘It’s commonplace in the finance business’ said
one earnest young enthusiast, to the sound of weeping from Jerry Garcia’s
unquiet ghost.

…to this: Leafs By Snoop.

But what’s also interesting is that the real breadheads are
staying away. Legal pot is ‘ so far ‘ growing without much input from risk
averse corporations. Celebrities are getting involved: Snoop Dogg has a brand, naturally, though
older consumers recalling the sleeve art to Doggy Style may be disappointed
that it looks as discreet as any other. And the market is set to expand, with
legal marijuana propositions on the ballot in multiple states this November.
But for now, the legal weed industry has a unique, boutique
flavour. It is changing rapidly ‘ the marijuana industry moves in ‘dog years’,
as time in it seems to pass much faster (another departure from tradition). So
the business is collectively getting to grips with issues around portion
control, regulation, and packaging information ‘ a dramatically steep learning
curve. The legal cannabis products of even two years ago look a lot more
homespun and less sophisticated than those on sale now.
In the process, it’s not just marijuana’s past that’s being
rejected. The future that stoners used to imagine for legal pot ‘ paranoid images
of Joe Camel with spliff in hand as Big Tobacco got its claws into weed ‘ has manifestly
not come to pass. Paxhia’s 420-degree overview of the category she passionately
loves showed that instead it’s a unique test bed for the new norms and assumptions of
marketing.

Proof Symposia: The Evolution of Packaging and Purchasing Environments

The Evolution of Packaging & Purchasing EnvironmentsCraig M. Vogel, FIDSA, Associate Dean, DAAP,University of Cincinnati

This session covered the evolution of ideas and how they connect to what’s going on today.

Coca cola is one of the most powerful global brands. When does a brand become known? When enough people have a visceral understanding of the brand.

How do you understand how your brand is viewed externally?

There are five ways to look at your brand:
Differentiate
Collaborate
Innovate
Validate
Cultivate

A company needs to understand when a product is invisible to the consumers. The package delivers the message about the product, from first buy and throughout use. It’s starting to lose its ability to build on any more equity than it can handle.

When you change the images of your product, you can increase the value, stronger message, and then shift the strategy of the packaging.

In the 1990s-2000s, experienced economies are primary drive to buy people to buy more and more services. With failure of the economy, many products are sliding back to basic goods, and few are staying up at premium experiences. Many products people buy are from choices.

Companies can no longer sell one dimensional products. Many companies must create messages about personal values and global issues. Box stores are obsolete concepts because of current costs and overinvesting. Many people are moving back to cities. Companies are creating local stores, example ‘ Wal-Mart. Many of these large needs and want centers are going ot go back to decentralized shopping. Smaller scale neighborhoods and investments. Starbucks will go into contextualized stores without name. Mega centers are too hard for people to get to.

Speakers of TMRE 2009: RiCardo Crespo, Mattel Inc.

In the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event 2009, we’re going to be hearing from the speakers of The Market Research Event. This week we have RiCardo Crespo, Group Creative Director, Mattel Inc., who will be presenting “Realizing a Sustained Collaborative Culture to Support Packaging Innovation,” in the PROOF: What’s New & Next In Packaging Research Track on Monday, October 19, 2009. To learn more about The Market Research Event, download the brochure here!

1. Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?
Ricardo: I recently worked on the strategy and creative direction development plan for a marquee brand. The strategy was instrumental in aligning all cross-functional teams to end up in a single voice for the brand while fostering separate, yet collaborative development across all teams. All teams had a clear vision of the end result while having tangible and attainable development milestones, which were objectively reviewed with agreed metrics beforehand.

2. Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for MR/Consumer Insights do you see?
Ricardo: Same as was forecasted 5, even 10 years ago…that at the end of the day, brands are experiences and that those experiences need to be a direct result of what consumers want, not what we think, or hope the brands will be. Speak to consumers in engaging ways and when you tell compelling, persuasive brand stories, you are not selling, you are fostering dialogue back to your brand through their repeated and personal decisions to experience your brand. this dialogue leads to loyalty and relationships that are the DNA of successful brands.

3. What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?
Ricardo: My inspiration?…that someone wanted to pay me for the passion and creativity that was innate to solve communication challenges, and tell stories because of brands. Creative direction and strategic design is incredibly fulfilling…because no two challenges are the same; that diversity elevates our ability to progress and ultimately, our creativity. What keeps me motivated? Repeat my first sentence.

The Speakers of TMRE 2009: Stuart Bedford, Sherwin-Williams

In the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event 2009, we’re going to be hearing from the speakers of The Market Research Event. This week we have Stuart F. Bedford, Director of New Business Development/Research, Sherwin-Williams, who will be presenting “Overcoming the Challenges of Packing Innovation in Traditional Industries,” in the PROOF: What’s New & Next In Packaging Research Track on Monday, October 19, 2009. To learn more about The Market Research Event, download the brochure here!

1. Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?
Stuart: I recently completed the development of “Refresh”, a product line launched under the Dutch Boy brand that is a premium interior paint that “absorbs odors”. There is no other product in the market that has this attribute. Initial placement exceeded expectations in sales. We received the 2009 Sherwin-Williams corporate marketing award for innovation for this product line.

2. Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for MR/Consumer Insights do you see?
Stuart: Validation of consumers who participate in “on-line” research. This has been an area of concern for companies who execute research on the inter-net. Validation for product purchase claims could include purchase records such as a store receipt record for product quantity and price paid. Validations of this type are currently at a price that is unrealistic for a high level of completed
surveys.

3. What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?
Stuart: Inspiration and motivation is the continuing discovery process and finding “nuggets” that provide the basis for new strategies that stimulate successful market innovation.