A skincare company was looking to modernize its packaging design. The company had been in business since the 1970s, and while they had made incremental updates to their packaging over the years, it was time for a substantial refresh. As part of the transformation, the brand sought to revamp its product claims to better stand out in this very competitive category. Our client was particularly interested in devising claims that would be clear, differentiated, and appealing. In particular, the company was interested in identifying the precise claim language that would be most compelling to consumers at shelf, in the pharmacy.
What We Did
As part of a quantitative survey to test the appeal of various packaging designs and on-package messaging, we randomly assigned respondents to three sets of potential product claims. We asked them to rank each statement from most to least appealing and compelling. There were six products in the portfolio, and we tested between five to seven possible claim statements per product. The claims pertained to product efficacy, indications, and specific, differentiated product features. By having different respondents provide feedback on different claims we were able to test thirty nine claims without respondent fatigue. This allowed us to identify trends and themes across respondents and across products. Furthermore, we had respondents evaluate competitor claims and those that appear on adjacent products to get a complete picture of what messaging is most effective at shelf and what stands out to customers about competitive claims.
Through our survey, we identified specific words that were well-aligned with the brand and that lead to positive reactions for any product in the portfolio.
We learned that claims that described the products’ function were best. The study revealed how those who suffer from this particular skin condition prefer to talk about the product category. For example, we asked whether a cleanser, wash or scrub was most appealing to them. We also discovered that vague claims for this category such as “100% satisfaction guaranteed” are unappealing. This was supported by our qualitative research that demonstrated that customers don’t appreciate claims when they don’t know what they really mean. The brand already had a strong reputation for quality and trustworthiness, so vague statements on the package attempting to prove trustworthiness and efficacy were unnecessary and ineffective. Additionally, a claim around being “leading edge” didn’t perform well as it was similarly vague. Furthermore, we demonstrated the importance of looking at claims in the competitive context. Certain brands “own” particular claims, and its critical to find new claims that align with your unique brand proposition and personality.
In summary, specific claims that speak to immediately product benefits and unique functionality are most appealing. For example, claims that the product works very quickly were the most appealing. Understanding and addressing the range of use cases is key so that respondents at shelf can be sure that the product is for them and will meet their needs. Broad sweeping claims about satisfaction are less appealing. Certain keywords may work in claims for a number of products in the portfolio and provide a unifying theme across all products in the lineup. Finally, claims should be examined in their broader context. Pay careful thought to ensure that the words work with the images on the packaging as well as your brand’s personality. Once the most compelling, believable claim language has been identified, it’s critical to confirm that all claims are substantiated. Our study results helped position the client to make strong claims to stand out at shelf and ultimately drive purchase.