Why claims matter when designing the perfect package

December 21, 2015

3 Min Read
Why claims matter when designing the perfect package
Beauty care buyers want efficacy claims that are believable. A good way to get them is to do consumer product testing.

Denise Herich

The marriage of great package design and compelling messaging is a must in an ever-growing beauty and personal care market, but which messages resonate most with buyers?

When we think of packaging we think of form and function, aesthetics and practicality. We design the package to best fit and deliver the contents in a way that is most appealing to the end-user.

Of course, the message on the packaging acts in the same manner. Eighty-six percent of women make beauty buying decisions while standing at the beauty counter. Beauty and personal care shopping has become a pretail before retail world—and if a brand isn’t grabbing her at “hello,” they’ve lost her interest and her dollars.

That marriage of great package design and compelling messaging is a must in an ever-growing beauty and personal care market, but which messages resonate most with buyers? Simple: messages that convey proof of efficacy from women like them. Independent studies show that 93% of women look for efficacy claims before purchasing a beauty product; and 91% of prestige beauty buyers in particular say those claims are influential in her decision to purchase.

Consumer beauty product testing is the primary way to get those all-important consumer claims.

5-star consumer claims: The process

Consumer beauty and personal product testing involves sending either a prototype, a product in lab sample (blind) packaging or even a product in final packaging to a defined set of consumer panelists. Products sent to panelists must be at the very least conditionally approved for in-market commercialization and they must have undergone appropriate safety and stability testing.

The purpose is to have this panel use the product—according to specific usage instructions—for a given time period, at which point they are asked to assess their experiences with the product at various intervals throughout the trial. A panel of real women (anonymous to the brand) who are closely aligned with its target consumer helps reveal claims that will entice the ideal prospect to purchase.

This type of testing works with a group of 30 to 500 panelists over a trial period of one to 120 days (dependent on the number of days it takes for the product to see maximum efficacy).

Beware the regulator’s wrath

But not any type of claims will do. Every year, cosmetics brands are sent warning letters from regulatory bodies and many are fined in the millions of dollars for touting claims that promise to “regenerate cells,” “heal” or “change the matrix of skin,” for example. With consumer product testing, we seek out the consumers’ own perception and personal experience in using the product instead of clinical, measurement-based claims that sound like a drug company claim and not a cosmetic claim.

Proper consumer claims steer clear of words that can trigger unwanted notice from legal and regulatory bodies.

Methodology is critical

From participant screening and recruitment, to legal consent forms and consumer claims development, using an unbiased third-party testing agency with solid credentials can ensure that you’ll not only attain best results, but that the messages on your package will compel her with claims she believes—and claims that will cause her to purchase.

Denise Herich is a co-founder and managing partner at The Benchmarking Co., a bi-coastal consumer beauty and personal care product testing company and research firm. The Benchmarking Co. provides marketing and strategy professionals in the beauty and personal care industries with forward-thinking, need-to-know information about its customers and prospects through consumer research studies, focus groups and beauty product testing. 

Learn about the latest developments in packaging innovation at SouthPack 2015, Nov. 18-19, in Orlando, FL.


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