Packaging research and design is a delicate and often bewildering journey. Shopper behaviour is usually underestimated and changes to packaging can cause enormous disruption.
Consumer insight managers have a lot on their plates and a laundry list of stakeholders to keep happy. It’s exhausting, we know!
Picture the scene: You’re lost in innovation chaos and under pressure to deliver the “next big thing”. You’re leading multiple projects that constantly threaten to derail your timelines and budgets. What’s more, you’re also attempting to maintain a reputation that feels vulnerable to being damaged by one bad decision.
Creating and nurturing new product concepts is no easy feat. The time, effort and research that it takes to develop your idea is a lot to juggle with existing workloads, and totally deflating if, after all that investment, you find out that your consumers don’t feel the same.
One of the biggest challenges innovation managers face when bringing ideas to life is funding them and proving their worth.
Ever wondered the REAL reason behind new product wins and losses? Why is it that some perfectly packaged products are doomed for failure while others see skyrocketing success?
During chaotic times like these, predicting future consumer trends can seem like an impossible feat. Many industries have no idea whether they’re coming or going, and the future of FMCG still holds many question marks.
Demand for zero and low alcohol products is surging. Suddenly, we’re not embarrassed about digging around for a dusty 0% beer at the back of the fridge. In fact, we’re pretty proud of our conscious consumption and excited by the plethora of innovative options available.
When something is still a seed of an idea, it can be tricky to showcase the product’s true potential.
In today’s super speedy world, tapping into trends is a critical part of brands remaining relevant. However, it’s just as important to stay focused on your core range. After all, that’s what keeps customers coming back!
If you missed our recent webinar, here's your chance to tune in and learn more about how to take the start-up spirit (and approach) into big business. And we're not talking about free breakfast and ping pong tables!
Watch our webinar to learn:
5 key trends that start-ups are focusing on
What we can learn from start-ups dominating a variety of FMCG categories like recipe bases, alcohol & dairy
We're turning our “best-kept secrets” into our “best-shared secrets” by spilling the beans on some of the PLAY team’s favourite new snacks, recipes and ingredients we've discovered during lockdown this year.
Product of the Year (POY) is the largest consumer-voted set of awards for innovation, so naturally we're big fans. POY showcases the best of the best, with inspiring products that have made a real impact on their category.
If you knew your product could perform better in-market, would you try to improve it?
The COVID-19 crisis has encouraged (or forced!) many businesses to pivot by solving problems related to the pandemic and adjusting to emerging consumer trends.
EVERYONE is talking about “agile” innovation. The problem is, the term has become such an overused buzzword that its true meaning has been lost. Often, we say “agile” when what we’re actually describing is “fast and cheap”.
Remember when Amazon was just somewhere you shopped for books? (We do too. Does that make us old?!). Now, it is one of the most powerful corporations in modern history and is expected to seize 50% of the entire e-commerce retail market this year. Heck, we even trust Amazon to listen to our private conversations at home (hey, Alexa!).
Soft drink, a fun, fizzy beverage, used to be considered a delicious ‘treat’. These days, new trends are shifting away from sugary concoctions to drinks with functional benefits and fewer potential health hazards.
Australia’s view of alcohol is changing. Following a tumultuous 2020, the shift from attending in-person events to nesting at home has paved the way for new kinds of alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic options to emerge. We’ve even seen retail offerings that bridge the gap between on-site bars and e-commerce stores. This movement has created unique opportunities and challenges for brands and manufacturers - and we want to help you make the most of them!
David Jones has been in the ‘premium’ food space for decades and for the most part, their focus has been narrowly aimed at increasing their own market share. Now, they’re expanding to a channel that hasn’t traditionally been considered premium at all. In fact, quite the opposite: petrol stations.
Claims are one of the most powerful tools in a brand’s toolbox. At PLAY, it’s no exaggeration to say we’re obsessed with packaging as an extremely valuable consumer touch point. Claims have a key role in the relationship between a brand and consumers, not only through their appearance in packs, but also in their usage in comms and messaging.
After a tumultuous year, Australian retailers are relying on a bumper holiday season to help them survive into 2021 and beyond. Meanwhile, consumers are busy adjusting, exploring and experimenting with new ways of living while trying to enjoy opportunities for festivities during a global pandemic and recession.
We first began working remotely when It Who Must Not Be Named started (*cough Covid-19*). It seemed like it would be a breeze to adapt to our home offices, especially since we were already used to working between multiple offices and saying, “You’re on mute” regularly.
In reality, we had some hard lessons to learn when it came to adapting face-to-face methodologies into online environments.
So, to save you the headache of trial and error, we’ve summarised our best tried and tested tips that will help you bring distributed teams and consumers together in an online innovation sprint (from further afar than might otherwise have been possible before!).
When we found out that General Mills and Aigora had conducted pilot research on smart speaker surveys, we had to know more. In-home testing is very much our bread and butter at PLAY, so when the opportunity then came up to test smart speaker surveys in this setting, we were game.
In partnership with Aigora, a US-based consultancy specialising in applications of AI in consumer research, we had the chance to trial a new way to collect data hands-free and in-the-moment. Given their advancements in this space, we also wanted to experience the benefits of smart speaker surveys for ourselves; including getting greater detail from participant responses, offering a more engaging way to do in-home tests and hopefully receiving richer, more accurate results for our clients.
Today, we share with you the highs and lows and our recommendation on if this is right for you and your brand.
PLAY's sensory specialist, Andrew Turner, discusses how rapid sensory profiling can take your product to the next level by asking your consumers some simple questions.
By 2025, the global plant-based market is predicted to hold a market value of $38.4 billion.
Not all generations are created equal when it comes to marketing messages. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s one of the main reasons why targeted generational marketing and communications are so powerful (and why memes can be so hit and miss!). Knowing your key audience’s habits, beliefs and channel preferences enables you to hit the nail on the head, every time.
Way back when lockdown first started, reports showed that the Aussie stereotype of loving a drink, no matter the occasion was alive and well. I know I was enjoying an extra wine with the additional hour at home at the end of the day (no travel!).
Yet with restrictions starting to ease, liquor consumption has slowed. It may still be some time before we are back ‘to normal’, which means there’s plenty of opportunities for brands and categories to facilitate these occasions in the meantime. So, let’s pop a bottle and dive right in to our top alcohol trends!
Once considered an old school research method, in-home usage tests (IHUTs) are the perfect combination of traditional and innovative techniques and should definitely be part of your research arsenal.
With the ability to be customised according to your research needs, there's a good reason they've stuck around. Couple that with the latest advancements in online qual and you can easily gain actionable insights on your products from the comfort of your own home - and that goes for your team, as well as your consumers.
If you're wondering whether an IHUT is right for you, or if you're trying to convince your team (or yourself!) to give them a go, PLAY's sensory expert, Andrew Turner, tells you everything you need to know in less than 3 minutes.
We’re longtime fans of fresh, effective ways to approach research. We are called PLAY after all!
We were recently invited to share our Play perspective on COVID-19 learnings with the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST). We love a lunch and learn, so we were thrilled to share the insights we've gained from our Australian online community over the past month and a half with some virtual friendly faces.
If you missed out, here's your chance to tune in and learn more about the impacts on purchase and consumption and what's next for FMCG manufacturers.
In our webinar, we cover:
1. FMCG-specific recommendations to explore and help your business adapt during this time.
2. The emerging purchase and consumption trends we're seeing (and how they're evolving).
3. How Aussies are feeling and the kinds of changes they're making in response to the crisis.
For some, online shopping used to be a non-essential indulgence or a way to save time. Nowadays, with non-essential errands banned, more and more Australians are choosing delivery and pickup options. Australia Post is delivering more parcels than Christmas whilst Coles and Woolworths have had to rein in their delivery options due to such high demand, so you know this is a big deal.
Anyone who’s been tasked with building a powerful brand intimately knows the highs and lows of this mammoth task. It’s part science, part art and inevitably, part magic. The good news is, you can shortcut the guesswork with brand research. And the magic? Call us Copperfield, because we can help with that, too.
At PLAY, we’re huge fans of helping you uncover the right insights to drive innovation. One of our many specialties is reviewing and ‘renovating’ existing products so you can find that golden nugget, sooner. With our unparalleled facilities and expertise, we can create the best approach to suit your product, budget and timeline. So, how do you know if it's just a paint job or if the whole house needs work?
Alcohol is a controversial topic in today’s world. While many of us are still fond of a nice, high-quality tipple, the global “wellness” trend has caused some consumers to reevaluate their alcohol consumption and choices. This shift has created an array of new opportunities and challenges for brands and manufacturers.
If you aren’t already, then it’s high time you get to grips with the controversial cannabis legalisation and innovation that’s taking place in Australia and around the globe right now. Read a snapshot from our report below or download the full report for some mind-bong-ling insights.
Technical sensory research has a bit of a bad rap.
Over the years we've worked with hundreds of brands to launch seasonal products and packs and we've picked up a fair few pointers along the way.
Have you heard? The PLAY team are officially the proud designers and owners of the largest sensory CLT facilities in Australia! Yep, it's true - we don't do things by halves around here. So, without further ado, we'd LOVE to share:
There are many amazing brands out there that people seem to love, but somehow the sales data doesn't seem to match up. Why is this the case?
Let’s face it, we all judge books by their covers, which is why we invest so much time and resource to nail packaging. We've also heard that eye-tracking is overrated, so we're here to show you just how effective it can be!
Businesses spend a lot of time measuring brand performance: consumer sentiment, imagery attributes and comparisons to other brands in the market.
Born between 1980 and 1994, millennials have some important differences from their generational neighbours, Gen Z, born between 1995 and 2015.
You're already well aware that global warming is a huge problem and a worldwide hot topic, but do you know how your consumers really feel about protecting our planet? Do you know how your business can benefit from doing the responsible thing?
Isn’t this the part we’re all waiting for? Sharing the precious, powerful insights that you’ve worked tirelessly to uncover with the rest of your organisation?
Not familiar with product clinics? Wondering how the heck they can add value to your insights?
Healthy daily routines are certainly a big part of today’s wellness movement but are people all talk, or are they really putting these concepts into practice?
It’s official: online is the fastest growing retail channel in Australia. According to Macquarie Bank, a whopping 60% of total retail sales in Australia came from online retailers last year.
Consumers are increasingly shopping for things like media, personal care, food and fashion online. However, the transition doesn’t come without its challenges for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.
In fact, the radical differences in terms of consumer experience between bricks-and-mortar stores versus online is leaving much of the industry feeling stuck and confused about how to cut through.
Lucky for you, the PLAY team live and breathe all things consumer. Get ready to dive into all things FMCG e-commerce, manufacturer and consumer pain points, and how to get the edge.
Natural food products are experiencing epic growth right now. A 2019 report from Australian Organic Limited valued the Australian organic industry alone at $2.6 billion - and it's continuing to grow at record levels.
Price, convenience and taste are arguably the most important drivers for an industry like soft drinks, right?
Our recent research into the explosion of the “naturals” market made it crystal clear that these elements are not enough. Consumer demand for natural, healthy and sustainable products has become pervasive.
The highly competitive soft drinks industry is struggling to keep its head above water in the face of growing pressure from both the anti-plastic and anti-sugar movements. So, could leveraging the growing power of "natural" help reverse the tide and achieve sparkling success?
Does the term 'concept testing' sound a bit confusing or airy fairy? If you need clarity on how a concept test can help with product development or that big launch you're planning, then allow us to explain! In this post we cover:
Getting a concept test right is all about de-risking a product. Download our Innovation white paper for more helpful insights to take your product from concept to successful launch.
Baffled or bored by the science-y connotations of the term 'sensory research'? We get it. That's why we're diving into the subject in classic PLAY style, to fill you in on:
As many Australians choose to reduce their alcohol consumption, or even go teetotal for the sake of their health, how can alcoholic drinks manufacturers successfully quench the thirst of today’s evolving consumers?
According to GlobalData’s Q3 2016 Global Consumer Survey, 46 percent of consumers are influenced by how a product will impact their health when shopping for alcoholic drinks. Shoppers are looking for innovative, indulgent drinking experiences minus the headaches and regret. Seems like a catch 22, right? Perhaps not…
We discuss the move from quantity towards quality, the rise of reduced alcohol and dietary requirement friendly options, and the need to cater for convenience as well as experiential indulgence in the Australian alcohol industry today.
At PLAY we've seen time and time again how packaging can be one of the most powerful and valuable consumer touch points. However, packaging research and design is a delicate and often bewildering journey with lots of potential pitfalls. In this post you'll learn:
The FMCG landscape is changing. As health and wellness becomes more of a priority to consumers, the lines are blurring between the domains of consumer goods manufacturers, biopharmaceuticals, cosmetic companies, health services and even the medical world.
Snacking has long been a part of most people’s daily lives. The biscuit-in-tea-dunkers. The hummus and carrot stick chompers. The 3pm Coca-Cola guzzlers.
However, the types of food which today's shoppers now perceive as 'snack food', along with their reasons for snacking and chosen consumption occasions, are changing.
Read on and we’ll answer:
How is the snack market growing and changing?
What are the key trends?
What can brands do to take advantage of the opportunities?
The latest census found that slightly more than half of Australia’s residents today have two Australian-born parents and more than one in four Australian residents were born overseas.
Launched in the UK in 2014, Veganuary “is a global charity that encourages people to try vegan for January”.
E-commerce has shifted the way that people shop and overhauled the customer journey we once knew so well.
Over half a century ago, Louis Cheskin, psychologist and marketing innovator, published his manifesto Colour for Profit on the importance of colour and symbolism in packaging.
It was one of the first books to take a scientific approach to brand imagery and design. Cheskin began a tradition of applying semiotics to packaging design in the search for bigger profits and higher brand awareness.
Semiotic analysis has been used to create some of the best innovations in recent years, helping brands fit seamlessly into society; connecting them with consumers' lives and addressing real problems.
Read on to find out why and how semiotics is important for successful packaging design.
In the past, when someone was out in the wild being chased by tigers (you know, as you do), fear caused a ‘fight or flight’ response. And if you've been watching the news lately, you'll know it's the same response we've seen to #toiletpapergate.
Have you ever been drawn to some fancy-looking packaging or heard about a jazzy new concept, but then found the sensory experience to be a total let down? It happens, but it doesn't have to happen to your product.
With PLAY's holistic approach to product testing, the whole customer experience can be tested and refined so you can more meaningful decisions about your brand.
CTA: Download Brand Growth Drivers
Do you understand your shopper's mind enough to influence that final purchase decision?
In this post PLAY researcher Dr. Klara Bruveris explores the mind of the shopper in a retail environment with a focus on packaging (one of our favourite topics!).
Let’s face it: in Australia product testing, sometimes known as sensory testing, can be hugely expensive. It’s easy for companies to burn through their research budget after testing just a couple of products.
Today’s shoppers are overwhelmed by choice. In a world fixated on freedom of choice, we have ended up with a severe case of ‘analysis paralysis’.
Brands want to make shoppers happier but instead, are often creating a psychological burden which turns shoppers off and results in decreased sales.
There may be some debate about the exact definition of Millennials, but there’s no denying that they're a prominent feature in cultural and economic commentary, with many brands chasing this particular generation of consumers. But how satisfying is the definition ‘Millennial’ to brands nowadays?
PLAY Research Consultant, Katherine Savage, discusses the Millennial mishap and shares her top tips for implementing a segmentation...
So you’ve got an awesome new concept and there’s nothing like it on the market. Of course once it’s created everyone will ‘get’ it, but how do you ensure your market research respondents will understand it.
More importantly, how can you ensure your testers can evaluate your ground breaking concept and give you the feedback you need?
That’s where animated concept testing comes in.
Co-creation is one of the best ways to engage customers. With social media playing such a huge part in our daily lives, it’s now second nature to want to share our viewpoint and offer our ideas on all manner of subjects. Consumers are crying out to be heard and co-creation gives them that opportunity.
Shoppers today pay more attention to food labelling than ever before. More of us want to know exactly what’s in our food and where it has come from.
As a nation, we have an increasing awareness and concern for the environment, animal welfare, safety standards and our own health. What’s more, we want access to this kind of information about the products we buy - quickly, conveniently and in a format we trust. Is this product sustainable and ethical? Is it nutritious? Is it local?
You’ve worked hard to produce a fabulous new food or drink product, but what should you call it?
At one time it was carbs, then it was fat but sugar is the biggest public enemy of the moment.
Google searches for “low-sugar” diets are over-taking “low-fat” diets and millions of people swear by programs such as Australian-born Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’, to help them achieve health and ‘wellness’.
Aside from the totally acceptable Easter blip (I’m currently polishing off a Lindt bunny), research shows that more of us are trying to eat healthier and lead more active lifestyles.
The Australian convenience industry grew at 4.5% in 2016, and is currently an $8.3 billion industry, according to the AACS State of the Industry Report 2016.
Convenience retailers are adapting. They are focusing on innovation and taking a customer-first approach, which has helped the industry trump grocery growth, year on year, since 2012.
What’s fuelling the robust force of the Australian convenience industry? Let's look at the rise of On The Go food.
Dr. Klara Bruveris, one of PLAY's qualitative researchers, gives her fresh perspective on the topic in this exciting feature.
© 2022 PLAY. All Rights Reserved.
Follow Us on