How Neuromarketing can lead to better packaging design

Combining measurements of visual impressions with tactile measurements of packaging’s haptics (i.e. how a package is experienced when it’s held by someone) has been characterized as “ingenious.”

How can neuromarketing (i.e. using combinations of biometric measuring techniques to analyze consumer reactions) be a tool that makes packaging development much more efficient? Sweden-based companies Iggesund Paperboard and Tobii Pro (a global leader in the field of eye tracking) have partnered and revealed specifically how at recent, exclusive seminars targeted at both companies’ customers.

Ali Farokhian.

“With eye tracking, you can measure customers’ visual attention to, and experience with, your packaging design – and you can test before production to ensure that you get the desired result and catch the consumer’s eye in the store,” said Ali Farokhian, who heads up the Research Consultancy Team Tobii Pro Insight at Tobii. “The majority of shoppers’ decisions are made in-store, therefore capturing the shopper’s attention and interest through effective packaging formats is key in a competitive market landscape. Getting it wrong can be quite expensive – both in the form of direct costs when you have to re-do designs and materials, and of course in the form of lost revenues. Consumers often function on autopilot, so the key issue is how to arrive at a design that captures attention and interest in a relevant way, persuading the consumer to dare to try something new. In the hunt for the optimal solution, we’re offering a powerful tool,” Farokhian added.

Iggesund Paperboard manufactures high-quality paperboard brands Invercote and Incada, two of the strongest brands currently on the European paperboard market. Iggesund not only supplies paperboard, but also works actively to convey knowledge about how to get the most out of it. This joint project was only one step in spreading knowledge about packaging and packaging materials, the company said. Tobii Pro is a division of Tobii Group, which began by developing eye-tracking hardware for research in 2001, and then grew into supplying a range of tools – from hardware, desktop and wearable software and cloud technology – to the research consultancy Tobii Pro Insight, which is Iggesund’s project partner. It focuses on studying visual attention to help businesses understand human behaviour, particularly in situations such as how consumers perceive packaging.

Jonas Adler.

“We want to make our customers aware of the possibilities that are available to them at an early stage, so they can evaluate various design alternatives,” said Jonas Adler, Director Business Development at Iggesund Paperboard. “Combining measurements of visual impressions with sensory measurements of packaging’s haptics (the perception of objects by touch and how they’re experienced when held by someone) is ingenious. The psychological concept called ‘the endowment effect’ (i.e. that we have difficulty getting rid of things we own) can also be applied to something we’re holding in our hand. The more pleasant that experience is, the longer we want to keep on holding it. We often hear from customers that one reason they choose Invercote is the experience when they hold a piece of Invercote packaging in their hand,” Adler pointed out. “We really welcome the opportunities to measure this, because until now the feedback has mostly been word of mouth. Now we can actually measure the haptic differences between packaging materials.”

Andrew Hurley.

Clemson University in South Carolina, offers a highly ranked educational program in packaging expertise. The university has built a laboratory there equipped with eye-tracking tools from Tobii Pro. It’s a store-type environment where various types of packaging can be tested. “The use of eye tracking will result in design that’s more consumer-oriented,” said Andrew Hurley, Associate Professor at Clemson University. “By that I mean packaging that makes it easier for consumers to find the right product faster, and enables us to more rapidly and more efficiently find the products that satisfy our needs.” Seminars on neuromarketing and its usefulness in developing and evaluating packaging will be held initially in Paris, London, Tokyo and San Francisco.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.