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Relationship Between Packaging Characteristics And Consumer Brand Preference Marketing Essay

Info: 5439 words (22 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 1970 in Marketing

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Today market has become competitive, global, and very complex to take decision to buy a particular product. Consumer has wide range of different brands of similar product and quality. Quality of the product is necessary but the packaging affects the consumer buying preferences. Purpose of this research is to determine the relationship between packaging characteristics and consumer brand preference. Whether packaging carries impact on consumer choice or characteristics of packaging influence the consumer brand preference. In Pakistan there are many FMCGs producers with greater and diverse quality. Packaging has become suitable selling proposition now days although FMCGs market is very complex, competitive and diverse. Consumers are price conscious still packaging affects the consumer buying preferences.

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Aim of Study

The primary aim is to predict the consumer choice, whether packaging characteristics influence towards brand preference in context to FMCGs industry. This includes several different factors of packaging characteristics i.e. sizes of Package, different shapes of Package, safety, shelf life, convenience of storage, convenience of use, extra use of package and package attractiveness. Thus these included factors leads to consumer behavior and purchase its preferred brand.

Objective of study is also to ascertain the importance of packaging for branding and consumer preferences and to reveal all the factors affecting consumer preferences. To identify different packaging characteristics which influence the consumer buying preference, to measure the behavior of consumer regarding packaging characteristics which lead to effect consumer preferences and buying decisions.

Research Hypothesis

H1: Size of Packaging influence consumer brand preference

H1: Quality of packaging influence the consumer brand preference

H1: Form of Packaging influence consumer brand preference

H1: Security of packaging influence consumer brand preference

H1: Disposability of packaging influence the consumer brand preference

H1: Convenience of packaging influence consumer brand preference

H1: Extra Uses of Package influence consumer brand preference

H1: Packaging Attractiveness influence consumer brand preference

Literature Review

Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells. In many countries it is fully integrated into government, business, and institutional, industrial, and personal use.

Packaging attributes, combining colors, designs, shape, symbols, and messages of Food products, provide people brand acquaintance for example in a departmental store all kinds of beverages are kept in same place but consumer of specific brand can easily distinguish his choice because of difference of color, size and unambiguous shape. (Nancarrow et al., 1998)

Numerous market trends suggests a growing packaging role as a brand communication vehicle and reducing expenses on traditional brand building mass media advertising. Importance of Packaging role is acknowledged round the globe for brand building and consequently the expenses on advertisement has been found reduced. Once a brand becomes familiar companies do not have to spend a huge amount on advertising because consumer will reach the brand automatically. Companies just have to manage timely deliveries, so that meanwhile a consumer may not switch to the nearest competitors due to unavailability of the product. (Belch and Belch, 2001) Packaging attracts and sustains attention, helping consumers identify with the images presented. The importance of packaging design and the use of packaging, as a vehicle for communication and branding, are growing (Rettie and Brewer, 2000) One recent study estimated that 73 percent of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale, it means that a majority of consumers switch to one brand to its nearly alternative while purchasing, for example a housewife wants to have a jar of jam of a specific brand, if she does not find it in superstore, she might buy any similar brand in absence of her desired brand, this may cause her to believe that the new brand is somehow comparatively better than the previous one, hence next time she will visit to the store, she will surely go for the new brand instead of previous one. (Connolly and Davidson, 1996)

Packaging materials are used to communicate the messages of specific companies. Most of the branded companies have their particular brand slogans, which influences consumers towards their products. To achieve the communication goals effectively and to optimize the potential of packaging, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers must comprehend consumer response to their packages, and incorporate the perceptual processes of the consumer into design. It is also observed that companies that sometimes failure of a product is not because of lack in product qualities but lack of presentations. (Nancarrow et al., 1998)

Almost all FMCG spend extra amount to figure out Consumers’ perception and behavior, which is believed is not consistent across cultures. Although many industry observers believe that consumers worldwide are likely to have roughly similar response to many FMCG, despite cultural differences (The Nation, Bangkok, 2002) yet there are many cross-cultural researchers who believe vice versa, and assert that knowledge developed in one culture should be confirmed before use in new cultural contexts (e.g., Malhotra et al., 1996) The expansion of modern retailing helps drive this growth, so that packaging plays an increasingly critical role in merchandising and communication for FMCG (The Nation, Bangkok, 2002)

Viewing pollution problem of the world, it becomes essential to take necessary steps to reduce waste and garbage. The role of packaging in waste reduction is the most evident at food packaging. When food is processed and packaged, the food residues are often used as fuel, animal feed or some economically useful by-product. In absence of packaged processed food, the residues become garbage in the household. Another reason why food packaging reduces waste is that it reduces spoilage. In developing countries food wastage is between 20-50% because of poor or the lack of packaging. In Europe, where packaging is used in handling, transport, containment and storage, food wastage is approximately 2-3%. (PIN, 1996) With increasing rates of appropriate packaging materials, the fraction of food wastes decreases. A survey conducted in this regards declare that Overall, for every 1% increase of packaging, food waste decreases by about 1.6%. (Scarlett, 1996)

Purpose of Packaging Materials:

Physical Fortification

The objects enclosed in the package may require shield from many things like shock, vibration, compression, temperature, etc. Appropriate Packaging Material accumulates objects from all these hazards.

Barrier protection

Food products can be kept safe for a long time, unless Oxygen, water vapor, dust, etc. may not affect them. Infiltration is a critical factor in designing packaging materials. Some packages contain desiccants or Oxygen absorbers to help extend shelf life, whereas usage of metallic sheet or poly film is quite normal in packaging of food related items to prevent oxygen. Modified atmospheres or controlled atmospheres are also maintained in some food packages. Keeping the contents clean, fresh, disinfected and safe for the intended shelf life is a primary function of packaging materials.


Handling small objects separately is difficult than keeping them in one packet or box, hence diminutive objects are usually grouped together in one package instead of keeping them in different packages, for example, a single box of 1000 erasers requires less physical handling than 1000 single rubbers. Liquids, powders, and granular materials need containment.


Packages are properly labeled to provide information related to usage of product that how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product. Food, medical, chemical and pharmaceutical products are labeled proper manufacturing and expiry dates as well as suitable way of handling for example on some packages “keep in cold and dry place” is written because moisture and heat can cause hazardous change in the product, on some cartons stacking size has also mentioned to avoid any damage.


The packaging and labels are used to influence consumers to buy something. Package graphic design and physical design are chosen after thorough survey and deep study of consumers’ taste and behavior. It has also been observed that products which were proved a complete failure became much popular, just after changing the design of packages. The colour schemes, designs, packaging style and size are rightly called tools to sell anything.

Safety Measures

Packaging plays imperative role in reducing safety risks of shipment. Prior packaging, need of safety measures are studied thoroughly. Good Packaging Material is the one that comprises tamper resistance to deter tampering and also have tamper-evident features to help indicate tampering. Packages can be engineered to help reduce the risks of package pilferage: Some package constructions are more resistant to pilferage and some have pilfered indicating seals. Packages may include validation seals and use security printing to help indicate that the package and contents are not counterfeit. Packages also can include anti-theft devices, such as dye-packs, RFID tags, or electronic article surveillance tags that can be activated or detected by devices at exit points and require specialized tools to deactivate. Using packaging in this way is a means of loss prevention.


Packages are designed to keep viewing convenience in distribution, handling, stacking, display, sale, opening, re-closing, use, dispensing, and reuse, for example a tin of cooking oil is not used only once, it is to be used time and again, hence there must be convenience in use as well as in reuse. On contrary a can of disposable beverage is not designed for reusing purpose and once the seal is opened, it is to be used in a limited time; else it will end its properties.

Many housewives are observed not using specific products because of inconvenience in use, despite knowing their low price or other benefits.

Portion Control

Specific quantities or proper dosage of some products, e.g. salt, are required to be used. Bulk commodities (such as salt) can be divided into packages that are a more suitable size for individual households. It is also aids the control of inventory for example selling sealed one-liter-bottles of milk, rather than having people bringing their own bottles to fill themselves.

Types of Packaging Materials

The most common types of material used for packaging are paper, fiber board, plastic, glass, steel and aluminum.


Paper is one of the most widely used packaging materials, particularly corrugated cardboard used for transport packaging.


Glass once used as Packaging Materials for beverages but as it is broken easily and causes material loss as well as harm for human health; usage of glass has been replaced with Tin and Plastic. Glass is the most common form of packaging waste, although it has been returned to the factories now days for recycling, yet because of its insecure nature, it is being avoided as packaging material.


It is commonly used in packaging, such as drinks cans, foils and laminates. As a scrap metal, it has a high value and can also be recycled economically – 20 recycled aluminum cans, can be made with the energy it takes to manufacture one brand new one.


Steel is a widely used packaging material for food, paint and beverage as well as aerosols. Recycled steel brings significant resource and energy savings. The current recycling rate for steel cans is 62%.


Plastic offers several advantages over other packaging materials in its sturdiness and low weight.

Mixed materials:

Mixed materials packaging can sometimes have the benefits of being more resource and energy efficient than single material packaging, but combining materials makes recycling difficult. Recycling these materials is hindered by the lack of facilities and technology necessary to separate materials to avoid contamination.

Importance of Packaging & Branding in Marketing

Branding and packaging are two of the most important components of marketing. The term ‘Branding’ is used to portray the name, description and design of a product. Branding differentiates a company’s product from their competitors’. Packing is a marketing tool used to reflect the brand. A company uses packaging to sell the product inside. The colors, fonts, descriptions and logo are designed to drive consumers to buy the product.


The entire focus of a marketing department is to strategize methods to sell the company’s products. Branding and packaging are two of the most effective ways to do this. Once a brand has been determined, methods are employed to sell the product. Advertising, the company website and product packaging must all present a cohesive brand or image. In successful brand campaigns, customers recognize the company’s product packaging and purchase in part because they identify with the brand


When a company brands a product, they determine its “personality.” Creating a brand that is instantly recognizable and perceived positively is the ultimate goal. Branding integrates components such as color, style and visual imagery to distinguish a company’s products from the competition. Developing logos, slogans and tag lines are all ways that marketers communicate a specific brand. Some experts believe that advertising, which provides information about objective attributes such as price and physical traits will influence brand associations. Advertising can make positive brand evaluations and attitudes readily accessible in memory Advertising also influences behavioral manifestations of brand equity. On average, market leaders spend 20 percent more of their budgets on advertising than do their nearest competitors.

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There are different parameters or factors that force a customer to switch one brand to another. This individual varied behavior leads to study taxonomy of explanations for varied behavior. Experts of branding distribute these varied behaviors into “Derived” and “Direct” variation. “Derived varied behavior” refers to varied behavior that results from “forces that have nothing to do with a preference for change in and of itself” These forces are divided into “multiple needs” and “changes in the choice problem.” Multiple needs include multiple users, contexts and uses. There are empirical evidences indicating that varied consumption of the household may result from different usage purposes of the product as well as different users within the household. Changes in the choice problem are changes in the feasible set of alternatives, tastes and constraints (new brands, advertising, deals, etc.)

“Direct variation” explanations of varied behavior rely on the “inherently satisfying aspects of changing behavior” Interpersonal and intrapersonal motives are involved in direct variation. Interpersonal motives result from the needs for affiliation and distinction. Intrapersonal motives result from three main forces. First is the desire for the unfamiliar cite empirical evidence on successful attempts to get stable and reliable measures of different aspects of this desire that is related to an ideal level of stimulation desired by the individual. Second is the desire for information, to measure optimum stimulation levels. Consumers want information on familiar brands. This need for information arises when continued consumption of a particular brand creates confusion with regard to the worth of other brands. The third type of “direct variation” that satisfies intrapersonal needs is alternation among the familiar. The studies in the areas of psychology of consumer behavior show that levels of stimulation can be raised by switching among familiar as well as unfamiliar brands. There is empirical evidence on the existence of ideal levels of attributes wanted by consumers in their consumption. This fact may result in switching among familiar brands that are rich in different attributes.

The present study interprets varied consumption as a result of variety seeking behavior, which is operational as a measure of individual tendency to vary consumption. This tendency is measured on a continuum that extends from extreme tendency to vary consumption to an extreme tendency to avoid variety.

It is possible to identify five major factors which influence the proportion of total product sales made by each brand of a product class displayed in a supermarket: (1) relative brand prices, (2) the proportion of display space allocated to each brand, (3) the quality of display space, (4) point-of-sale advertising and promotion, and (5) consumer brand attitudes and preferences. The first four of these factors are direct dimensions of the purchase environment. The fifth is a residual of advertising and promotion, habits and experience, which is brought to the purchase environment by the consumer. A primary objective of this analysis is to isolate and quantify the fifth item, namely, brand preferences of consumers. The procedure outlined in the model essentially involves controlling the other four aspects of the purchase environment and thereby isolating the effect of brand preferences. In many merchandising situations, however, the effects of brand preferences and relative brand prices work together in either a cumulative or a compensating way. For this reason, it may also be of interest to quantify the combined effects of consumer brand preferences and differences in brand prices. While this is possible with the model and is discussed later, the basic model is developed to fit conditions where brand prices are equal. With equal brand prices, equal display quality conditions, and no point- of-sale advertising or promotion, it is hypothesized that the sales of each brand would be proportional to the display space allocated to each if all buyers were indifferent concerning brand choice. Conversely, it is hypothesized that if all buyers had a brand preference there would not be any relationship between the percentage of total sales for a brand and the


One of the most effective methods of branding is the use of slogans. Companies often identify a specific characteristic that sets their product apart from the competition. The slogan becomes a key component in all marketing efforts, including packaging. For example, Nike has effectively marketed both their logo and slogan “Just do it” into an easily recognized brand.


Packing is designed to capture a customer’s attention and it can directly affect whether they buy the product or not. Innovation and creativity come into play when it comes to packaging. A well-marketed product is packaged in a way that compels the customer to pick it up and take a closer look, at which point product descriptions and graphics must be clear.

Packaging Tools

Colors, fonts, descriptions and logos are the tools that are used in packaging design. Companies market their brands by creating a specific “look and feel” to their product’s packaging. A customer must feel comfortable enough with the presentation of the company’s brand to want to purchase the product.

Company Image

Branding and packaging are created by a company. While these efforts are used to market products, they in turn market the company itself. Branding reflects the image that the company seeks to project. For example, IBM takes on a more conservative, well-established corporate image while Apple brands itself as a hip and cutting edge company. These images reflect the market that the company has identified as target customers.

Characteristics of Packaging Materials

Size of Package:

Prior visiting market, a buyer has to decide how much quantity of his required product must be purchased to fulfill his need. Since consumers face scarcity of resources and abundance of wants, everyone tries to form symmetry between resources and wants by spending specific amount of money on various articles of goods according to need, for instance a person has RS 100/- in his pocket and he needs potatoes and milk powder. He will have to decide how much quantity of both can fulfill his requirements. The size of Package plays essential role in consumer’s decision of purchase, for example a family consisting of only two members will never buy a container of ten kg milk powder on contrary a large family will never procure half quarter of same. Viewing huge number of variety consumers, it is important to use an appropriate packaging standard size, so that every consumer may have product according to his needs.

The covariance of attention and size may cause the overall attention-attracting properties of a container’s shape to bias or mentally “contaminate” volume judgments. External and irrelevant factors frequently intrude upon and contaminate judgments of objects, yet they are unrecognized because people often are unable to identify the basis for a judgment. (Wilson and Brekke 1994)

When judging size, people are accustomed to relying on their senses to make quick judgments without introspecting about why an object appears larger than another. For example, people accept that a half-gallon milk carton appears larger than a quart without analyzing why it does so. Further, attention can intrude upon size judgments because attention can be directed to objects automatically, without a consumer having to consciously deliberate over it. An individual might not even notice that he or she is comparing across packages in their attention-attracting abilities because comparative evaluations are so ingrained as to be spontaneous. A consumer might simply conclude that one package “seems bigger” without quite knowing why.

Although the paired comparisons methodology involves presenting participants with two packages simultaneously, attention should be directed to one object at a time. People find it difficult to attend to two objects simultaneously (Baylis and Driver 1993; Duncan 1984

Comparisons between two alternatives seem to be common when consumers choose products. Eye-tracking research shows that shoppers screen a grocery product class quickly, spending relatively more time directing their attention to two or three alternatives (Russo and Leclerc 1994)

Shape of Package

Size and shape also emerges as a crucial dimension. One way in which consumers appear to use these things is as a simplifying visual heuristic to make volume judgments. Generally, they perceive more elongated packages to be larger, even when they frequently purchase these packages and have experience using them. Disconfirmation of package size after consumption may not lead consumers to revise their volume judgment sufficiently in the long term, especially if the discrepancy is not very large (Raghubir and Krishna, 1999).

The importance of packaging design is vitally acknowledged because it helps companies to be familiar in people with their brand. Prior starting a business or launching new products, companies conduct market surveys to find out consumers’ inclination because their basic motif, earning profit can never be succeeded unless they get the answer of the first and the most important question.

“What will touch Consumers’ minds?”

Different people respond to different packages in different ways, depending on their involvement (Vakratsas and Ambler, 1999)

Increased competition is forcing brand managers of consumer goods to alter the portfolio of the package sizes they offer (Elliott 1993). In making these decisions, managers are beginning to speculate whether larger package sizes accelerate a consumer’s usage volume of particular products. Indeed, a recent memo distributed within a large packaged goods company encouraged brand managers to “rethink how package sizes and shapes influence (pouring) volume” before making package-related decisions in their product line. In effect, the interest of these managers is shifting from how consumers choose brands to how they use them (Wansink 1994a). Although some managers assume that that larger package sizes encourage consumers to use more (per usage occasion) than smaller package sizes, the support is only anecdotal and these assumptions are becoming a source of controversy. Managers are interested in selling more of a product, where- as public policy officials are interested in decreasing the amount that a consumer wastes (Shapiro 1993). At the center of this issue is the relationship between package size and usage volume. My aim here is to help clarify this issue by (1) empirically determining whether package size has an impact on the usage volume of branded products and (2) investigating the reasons for any such impact.

There is a strong impact on consumer decision making from the development of the market through marketing communications, including image building (Kupiec and Revell, 2001).

This defines methodology to understand consumers’ behavior towards similar existing products and provides probability of the success of any new launch. “How packaging elements can affect buying decisions?” is the basic element of running a business, for instance all articles related to children no matter toys or edible goods, are wrapped in bright colors, whereas articles for mature and grownups have sobriety in them.

Straight shape has a positive utility compared to curvy, as does classic design on the package compared to colorful. This suggests that, overall the respondents may be more attracted to a package that seems familiar and reliable, rather than exciting. Focus group work also indicated that Thai consumers strongly prefer more familiar products. Without their usual choices, another product from a well-known company would be perceived as more reliable (Silayoi and Speece, 2004)

Packaging design, although flexible, is subject to these types of conventions. For example, corks are associated with premium wines and screw top caps with Lambkin, a budget wine. Some mid-range and premium wine producers have begun to use screw top caps, but a survey by Wine Intelligence found that 60% of the 1150 subjects disliked wines having screw caps, even though the bottles are easier to open and close, flavor is as good and corked wines are avoided. This shows that a logical approach to functionality can affect brand perception: the cork is not just a closure but an element of the brand. However, 250ml bottles of wine almost always have screw top caps. A cork is impractical, as many of these bottles are sold at stations and consumed on trains, where a traveler rarely carries a corkscrew: the dislike of screw tops is overridden by other priorities.

Packages come in all shapes and sizes, complicating the ability of consumers to make accurate judgments about the amount of a product. Some package sizes vary because of the nature of the product (e.g., meat), but for others the basis for the variation is not obvious (e.g., consider the myriad sizes and shapes of shampoos) Consumers can easily overcome the challenge of visually assessing volumes contained within a variety of shapes because most product labels provide amount information. When a consumer wishes to compare product volumes, an obvious solution is to simply read the label and compare standard units (e.g., compare fluid ounces).

Shoppers often do not expend the seemingly minimal effort to read product label and price information

Although consumers shop with their eyes, they apparently exert little effort to search for volume information on package labels. (Cole and Balasubramanian1 993)

As a general rule, discriminating between objects becomes more difficult as the magnitude of the difference decreases. (Banks, Mermelstein, and Yu 1982)

When consumers compare the volume of two similarly sized packages, that judgment may be contaminated by a factor that typically co-varies with size differences that one container attracts more attention than the other. If one of the two containers attracts more attention, consumers may misattribute the greater attention they subjectively experience as being paid to that package to a size difference. This intrusion may occur unconsciously so that consumers do not recognize its influence.

Safety of Product

The functions of Packaging can be distributed into three main categories: protection, convenience and communication. The protective aspect is to prevent damage during transportation, display and purchase, to prevent deterioration of contents and to reduce the likelihood of tampering. Convenience covers the functionality of the packaging – how it is opened and used e.g. opening a perforated section of a beverage can to extract a pin. Communication includes practical labeling of the product, what it does and its specifications (often legally required) plus elements of brand personality and aesthetics to attract the attention of the target market. The elements of packaging often fall into all three categories simultaneously :e.g. vintage Famous Grouse whisky can be purchased in a decorative presentation tin which has aesthetic qualities, communicates details of the contents, has a functional lid and protects the bottle inside with a corrugated cardboard lining. Many of the elements of packaging demonstrate similar multiple functions.

The quality and safety of food is a major benchmark of the economic development and people’s living conditions. Freshness and taste of the edible items completely depend upon the well-developed packaging. Packed Foods are now ubiquitous all over the world hence a lot of universal corporations compete to capture the large shares of packed food market. To survive in this throat cut competition as well as improve the safety and appeal of these products, most appropriate food packaging is of great importance. Companies produce in bulk quantities to minimize product cost and to store goods for continuous supply.

For instance, in Biscuit Manufacturing Companies, to keep the biscuits crispy, crunchy and tasty for long duration, flawless biscuits packaging plays a pivotal role. Being extremely soft in quality, biscuits need proper packaging, which could protect them from humidity and any kind of damage. Moisture proof, durable and appealing edible packaging is the key to enhance the shelf life, brand image and marketability of edible products.

Shelf Life of Product

Shelf life encompasses both safety and quality of food. Safety and spoilage-related changes in food occur by three modes of action; biological (bacterial/enzymatic), chemical (auto-oxidation/pigments), and physical. Active packaging may intervene in the deteriorative reactions by; altering the package film permeability, selectively absorbing food components or releasing compounds to the food. The addition of shelf life extending compounds to packaging films rather than directly to food can be used to provide continued inhibition for product stabilization. For further processed foods with greater than one week shelf life, active packa


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