Unpacking Wine Package Design

Nielsen will share best practices for winning with consumers

by Jim Gordon
In March 2015 Nielsen released the results from a study of consumer reactions to vodka packaging, which found that potential buyers had strongly favorable reactions to the Belvedere brand. This month Nielsen Design Solutions conducted a wine packaging study, the results of which will be released at the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference on Aug. 19.
Napa, Calif.—The Nielsen Co. has long been known for tracking what consumers watch on television. Today marketers of packaged goods rely on Nielsen to track what consumers buy in stores. At the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference on Aug. 19, Nielsen will reveal the results of an exclusive study that evaluates consumer perceptions and behaviors related to wine package design and branding.

This month, Nielsen conducted a study of more than 2,500 consumers to understand the impact of package design within the wine category. According to Andrew Haney, vice president of Nielsen Design Solutions, the research involved a 360° assessment of select top-selling packages using cutting-edge design technologies that included eye-tracking and simulated choice scenarios about purchasing decisions.

When Haney presents the results for the first time during the second annual Wines & Vines Packaging Conference, he will cover highlights from this research, including:

• The role of package design: How much power does packing have to help or hurt a brand?
• Nielsen’s comprehensive framework for evaluating design, including specific metrics such as standout, brand equity and conversion.
• Most-preferred designs within the wine category.
• Category-specific “dos” and “don’ts” for package design.
• Best practices for capturing attention, conveying specific personality profiles and driving purchase, supported by specific industry examples.

Previous study of vodka

In a similar study that examined leading vodka brands, Nielsen was able to calculate whether a product’s appearance raised or lowered a consumer’s expectation for that brand. It revealed that in some cases the brand image of a product was high in the consumer’s mind but slipped when they looked directly at the package, and vice versa in other cases.

In its report “Package Design Trend Watch: The Vodka Aisle,” from March 2015, Nielsen observed, “Numerous studies have shown that consumers become attached to a vodka brand due to marketing and advertising, rather than the quality of the actual product. Standing out on shelf and having a bottle that effectively communicates the brand’s attributes more often than not drives purchase behavior.

“It’s also been established that consumers become more attached and loyal to a specific brand over time based on brand perception and 'status.' Blind taste tests have revealed that even self-proclaimed brand advocates routinely pick different vodkas as their favorite.”

One example in the vodka study was that Belvedere’s package was clearly helping its image. Belvedere’s “pack personality” rated higher in 10 out of 11 impression categories than its “brand personality.” The report stated, “It’s clear Belvedere has an opportunity to capitalize on these package perceptions via advertising and marketing campaigns that reinforce them.”

Haney’s presentation will examine to what degree similar dynamics are at work regarding leading wine brands.

Conference sessions and trade show
The Wines & Vines Packaging Conference will take place Aug. 19 at 500 First St. (the former Copia building) in Napa. It is intended for winery personnel including owners, winemakers, sales and marketing directors, purchasing managers, bottling line supervisors and others. Conference sessions, breakfast, lunch, a targeted trade show and wine reception are all included in the $199 registration fee.

Other sessions and speakers will address wine packaging from multiple angles, including package design and materials, quality control during bottling and natural cork selection.

Optional tasting sessions in the morning and afternoon will present tasting trials that explore the sensory differences between bottled wine and kegged wine, mature Pinot Noir in natural cork vs. screwcap, and show the effects that lax quality control during bottling can have on shelf life.

In this its second year, the conference has added a mid-morning interactive hour, during which attendees can have a “speed date” with a leading designer, enjoy a new sparkling wine showcase with tasting, and judge entries in a wine packaging competition.

The inaugural packaging conference drew 350 attendees and sold out. For more information and to register, visit wvpack.com

The Wines & Vines Packaging Conference will provide a valuable opportunity for packaging manufacturers to exhibit their products and services to a very focused audience. Supplier companies may contact Tina Vierra for more information about exhibit space and related opportunities: events@winesandvines.com or (866) 453-9701, ext. 102.

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