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The Importance of CPG Brand Recall.

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Consumer Products Brand Recall

Consumer product brands, big and small, understand the importance of grabbing consumers’ attention, but does that attention also lead to developing lasting brand recognition and brand recall?  Most consumer products compete with endless competitors and rely on repeat purchases. Thus, it is critical that your CPG company purposefully create brand assets that ensure customers think of your product before, during, and after the transaction. Your customers need to recall your product and brand when making their shopping list, grabbing hold of the shopping cart, and traveling the aisles without being distracted by the competition.

CPG companies shouldn’t let product sales be the only way to measure brand loyalty. Considering and testing for brand recall should be a part of the complete package design process. It may very well be the differentiating factor that grows market share in a product category for your CPG brand.

What is Brand Recall?

Brand Recall is one of the four principal forms of brand awareness where companies increase ongoing purchase intent by remaining at the top of the consumer’s mind. Specifically, products in consumer packaged goods prompt brand recall through unique and distinct package types, designs, and product messages.

Even without retail experience, we all have witnessed brand recall. Have you ever been with a group of friends, and one brags about the product they use? You then ask what the product’s name is, and oddly, for their life, they cannot recall the name. Or, they remember the name but do not recall the brand that makes it. 

Both variations of this scenario are examples of why creating strong brand recall is important for the CPG industry. An effective package, design and product message builds recall in the subconscious and the conscious mind.

Recall makes it easier for a brand to do its job. The salience found in a product line will have a considerable impact on repeat purchases, expansion, and, ultimately, revenue.

A strong association with a product through brand recall creates unique patterns in the brain. While each person’s memory may seem to work similarly, we are all built with a similar operating system.

CPG Marketing Strategy For Brand Recall

Whether CPG brands are looking to increase repeat purchases or looking to emerge with a new product, a brand recall strategy is an essential part of the marketing campaign. Most marketers understand this from an advertising perspective. They include psychological and behavioral recall strategies in print, television, and digital marketing, but they disregard the importance of the product in its live-on-shelf environment.

Does certain music make you think of a product? Even if there isn’t a brand message attached to the music, your brain creates strong neuro-associations that, when presented with one association, triggers the other. How can you accomplish this same effect in retail with your consumer packaged goods brand?

This expense can be costly if brand recall is approached from a strategic but subjective position. While many companies look to stand out, having your brand “pop” on the shelves is not enough. Brands not testing their packaging, design, and product message are rolling the dice on their products’ success.

Instead of looking to “pop,” companies should analyze the category and patterns of other brands and then ask, “how do I BREAK those patterns and stand out”? Testing against the product’s distinct brand elements is the only way to create pattern interruption yet hold to the recall your brand currently owns.

Brand Recall in Package Design

When considering your product’s packaging, removing subjectivity in the packaging design process lets the consumer data (also known as the shopper) determine what packaging is most likely to lead to purchase. Before increasing your cost of goods with a unique package shape, color, or material, testing against other variations ensures that the increased cost delivers a worthwhile ROI.

What is the common theme in your category? How can your package stand out in a way that increases the likelihood that consumers will grab your product from the shelf and give it a further look?

Sometimes the package may have a new shape. Other times, it might have an innovative problem-solving feature. Nuton Brainfood is a good example. By solving the spill issue with MCT Oils, Nuton Brainfood increased both recall and product differentiation.

Brand Recall in Graphic Design

A label design can either increase or decrease your customers’ ability to recall your product later. For many brands, graphic elements are the first (and sometimes only) consideration in their packaging process. However, the importance is dependent on the product category. Emerging product categories and competitive landscapes heighten the importance of a product’s graphic elements so that it stands out on the shelf.

The colors you choose for your brand have the largest impact but are also the hardest to own. New to-market or established brands can quickly adjust their packaging to match your design refresh. So an interesting and bold design alone is not enough. Ownable and unique visuals and messaging work together to create distinctiveness that leads to strong brand recall.  

This is why the SmashBrand methodology tests against package, design, and messaging in both an isolated and an interdependent way. This testing is performed in live unadulterated environments with targeted consumers that give your brand objective data to decide.

Brand Recall in Product Messaging

Creating Stickiness in Package Design is more than just attractive graphic elements. The words that live on your product must resonate with the buyer beyond basic product awareness. The content on your packaging needs to change the consumer’s behavior past the point of the initial transaction.

There are thousands of examples of brands that “assume” their product message differentiates them from the competition. Unfortunately, upon testing, assumptions tend to be inaccurate.

Product messaging is the most ownable part of the package design process. You can grab market share from competitive brands if your message resonates in a new way with CPG consumers.

Here is where your design becomes amplified. Stickiness occurs when packaging and graphic elements hold the customers’ attention long enough to read your product message. Your product has moved past the 3-seconds it takes to grab the customers’ attention and has reached the point where they are aware and considering your product.

Communication is both verbal and nonverbal. The words on the package may only resonate if the layout is in a specific way, presented in the exact order to match the buyer’s journey.  Most consumer products are low-involvement buying decisions.  Your product has approximately three seconds to pitch to the consumer.  The short and condensed decision time makes it all the more important to ensure that your messages are presented in the right order and are differentiated and memorable.

Brand Recall For Line Extension

How do you scale your brand into a new category SKUs without starting over from scratch? You cannot depend on the shopper to assume that because one product resonated, you remain the right choice for another category. 

“Your peanut butter may go on their sandwich, but that doesn’t mean they will buy your jelly.”

Line extension into other product categories can positively or negatively impact your relationship with the retailer. The amount of shelf space your brand owns in a grocery store or other CPG aisles will depend on the initial success of your new product. Leveraging existing and memorable brand assets onto new products in different categories will greatly improve success with retailers and consumers alike.  Testing for brand recall must be part of your package design strategy to ensure success.

It is important at any distance, but the further your new product sits from your existing products, the more important brand recall is. Where peanut butter may sit next to jelly, your soup product may not sit near the crackers that taste great in the soup.

The Risk of Design Change On Brand Recall

The greatest risk to brand recall is losing the customer subconsciously by designing away from the brand elements that consumers have grown to associate with the brand. A brand must be thoughtful about the original aspects of a product. Based on your existing brand recall, there are certain elements of your packaging that we must carry forward to anything new we create. A brand audit where you determine your distinct brand assets, capture what matters, and score them will highlight the strength of these assets in a crowded marketplace.

Tropicana is one example of a brand that learned this lesson the hard way, as their sales plummeted by over 20% solely based on a design change. The message here is don’t change unless there is a need to change.

Following SmashBrand methodology answers the question, “What impact will a CPG packaging redesign have on a brand.”  Investing in a data-driven process will either increase revenues or save you from revenue losses.

Either way, it’s a win for your brand.

Packaging from Design to Print

Now you understand the importance of CPG brand recall, but how will you implement this into your package design process? If your brand is not testing and scoring to ensure your packaging creates a strong product recall through its branding and packaging design, you may miss out on growth potential or lose market share.

SmashBrand is a packaging design company that uses data science frameworks and proprietary testing methods that increase the performance of your products shelf performance. More than theory, our testing methodology employs proven scientific methods to measure and score packaging for brand awareness and recall. Book a time to discuss your project with our team.