Why the Number of Claims on Your Packaging Matters

Package testing can be tricky business. There are so many components to consider, from the material to the design to the copy, that testing all of it can begin to feel daunting—and maybe even unnecessary. But one of the most important things to test in package and product development is your copy: particularly, the claims that will do the talking for you when shoppers are scanning the shelf.

We already know a lot about making convincing and effective claims, like quoting a credible source and using content that is easy to process. But researchers at UCLA Anderson School of Management have recently added a new discovery to the list, uncovering the skepticism tipping point in the number of claims presented on a package. Turns out that consumer impressions peak at three positive product claims, after which the extra claims start to undermine the persuasiveness of the message and feel like overselling.

So how do you leverage this vital knowledge into a market research plan for your latest product? By incorporating an investigation of how many claims will work with your product and its package into your package testing. For example, just because three positive claims may not deter consumers doesn’t mean that three claims work for your package design or overall messaging. Below, we outline some suggestions for rounds of research to determine the optimal number of claims for your package.

1.   Refine your claim concepts

Develop a number of potential claims to be featured on your product packaging. Keep in mind the physical material of the container, the design format and spacing, and the context in which the package will be displayed. A quick quantitative test of each claim will help determine which resonates best with consumers.

 2.   Test different combinations of claims

Once you have refined your claims to those that have the most impact separately, it’s time to test different combinations of the claims together. Of course you should try testing them in groups of three, but don’t hesitate to try combinations of two or even four, as your package allows. You can also group them by qualities like theme, keywords, or length to see if any patterns emerge in consumer preference.

3.   Explore the impact of semi-negative claims

UCLA researchers discovered another crucial element to the charm of three claims: often times a good balance can be found in three positive claims and one semi-negative claim. This can help show that you’re unbiased in your product’s efficacy, and interested in helping the consumer make the right choice. A great example of a semi-negative claim is one that begins with “This product isn’t for you if…”

 4.   Apply findings to a final package concept review

Once you have narrowed down your claims to the optimal content and combination, it’s time to move forward with the rest of your package testing. Incorporate your best concepts into your final testing rounds of a more complete package.

Taking advantage of developments in consumer psychology is a great way to innovate your research design and refresh your most foundational consumer insights. And updating your package testing process to reflect these discoveries in claims effectiveness can add yet another metric of optimization to your package copy. To learn how one major beauty brand avoided a packaging misstep with the help of agile research, watch the video below.

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