Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail email@example.com
Searching for New Opportunities - Packaging
In my mind there are three types of market opportunities: tweaking,
evolutionary and revolutionary. Tweaking is where we play around with
improving minor features. An evolutionary change is where we approach
existing consumer problems and improve the state of the art. A revolutionary
change is one that results in a paradigm shift in the category.
In the Packaging arena, the tweaking are those little "tie-breakers" that
in themselves are not purchase motivators. They seldom result in a change
of brand usage. However, they are the most frequent changes seen in
the market today.
Evolutionary changes are those that are NEED-based. Actually, I lump
needs/wants/desires into this one category. These changes are a result
of problems or dissatisfaction with a brand or category. These changes
frequently result in brand switching
Revolutionary changes are those that come along once in a blue moon. They
are usually the result of technology break-throughs. They usually encompass
product changes that the consumer would never articulate. They are things
they would never dream possible or relate to the brand category.
I believe that it is impractical to specifically search for packaging opportunities.
It would be too short sighted. Packaging in itself is not strictly
a commodity, it is more a TOOL. People do not usually purchase the package,
they purchase what is in the package except in very rare occasions. We
should not look at packaging as an OPPORTUNITY. Rather it should be
viewed as a TOOL to solving needs, which are OPPORTUNITIES.
For example, a NEED might be to have two-liter bottled drinks last longer
after opening, that is, not to go flat. While the object is to prevent
the loss of carbonation, a packaging modification might be the solution. Packaging
is not the object, but it offers a solution to the need.
Focusing on Packaging as an Opportunity without a NEED would greatly limit
our potential. If we ask the consumer about potential packaging improvements,
we will get packaging responses. However, if we ask about needs, wants,
desires, we open up the potential to uncover problems that may be solved through
I believe that it is important to keep in mind that without a NEED, any
initiative is most likely doomed to failure.
Having said the above, what would I do if searching for packing opportunities?
I would not be putting funds behind the exploration of "Tweaking"
initiatives. I would just let them happen and then evaluate anything
that comes up.
Revolutionary changes come about so infrequently that I would not
address them directly. I would put in a system that tracks technology
break-throughs and competitive efforts around the world.
Almost all my efforts would be directed to Evolutionary changes through
the learning and understanding of the needs/wants/desires/problems of the
consumer and the customer as well as the corporate needs that can be addressed
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