Belkin had developed new packaging for its line of wireless routers. This packaging was intended to distinguish Belkin from its key competitors by demystifying the purchase of a wireless router. It was based on the notion that consumers do not understand most of features and benefits of a router and would respond positively to a brand that explained things in ways they could understand.
Our goal was to assess the likely impact of this packaging redesign on consumers’ choices at retail.
We initially approached this problem as a product development problem – to estimate purchase intent for the new packaging relative to the existing packaging and competitive options.
After the results of the first study indicated that the new packaging would actually perform worse than the existing packaging and far worse than competitive packaging, the task then became one of understanding why, which led us back to the basic positioning assumption on which the new packaging was based.
The RIGHT Answer
Unfortunately, while true, this notion about demystifying packaging ignored what consumers were looking for in a router, signal strength and reliability, as well as how they judged they were getting those benefits – from how inscrutable the packaging was!
So, by simplifying the packaging and using language that regular consumers could understand, Belkin would be losing ground in its positioning relative to competitors – being seen as less reliable with a weaker signal than competitors.
Our recommendation was that, if simplifying the packaging was a worthwhile goal it could not come at the expense of the key price of entry elements that all wireless routers must demonstrate.
The moral of this story is to ignore positioning at your own peril.