The Connection Between Brand Perception & Package Design

A study on package design for blood glucose monitoring systems highlights important design lessons when it comes to brand perception. Though the study focused on the diabetes system market, the lessons can translate to other medical device products available over the counter on the US market, where many different brands compete directly with one another.

Camilla Andersson

The study, which Affinnova Inc. released last month, investigated 12 of the top US diabetes meter brands: Accu-Chek Aviva, Accu-Chek Compact Plus, Accu-Chek Nano, Breeze 2, Contour USB, Freestyle Freedom Lite, Freestyle Insulinx, OneTouch UltraMini, OneTouch UltraSmart, ReliOn, True2Go, and iBG Star. Specifically, it looked at what personality traits patients associate with these brands and how well the brands use packaging to emphasise these traits.

These are some of the lessons learned, according to the website Healthcare Packaging:

  • Package design should be consistent with brand image; if it's not, it can compromise the brand image.
  • If the package design does not stand out on the shelf, it can mean that marketing and advertising efforts have been wasted.
  • Though package design is important, shelf visibility is even more significant. In the study, WalMart's ReliOn package received the most attention because of its shelf visibility, even though other package designs were rated higher.

These findings are important but not very surprising. My questions to this community: Do the device and packaging industries pay enough attention to incorporating brand image into package design? Are studies like this needed, or are the lessons already well understood?

Though the purpose of the study was to evaluate if the packaging is consistent with the brand image, the terms used to describe the packaging are interesting. They included confident, safe, simple, smart, caring, sophisticated, modern, innovative, and reliable. Some of these terms are very different from one another and the study raises a question: What is the most important personality trait of a medical device (in this case, a blood glucose meter)? Is it more important to be perceived as simple or sophisticated? Or do patients value these factors differently based on their own personalities?

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By Camilla Andersson, Freelance Journalist

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