Proving Packaging Performance with Kevin Smith from SmashBrand

September 24, 2020

How to Create Packaging that Performs with SmashBrand’s Kevin Smith

The DTC Podcast sat down with SmashBrand’s Kevin Smith to discuss all things package design strategy. In this episode, we share packaging tactics to reduce risk, differentiate your brand, and communicate your values to your customers.

Kevin is the founder and managing partner of SmashBrand, working with clients such as Kraft Heinz, Duracell, 7-Eleven, and Paypal to innovate their packaging design, brand strategy, branding, and consumer testing. Kevin started his career as a CPG entrepreneur growing several brands to over $40M in revenue before pivoting to his true passion - brand strategy and creative direction.

Watch the full conversation here or read on for key takeaways from Kevin’s data-driven differentiation-based strategies.

🔑 Product with Purpose

Kevin outlined four essential questions that all brands have to answer before activating. These foundational elements, when communicated well, will carry your product.

What is our purpose?

How do we add value to our customers?

What’s your differentiator? How do you prove it?

Spend all your effort, time, and money defining purpose, value-adds, and differentiators. Once that foundation’s in place, deploy these elements across all funnel touch points.

🔑 Data Backed Decisions

As DTC marketers, using data comes as second nature, but in the world of brand packaging, how can you be sure that the decisions you make about how a product looks are working for you?

The answer: Structured feedback and iteration! Kevin’s Smash Brand has built a systematic, multidimensional process for brand package creation (and a month’s long waiting list to work with his firm), but we pressed him on how DTC entrepreneurs can practically produce relevant data themselves to get started.

If you already have an audience, it’s a lot easier. Embrace the idea of “building in public” and ask your audience about critical aspects of your new packaging on your page, in your group, or to the most loyal superfans on your list.

If you’re starting out and don’t have a gaggle of followers, start like Kevin (and Eric) did, by using Amazon Mechanical Turk, or MTurk, a platform that allows you to structure high volume feedback testing for cents per signal.

For example, if you’re evaluating your packaging colour or font, you could send 1000 people a picture of your proposed product design on the shelf next to other competitors and ask them which product they would pick and why. This exercise will cost you $50 or less, and the results will establish your baseline. Systematically run the test with key changes made to your brand and/or packaging and see if you can improve the selection rate.

Kevin cautions that you have to be careful how you ask and structure your tests. Still, MTurk is a viable tool for generating the performance signals you need to make profitable decisions about brand packaging. Watch the poddy for more information.

🔑 White Space

Again for the people in the back - differentiation is the most important thing when approaching your product and brand strategy. Kevin advocates for a research-driven strategy - evaluating your competition and noting absences in the market. Eventually, you’ll see patterns and areas no one is operating in - this is your most significant opportunity as a brand. Go after white space, and own it.

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