When determining possible colour options for a new product, packaging professionals must keep the consumer in mind. First, they determine what type of message the product should give.
Based on the message, a colour scheme that represents this message is chosen.
This is why basic research is necessary, whether it’s from previous case studies of similar products or from focus groups. Finally, packaging professionals must create an “attention” to the product, making it easily noticeable to the consumer. By following these basic steps, the package could be considerably successful. It may also instil a certain image or message into the consumer’s mind that keeps them loyal for many years
This paper aims at investigating the effect of packaging design of the soft drinks industry, specifically colour, on consumer behaviour.
Most buyers make the decision of purchasing because of the packaging, which is often considered as the «silent salesman».
Now that more and more businesses understand the role of packaging to act upon consumers, it is crucial for packaging to be studied as an influence on consumer behaviour.
In today’s consumption society, consumers are faced with a large choice of product choices and in this way, the packaging plays important roles as it is a source of information.
Primary and Secondary data that has been collected for this research signals that consumers are affected by colours in their purchases
From our research, we concluded that Blue and Red packaging were much more popular than the other colours. Moreover, yellow packaging was the least popular.
Results show that the colours of packaging have a large impact on consumers and therefore on sales and profits.
The central point in today’s marketing is to fully please consumers’ needs and prosperity. The major point in marketing planning is always consumer.
The firms and markets have massively developed and the competitive environment is becoming more and more concentrated The market today is packed with so many different brands, which make it difficult for consumers to arrive at the final buying choice. At the same time companies also face complications in attracting consumers
A brand visual appearance is very crucial to consumers especially in today’s visual-obsessed society, where consumers have more choice and less time than ever before. This is why, it has never been more important for marketers to invest in the design and look of their product or logo.
When shopping, consumers are confronted with too much choice and the packaging and colour play an important role into this choice.
Colour plays a crucial part of business and marketing at both strategic and tactical level and organisations will pay colossal amounts of money to build and improve, so that colours thought of appropriate will be associated with both the company and its variety of products. It can be so successful that in some cases a colour will be immediately related to the organisation on question.
Every major organisation will are developing and designing corporate colours that reproduce the values and products of the organisation in consumers’ minds. In this way it will be hoped that the use of colours will help the customer instantaneously recognise the organisation and perceive it as being competent, contemporary and truthful.
Packaging is very important and a colossal amount of time and money is spent on consumer packaging colour design, trying to get colour combinations that exceed expectations. “Computer technology has helped a great deal in all areas of product research as 3D images can be portrayed and colours and shapes manipulated on the screen to ascertain a respondent’s reactions. Such is power of colour that it would be extremely hard for us to imagine such well-known products in a different colour, such as green Mars bar, a blue Kit-Kat, a yellow Coca-Cola, a pink Heinz baked bean tin and black Kellogg’s cornflake packets.”(Ray Wright 2006)
It has been estimated that packaging design plays a major role because it is often the only factor that can differentiate between two products (Buxton 2000; Rettie and Brewer 2000).
Actually, we can even go further and say that packaging is now being seen a new form of advertising (Furness 2003, The Silent Salesman)
This study is selected to find out the factors which affect consumer decision while purchasing or selecting a certain colour packaged product. This research will explore the Technological, Cultural, Social, Personal and psychological factors have a big role in consumer buying decision and also how a packaging design and colour will affect and impact on buying decisions of consumers.
Because Colours and shapes express about 80% of all visual communication (LaCroix 1998), consumers are getting used to employing colour as a means of amassing information. Thus, colour plays an important part in marketing and advertising and especially in packaging.
Researchers have spent more than four decades studying the attitude of consumers in the marketplace (Petty, Cacioppo and Shuman 1983). This area is now called and known as consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour involves the thoughts and feelings people experience paired off with the actions performed during the shopping process (Peter and Olson 1999).
When a choice has to be made, a consumer may use the information of size, texture, shape, price, or ingredients to make the decision of which product to purchase especially when setting quality.
Thus, it is interesting to investigate the effect of colours used in packaging on consumer behaviour.
The study of consumers help firms and organisations improve their marketing strategies by understanding their behaviour.
One official definition of consumer behaviour is: “the study of individuals, groups or organisations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society”. (Hawkins, Best, and Coney, 2001, p7.)
Each organisation provides some products that are used by some consumers, even though we may not always recognise the products or consumers as such.
Packaging is used to protect the product from damage during shipping and handling, and to lessen spoilage if the protection is exposed to air or other elements. The design is used to attract customer’s attention as they are shopping or glancing through a catalogue or website. This is particularly important for customers who are not familiar with the product and in situations where a product must stand out among thousands of other products. Packaging designs that standout are more likely to be remembered on future shipping trips.
Packaging design and structure can also add value to a product. For instance, benefits can be obtained from package structures that make the product easier to use while stylistic designs can make the product more fascinating to display in the customer’s home.
Decisions made about packaging must not only be accepted by the final customer, they may also have to be accepted by distributors who sell the product for the supplier. For example, a retailer may not accept packages unless they conform to requirements they have for storing products on their shelves.
Companies usually create a package for a lifetime. As a matter of fact , changing a product’s packaging too frequently can have negative effects since customers become conditioned to locate the product based on its package and may be confused if the design is modified.
Marketers have long used the colour and design of their product packaging to produce brand awareness. Traditionally, changes to a product’s look have been undertaken as little as possible as to preserve that hard won brand recognition. Today, rather than sticking with one colour scheme, companies must constantly update their image to keep them as fresh and exciting as the competition’s.
Packaging decisions must also include an assessment of its environmental impact especially for products with packages that are frequently thrown away.
Packages that are not easily bio-degradable could evoke customer and possibly governmental concern.
Also, caution must be exercised in order to create packages that do not break on intellectual property, such as copyrights, trademarks or patents, held by others. (Richardson 1994).
Recent research by the Henley Centre (Frontiers, 1996) estimates that 73 percent of purchase decisions are made in the store; the design of packaging must play a key role at point of sale. “The pack design is the "salesman on the shelf" (Pilditch, 1972)”, “ it should ensure that a brand stands out, is recognised, and is included in the products under consideration” (Connolly and Davison, 1996).
Good business is often about finding out consumer trends and forming a strategy that targets growth in key technologies and market segments to capitalize on these trends. As packagers and package printers, they need to be in tune with trends and changes in shopping habits in order to remain successful.
Research supports the importance of a brand’s visual appearance to consumers. One study by the Institute for Colour Research revealed that people make a subconscious judgement about an item within 90 seconds of first viewing, and that up to 90% of that assessment is based on colour.
Another of their study study reveals that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%.
Colour clearly plays an important part in catching the modern-day consumer’s eye. According to the Henley Centre, 73% of purchasing decisions are now made in store. Consequently, catching the shopper’s eye and delivering information efficiently are critical to successful sales. In today’s world of infinite choices no brand can afford to ignore the impact of colour. More importantly, why would anyone want to give that potential advantage away to competitors?
Colours send a variety of signals about the person, place or thing they adorn.
Using this link between human emotion and colour to sell a product is certainly nothing new.
The objective of this research is to investigate if the colours that are used in packaging do influence our (consumers) behaviour.
Understanding the effect packaging colour has on consumer decision- making would be as an introductory mean of investigating packaging design as the new advertising.
The study also examines how different colours influence consumer decision making, and ultimately, the consumer’s intent to purchase. It focuses on packaging design from a communication aspect, not an engineering one.
We examine how packaging influences buying decisions for packaged soft drinks products. As we know, the package impacts the consumer. This is because of conflicting trends in consumer decision-making. On one hand, some consumers are paying more attracted to label information (Coulson, 2000). These consumers are more concerned in the product decision and use package information more extensively. On the other hand, modern consumers are often looking for ways to reduce time spent on soft drinks shopping. This can influence decision processes, too, as time pressure reduces detailed consideration of package elements ( Warde, 1999).
While these are important issues, and becoming even more critical in the increasing competitive environment, there is little comprehensive study on how packaging elements influence brand choice under involvement and time pressure. This paper aims at forming a better understanding of the link between colours used in packaging and consumer purchase behaviour within the soft drinks industry.
Until recently, the importance of colour as a brand identity wasn’t as recognised.
It is nowadays clear that colour can play a very large part of any organization’s success.
This pushes us into asking ourselves the following questions:
Ø How does colour affect us?
Ø Which colours have an impact on us?
Ø Do organisations carefully choose what colours to use when packaging a product?
The next chapter will be a literature review that will study:
1) A review of consumer behaviour and especially what mostly affects consumer decisions
2) The effect of packaging design and especially colour on consumer decision making and consumer purchase intent.
3) A review of the literature regarding colour, colour association and colour practices.
The third chapter will examine the soft drinks industry nowadays in the UK and worldwide.
The fourth chapter will be an explanation of the different methods used to practice a research. It will also outline the method used into this particular research question
The fifth chapter, Research questions and methodology, outlines the research questions and the methodology of this study. This chapter presents an in-depth look at the research questions. It explains the survey questions used for qualitative data findings.
It provides the results and a discussion of the results.
The sixth chapter will be a conclusion which restates the goal of this research and provides a summary of the research.
This chapter contains limitations of the study, suggestions for future research and reflection on the study for future replication, and how this study adds to the body of knowledge regarding the influence of packaging’s colour on the consumer decision making process.
Shoppers in the United States spend about $6.5 billion on consumer goods (Peter and Olson 1999). A company’s continued success is associated with a successful relationship with the consumer. Finding out as much information as possible on consumer shopping choices and behaviour provides companies the tools to produce goods and services to strengthen their relationship with the consumer. In other words, companies have discovered that information obtained from customer databases and in-store observations have proved worthy in regard to earning consumer’s repeat purchases or business.
The phrase “consumer behaviour “refers to the feelings and thoughts people experience, and the actions they take while engaging in the consumption process” (Peter and Olson 1999). Consumer behaviour also includes the things in the environment (product appearance, price information, advertisements, packaging, consumer comments, shelf positioning, etc.) that can impact the feelings and actions of the consumer.
In addition, consumer behaviour includes a process of exchange between buyers and sellers: people exchange money to obtain products or services.
Moreover, consumer behaviour involves the study of what influences the feelings and actions of people while shopping.
Recent research efforts have isolated several factors that influence consumers’ price unfairness perceptions as well as potential consequences of these perceptions (Bolton et al. , 2003; Campbell, 1999; Xia et al. , 2004). Previous research has proved the distinction between distributive fairness and procedural fairness.
Another concept of price fairness perceptions, the principle of dual entitlement, suggests that one party should not benefit by causing a loss to another party. When a firm uses the high consumer demand to its own advantage by increasing prices, consumers will feel being misused and in this way understand the prices as unfair. For example, a study showed that “82 percent of the respondents judged a price increase for snow shovels the morning after a snowstorm to be unfair, while only 21 percent of respondents viewed an increase in grocery prices following an increase in wholesale prices as being unfair” ( Kahneman et al. , 1986). While the dual entitlement principle arise from buyers’ reactions toward sellers’ obvious exploitation based on supply and demand changes, it is possible that consumers may create perceptions of unfairness based on their own demand situations even without explicit exploitation actions from the seller. For example, when buyers feel that they have to buy a product and must accept whatever the price is, they could be concerned that potentially they could be exploited by the seller regardless even if the seller doesn’t actually performs such actions.
Recent research in marketing and psychology has shown that satisfaction is positively correlated with fairness perceptions (Bowman and Narayandas, 2001; Huffman and Cain, 2001; Kim and Mauborgne, 1996; Ordiñez et al. , 2000; Smith et al. , 1999). , Oliver and Swan (1989a, b) found that customers’ fairness perceptions depended on a supplier’s commitment and the quality of the goods and services comparing to the price paid.
Given many different ideas within the literature, however, it is generally agreed that customer satisfaction involves the comparison of standards whether they be in the form of expectations, desires, wants, ideal or equitable performances. To explain the diverse issues surrounding expectations and standards with regarding customer satisfaction, Zeithaml et al. (1993) first proposed the notion of the “zone of tolerance”, which they describe as "the extent to which customers recognize and are willing to accept heterogeneity" (Zeithaml et al., 1993, p. 6). It is on this basis they proved that an individual’s zone of tolerance is the difference between what they desire and what they consider satisfactory, in terms of performance, and this zone can differ and contrast across situations and individuals. This may explain why "some customers are consistently easy to please and others are interminably difficult" (Mooradian and Olver, 1997, p.389). It can be that those customers who are easily pleased have a large zone of tolerance, in terms of their product expectations, whereas those who are quite difficult have a very narrow zone of tolerance. This would explain differences in expressed satisfaction ratings of consumers who have essentially had very similar product experiences. This notion was alluded to by Mittal and Kamakura (2001 ) with regards to satisfaction and repurchase intentions. They suggested that "consumers may have different thresholds or tolerance levels towards repurchase" (p. 132) and that consumer’s with the same satisfaction rating may have different levels of repurchase behaviour because of these differences. On this basis, it could be concluded that some individuals are simply inclined to product satisfaction and repeat purchases, whereas others are not (Grace, 2005).
What is packaging? In general terms, packaging is the container that is in direct contact with a product, which “holds, protects, preserves and identifies the product as well as facilitating handling and commercialisation” (Vidales Giovannetti, 1995). More specifically, and following Vidales Giovannetti (1995), there are three types of packaging: Primary packaging which is in direct contact with the product, such as soft drinks bottles, Secondary packaging which contains one or more primary packages and serves to protect and identify them and to communicate the qualities of the product ( it is normally disposed of when the product is used or consumed). Finally, tertiary packaging which contains the two previous ones and its function is usually to distribute, integrate and protect products throughout the commercial chain. This could be the cardboard box that contains several bottles.
Packaging is also considered to form part of the product and the brand. For Evans and Berman (1992) packaging is a product image or characteristic. For Olson and Jacoby (1972) packaging is an important element of the product, that is to say, it is attribute that is related to the product but that does not form part of the physical product itself. Price and brand are also crucial elements of the brand and according to Underwood et al. (2001); these are the most important values when it comes to deciding what products to buy. Keller (1998) also considers packaging to be an attribute that is not associated to the product. For him it is one of the five elements of the brand which include the name, the logo and/or graphic symbol, the personality and the slogans. Packaging is presented as part of the buying and consuming process, but often it is not as important as to the ingredients that are essential for the product to function (Underwood, 2003).
Different people respond to different packages in different ways, depending on their personnality ( Vakratsas and Ambler, 1999). Since an evaluation of attributes is less important in low involvement decision making, a highly noticeable factor such as graphics and colour becomes more important in choice of a low involvement product (Grossman and Wisenblit, 1999). On the other hand, the behaviour of consumers towards high involvement products is less influenced by image issues. For low involvement, there is a strong impact on consumer decision making from the development of the market through marketing communications, including image building (Kupiec and Revell, 2001).
The significance of graphics is explained by the images created on the package, whether these images are purposely developed by the marketer, or unintended and unanticipated. Graphics includes image layout, colour combinations, typography, and product photography, and the total presentation communicates an image. For consumers, the package is the product, particularly for low involvement products where initial impressions formed during initial contact can have lasting impact. According to Nancarrow et al. , 1998, the design characteristics of the package need to stand out in a display as it is one of the most important attribute in order to target consumers
Many consumers today shop under higher levels of perceived time pressure, and tend to purchase fewer products than intended (Herrington and Capella, 1995; Silayoi and Speece, 2004). Products purchased during shopping excursions often appear to be chosen without prior planning and represent an impulse buying event (Hausman, 2000). A package that attracts consumers at the point of sale will help them decide quickly on what to buy in-store. As the customer’s eye movement tracks across a display of packages, different new packages can be noticed against the competitors. When scanning packages in the supermarket, the differential perception and the positioning of the graphics elements on a package may make the difference between identifying and missing the item (Herrington and Capella, 1995).
Packaging seems to be one of the most important factors in purchase decisions made at the point of sale (Prendergast and Pitt, 1996), where it becomes an essential part of the selling process (Rettie and Brewer, 2000).Packaging is now recognised as the "salesman” of the shelf at the point of sale. The importance of packaging design is increasing in such competitive market conditions, as package becomes an important vehicle for communication and branding (Rettie and Brewer, 2000).
Prendergast and Pitt (1996) review the basic operations of packaging, and delimitate them by their role in either logistics or marketing. The main function of packaging is primarily to protect the product when moving through distribution channels. In marketing, packaging provides a successful method of communication about product attributes to consumers at the point of sale. The package sells the product by drawing in attention and communicating, and also allows the product to be contained, portioned and protected.
Packaging is one key product attribute perceived by consumers. It is always fulfilling the marketing function, even if a company does not openly recognize the marketing aspects of packaging. The package is an important factor in the decision-making process because it transmits a specific message to consumers. Intention to purchase depends on the degree to which consumers expect the product to satisfy them when they consume it (Kupiec and Reveil, 2001). How they comprehend it depends on communication elements and this is the key to success for many marketing strategies.
The package’s overall features can emphasise the uniqueness and originality of the product. In addition, product characteristics influence the perception of quality transmitted by packaging. If it conveys high quality, consumers assume that the product is of high quality. If the package communicates low quality, consumers transfer this low quality perception to the product itself. The package communications can be favourable or unfavourable. Underwood et al. (2001) suggest that consumers are more likely to imagine aspects of how a product looks tastes, feels, smells, or sounds while they are watching a product picture on the package.
Behaeghel (1991) and Peters (1994) consider that packaging could be the most important communication medium for the following reasons:
– It reaches almost all buyers in the category;
– It is present at the crucial moment when the decision to buy is made; and
– Buyers are actively involved with packaging as they examine it to obtain the information they need.
This is why it is essential to communicate the right brand and product values present on packaging and to achieve a suitable esthetical and visual level ( Nancarrow et al. , 1998).
Similarly, McNeal and Ji (2003) underline that the belonging of packaging as a marketing element resides in the fact that it often accompanies the use or consumption of products and, therefore, the possibility of conveying brand values and product characteristics increases. Wit Deasy (2000) points out that the characteristics of a product – it’s positioning – are permanently transmitted over seven stages:
1) Point of sale;
2) Transporting the product home;
3) Home storage;
5) Serving the product for consumption;
6) Reclosing or putting away; and
Underwood (2003) points out that, unlike the transmission of positioning through advertising, packaging allows positioning to be transferred live. As it accompanies products, packaging lives in the home and potentially becomes an intimate part of the consumer’s life constituting a type of life experience between the consumer and the brand (Lindsay, 1997).
From the consumer perspective, packaging also plays a major role when products are purchased: packaging is crucial, given that it is the first thing that the public sees before making the final decision to buy (Vidales Giovannetti, 1995). This has increased with the popularisation of self-service sales systems which have caused packaging to move to the task of attracting attention and causing a purchase. In the past, it had remained behind the counter and only the sales attendant were the link between the consumer and the product (Cervera Fantoni, 2003). According to Sonsino (1990), self-service has taken the role of communicating and selling to the customer from the sales assistant to advertising and to packaging. This is why packaging has been called the "silent salesman", as it communicates us of the qualities and benefits that we are going to obtain if we were to consume certain products (Vidales Giovannetti, 1995). Nowadays, packaging provides manufacturers with the last opportunity to influence possible buyers before brand selection (McDaniel and Baker, 1977). In this way we can say that all the packaging elements, including texts, colours, structure, images and people/personalities have to be combined to provide the consumer with visual sales negotiation when purchasing the product (McNeal and Ji, 2003). According toClive Nancarrow et al. (1998) : nine out of ten purchasers, at least occasionally, buy on impulse and unplanned shopping articles can account for up to 51 per cent of purchases ( Phillips and Bradshaw, 1993).
Consumers are bombarded with about 3600 selling messages a day (Rumbo 2002). Yet, because of technology allowing TV watchers to omit commercials and declining advertising budgets, there has been an emphasis on influencing the consumer at the store shelf (Furness 2003). For many products, such as seasonal items, packaging design has acquired the responsibility of advertising ( often being the only advertising the product will receive) and has evolved into the “ silent salesman” (Furness 2003; Rettie and Brewer 2000)
It is estimated that between 73% and 85%of purchase decisions are made at this point and the packaging design must play a key role because it is often the only factor that differentiates two products on a shelf ( Sutton and Whelan 2004; Wallace 2001; Buxton 2000; Rettie and Brewer 2000).
With a new reliance on packaging design to persuade consumers at the shelf, it is important for packaging design to be studied academically as an influence on consumer behaviour.
Research in this area of consumer response to packaging design is being encouraged to assist with increased product sales and increased benefits to the integrated marketing communications (IMC) mix (Tobolski 1994). IMC refers to the channels (advertising, packaging, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing) used by companies/manufacturers to communicate product information to the target audience or intended users of the product ( BNET 2004).
Packaging is expected to protect and preserve its contents, differentiate from its competitors, grab the attention of the consumer, and persuade the consumer to purchase (Packaging: good shelf image 2003; Product packaging: empty promises 2000).
The vast consumer packaged goods industry continually relies upon colour as a method of differentiation. Research has shown colour (especially non-traditional colour) attracts the attention of the consumer.
This research investigates the use of surface graphics colour as a cue by consumers for finding out
1) Perceived product quality
2) Perceived product performance
3) Which colours influence consumer-decision making, on the consumer’s intent to purchase?
Colour in its basic nature refers to what the human eye sees when light passes through a prism and produces what is commonly referred to as violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red and is collectively referred to as the spectrum ( Cheskin 1954).
In actuality, when people characterised colour, it is perceived colour or reflected colour. Because colour memory changes some individuals perceive colours differently ( Sharpe 1974).
For example one person may see a pure red and another person may see that same red as having a hint of blue or yellow.
One marketing cue that global managers can use regardless of location is colour (Kirmani 1997; Schmitt and Pan 1994). Colour is one of the many marketing tools that global managers use to create, maintain, and modify brand images in customers’ minds (see Schmitt and Simonson 1997). The significance of colour to convey meaning is evident from the existence of the Lanham Act in the United States, which protects product colours as trademarks. However, research has not empirically addressed the extent to which colour can be managed to create and sustain brand images.
To what extent can global managers strategically use colour to communicate desired images and reinforce them to consumers?
Colours are known to possess emotional and psychological properties (Hevner 1935; Ward 1995). The meanings associated with different colours are important to marketers because the tools used to communicate brand image are mechanisms of meaning transfer (Schmitt and Simonson 1997).
Consumers also learn about colour associations, which leads them to prefer certain colours for certain product categories (Grossman and Wisenblit, 1999). Using colour as a cue on packaging can foster a potentially strong association, especially when it is unique to a particular brand. However, people in different cultures are exposed to different colour associations and develop colour preferences based on their own culture. Marketers therefore must consider colour as part of their strategies. Simply taking the colours of a particular logo, package, or product design from one market to another should only be done under a thorough understanding of how colours and the colour combinations are perceived in each location (Madden et al, 2000).
Individuals are often unaware of the tremendous influence colours have on then (Chenskin 1954).
Colour attracts attention mostly because they are more vibrant than black and white.
In regard to visual communication, there is power in the visibility of colour.
Colour attracts attention based on visibility(Cheskin 1954).
Colour seen from the greatest distance attracts the eye quicker. When testing for colour visibility ratings the colours are often presented on a gray background ( Cheskin 1954)
The maximum visibility and attraction power of a colour can be strengthened when it is used or placed with its compliment.
However, pure complementary colours vibrate making them difficult to view.
Mixing one colour with another even slightly changes the character of the first colour thus changing its power of visibility.
For example red mixed with a slight amount of blue will alter the visibility of the red.
Tests have demonstrated that colour has the power to increase the retention of an image in one’s memory ( Cheskin 1954). In the market place image retention is an important factor in developing brand identity.
The trademark of a business, product, or service serves the purpose of getting consumers accustomed to seeing the trademark image associated with the business, product or service.
The trademark with the greatest retention power is considered the best brand identity builder and has the potential to gain popularity over its competitors.
In the market place, especially in supermarkets, highly visible colours placed on packaging play an important role in catching the consumer’s eye. The purpose of colour in the marketplace is to catch the buyer’s eye.
If packaging does not catch the buyer’s attention there is little chance the product within the package will end up in the consumer’s home ( Cheskin 1954).
Research has revealed that certain colours spark specific brain activity and evoke emotions (Lukiesh 1925,Sharpe 1974)
A survey of current packaging designs suggests Lukiesh’s, Schaie and Heiss’ traditional colour associations appear to be evolving over time, but remain cited within academic research regarding colour associations.
For example, yellow green on food packaging was discouraged because yellow-green may be associated with spoiled or moulded food( Russel 1990) but based on yellow green is used on food packaging
Another example is the informal, societal yellow-coward association.
Yet, yellow has an alternate association of patriotic support (Sutton and Whelan 2004)
The majority of the colour associations for red, yellow and blue, remain the traditional citations although the colour associations appear to be evolving. Maybe after 40 years it is time to test the colour associations against today’s society.
For many consumers in low involvement, the package is the product, particularly because impressions formed during initial contact can have lasting impact. As the product attribute which most directly communicates to the target consumer (Nancarrow et al,, 1998), the design characteristics of the package and especially the colours need to stand out in a display of many other offerings.
Many consumers today shop under higher levels of stress, and tend to purchase fewer products than expected (Herrington and Capella, 1995). Products are usually chosen without prior planning, representing a form of impulse buying (Hausman, 2000). A package that attracts consumers at the point of sale will help them make a quick decision. As the customer’s eye continually looks at a range of packages, different new packages can be noticed against the competitors. When looking for a product in the supermarket, the differential perception of the colours present on the package may make the difference between identifying and missing an item (Herrington and Capella, 1995).
According to Rettie and Brewer ,the recall of package elements is likely to be influenced by their lateral position on the package, as well as by factors such as colour.
Colour selections and their application may assist consumers with their purchasing behaviour ( Van De Laar and Van Den Berg- Weitzel 2003).
For example, when a consumer needs to replace a routinely item, the consumer scans the supermarket shelves for the packaging colour then confirms the correct product choice by reading the brand name.
Consumers have developed a habit of using colour as a means of gathering information. Thus, colour must be considered as having an important role in marketing, advertising and academic research.
Consumer decision-making can be defined as a mental orientation characterizing a consumer’s approach to making choice (Lysonski et al, 1996). Four main packaging elements can affect consumer purchase decision and they can be separated into two categories: visual and informational elements. The visual elements consist of graphics and size/shape of packaging, and have more to do with the affective side of decision-making. Informational elements relate to information provided and technologies used in the package, and are more likely to address the visual side of decisions.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) can be defined as the products that are sold quickly at relatively low cost.
Most FMCG are low involvement products. In low involvement, "consumers do not search extensively for information about the brands, evaluate their characteristics, and make a weighty decision on which brand to buy" (Kotler et al, 1996, p. 225). One reason for this is because they are low risk and not very important (Chaudhuri, 2000; Mitchell, 1999). The lack of consumer’s evaluation is often because of the inability to distinguish much difference among leading brands (McWilliam, 1997). But, when consumers find a brand which meets their standards, they tend to stay "satisfied" with it, especially, if they are constantly reminded of the brand. But consumers are not very committed, and substitute easily when it is not available.
Clearly, consumer use of packaging elements is quite an important issue for low involvement products – generally, informational elements require more mental effort to process than do visual elements, which evoke more of an emotional response.
The importance of packaging design and the use of packaging as a vehicle for communication and branding is growing (Rettie and Brewer, 2000), as packaging takes on a role similar to other marketing communications elements. One reason for this is simply the fact that consumers may not think very deeply about brands at all before they go into the store to buy. One recent study estimated that 73 percent of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale ( Connolly and Davidson, 1996).
Consumer intention to purchase depends on the degree to which consumers expect that the product can satisfy their expectations about its use (Kupiec and Revell, 2001). But when they have not even thought about the product much before entering the store, this intention to purchase is determined by what is communicated at the point of purchase. The package becomes a critical factor in the consumer decision-making process because it communicates to consumers at the time they are actually deciding in the store. How they perceive the subjective entity of products, as presented through communication elements in the package, influences choice and is the key to success for many products marketing strategies.
To achieve the communication goals effectively and to optimize the potential of packaging, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers must understand consumer response to their packages, and integrate the perceptual processes of the consumer into design (Nancarrow et al. , 1998). In the design process, marketers and package designers must take account of consumers’ past experiences, needs and wants; understand how packaging design elements get consumers to notice the package and notice messages on the package; and, broadly, evaluate packaging design and labelling for their effectiveness in the communications effort.
Attribute levels must be chosen carefully to represent what would be realistic in the market, and should cover the entire range or representative levels ( Gil and Sanchez, 1997).
Even when consumers are somewhat more involved, and under less time pressure, the visual elements influence the likelihood of investigating further. Consumers are more likely to read the label to check that the product information is consistent with their needs if the package makes it seem that the product is worth investigating more carefully. They use explicit product information to assess healthiness, but also many other aspects of quality. In addition, the package needed to perform well; in particular, it is important that it be easy and convenient to use.
Considerations of attributes such as colour and graphics, shape, product information, and technology issues were relatively stable across different situations and consumers, and would therefore retain some importance among all consumers in most of their purchase decisions. Packaging size seemed to be strongly dependent on situation and consumer demographics, so it was controlled by holding it constant in the conjoint study.
Thus, the four main packaging attributes found to influence the consumer’s packaging brand choice were colour and graphic design (combined), shape, product information, and technology image (essentially, convenience). The layout of verbal and visual elements was also included to account for the impact of different positions of these two elements on the purchase decision.
Some researchers have determined colour is crucial in capturing the attributes of a product, and packaging colour is a dominant visual attribute that can be seen from a considerable distance by shoppers (Garber, Burke, and Jones 2000; Cheskin 1954)
Garber et al (2000) study indicates that a change in package colour can enhance brand consideration for consumers who are not loyal to a particular brand. Other researchers have determined that packaging redesigns that apply colour and graphics extremely different from old packaging designs so much that it pushed the product beyond the acceptable regions of the product category, have negative effects on the attitude toward the package and the intent to purchase .
For example, research indicates that a shiny label on a wine bottle indicates a less expensive product, and consumers will pay a higher price for gold foil wrapped in candy boxes (Tom, Barnett, Lew, and Selmanis 1987).
Colour is a commonly used cue to identify brands and shape perception of products.
Research supports consumers use colour to perceive weight as well as temperature ( Tom, Barnett, Lew, and Selmanis 1987).
Some researchers have determined colour is crucial in capturing the attributes of a product, and packaging colour is a dominant visual attribute that can be seen from a considerable distance by shoppers; Garber, Burke, and Jones 2000; Cheskin 1954)
Studies suggest that redesigned packaging colour that are moderately to very dissimilar to the original packaging colour are considered new and attract the consumers attention and increase the consideration for purchase ( Garber, Burke, and Jones 2000; Garber et al (2000). Study indicates that a change in package colour can enhance brand consideration for consumers who are not loyal to a particular brand.
Other researchers have determined that packaging redesigns that apply colour and graphic extremely different from old packaging designs so much that it pushed the products beyond the acceptable region s of the product category, have negative effects on the attitude toward the package and the intent to purchase
It is a common practice to use colour in advertising to influence emotional and consumer behaviour (Lee and Barnes 1989; Schindler 1986). Unfortunately, there is limited empirical research investigating colour in advertising (Lee and Barnes 1989).
Researchers discovered that attention to advertisements increased when advertisements were printed in colour rather than black and White (Guest 1966; Lee and Barnes 1989; Schlinder 1986)
By citing old studies, research has perpetuated the concept that colour preferences differ between men and women. Yet, more resent researches refutes colour preference differences in gender when speaking more from a physiological aspect and less from a social, environmental, and cultural aspect( Schlinder 1986)
For example, exposure to certain colours (e.g red) yield virtually identical responses (increased blood pressure, eye blink frequency, and respiratory rate) for men and women (Bellizi and Hite 1992)
In addition there may be colour preferences differences between ethnic groups based on the differences on colour usage in print advertisements appearing in magazines that target black audiences and white audiences (Lee and Barnes 1989)
It has been concluded that advertisers are not utilising colour to improve advertising response, and further research is needed regarding colour preferences according to race and gender( Lee and Barnes 1989).
Furthermore, there is a need to examine ethnic and cultural differences in colour preferences and colour associations (Madden, Hewett, and Roth 2000)
Colour ranks among the top three considerations, along with price and quality, in the purchase of an automobile. Colour is also an important component of many corporate and brand-building cues, such as logos, packages, and displays (Schmitt and Pan 1994). The effects of culture on the meaning associated with marketing cues (such as colour) are critical for international marketing managers. If the meaning associated with a colour or combination of colours is different across cultures, marketers may benefit from pursuing a customized strategy with respect to the colour associated with the brand, package, and so on. In contrast, when colour meanings are similar across markets, a standardized strategy is more viable. Although some studies have explored general colour preference (see Grieve 1991; Krishna 1972), few have dealt with differences in consumers’ perceptions of colours based on their cultures (Bellizi and Hite 1992; Jacobs et al. 1991).
Wagner, the creator of the Wagner Colour Research Institute, contends that colours are associated with certain images (Lane 1991). For example, blue is associated with wealth, trust, and security; gray is associated with strength, exclusivity, and success; and orange denotes cheapness. These associations may explain why banks are more likely to colour their logos and collateral using blue or gray rather than orange (Seitel 1993). Wagner put his theory into practice with Wienerschnitzel, a hot dog restaurant with 350 locations in the United States. Wagner advised Wienerschnitzel to add a little orange to the colour of its buildings to convey the message that the chain sold inexpensive hot dogs. After the change in colour, Wienerschnitzel reported a 7% increase in sales (Lane 1991).
Colour used in packaging can be equally important in determining a product’s desirability. James Mandle, a colour consultant, changed the colour of Ty-D-Bol’s toilet bowl cleanser bottle from light blue and green to stark white letters on a dark background. He believed that the original colours were "too wimpy" (Lane 1991, p. 146) and that the new, bolder colours would connote strength and cleanliness. In an 18month period following the change of colour, sales of Ty-D-Bol jumped 40% (Lane 1991).
Some studies (Philbrick 1976; Trueman 1979) have assessed the preference of colours across cultural borders. The results have demonstrated that people of different cultures have various preferences for colour. Cultural differences in colour meanings and associations have also been identified. Adams and Osgood (1973) surveyed high school students in 20 countries, asking them to rate seven colours on 12 semantic differential items. In the tradition of Osgood, Suci, and Tannenbaum (1957), Adams and Osgood report results for the dimensions of evaluation, potency, and activity as defined by the 12 items. Blue was the most highly evaluated colour, followed by green and white. The most potent colours were black and red. Red was the most active colour, whereas black and grey were the most passive colours. Jacobs and colleagues (1991) asked student subjects from four cultures (Japan, People’s Republic of China [PRC], South Korea, and United States) to state which one of eight colours was most closely associated with 13 words often used to describe consumer products. The results indicate some similarities and some dissimilarities across cultures. All four cultures associate blue with high quality and red with love. Purple is associated with expensive for subjects from Japan, PRC, and South Korea. In contrast, respondents from the United States associate purple with inexpensive. Black is consistently associated with expensive and powerful across cultures. Although reactions to colour are considered highly individualized, universal colour preferences are thought to exist. For example, blue is the colour most frequently chosen by adults (Grieve 1991). However, exceptions exist. Silver (1988) reports that African American subjects like colours in the red-purple-black range, whereas white subjects prefer blues and greens. Similarly, Wiegersma and Van der Elst (1988) conducted a cross-cultural study and report that blue is the colour chosen most often, except by respondents from Senegal and the Transkei, who prefer red and black. In India, Hindus consider orange the most sacred colour, whereas the Ndembo in Zambia do not even consider orange a separate colour (Tektronix 1998).
Prior research has assessed colour preferences and associations; however, few studies have assessed the meaning of colour or the preference for colour combinations. It is important for marketers to understand which colours are preferred by people. However, if marketing managers are going to use colour to create, maintain, or modify brand images in consumers’ minds, they must understand what meanings are associated with different colour combinations. Many times, brands and their packaging and collateral are specific combinations of colour. Colour combinations are considered culturally bound with certain ideologies and traditions .The combination of colours selected for products, logos, and so forth may convey meaning as a result of the specific colour pairings. For example, black on red signifies happiness to Chinese people, and therefore the colour combination is commonly used for wedding invitations. A combination of red over white represents celebration and signifies the life force to the Japanese. Red and white is a combination used for ritual decorations in Melanesia and for representing the Sacred Heart of the Catholic Church in Mexico (Tektronix 1998).
Drinks packaging throughout the UK and Europe is both dynamic and volatile. In 2000, there was a boost in drinks consumption as the new millennium was celebrated nationally. Thereafter, there was a downturn in consumption at the possibility of recession became increasingly likely.
In mid-summer 2003 the hotter than average weather appeared to have pushed aside the fears of the drinks packaging industry, with many in the industry reporting greatly improved first -half results
The UK soft drinks industry is high volume business with millions of units being sold each year.
However, owing to the units’ low profit margins, the challenge for the industry is to absorb compliance costs, while remaining competitive in an intensely price-focused market.
Carbonates continue to account for more than 50% of the soft drinks market with consumption increasing at an annual rate of around 5%.
Of this total, cola drinks command around 50 %, with consumption of around 5.3 billion litres annually. This market has seen a number of developments in packaging, most notably the sizing of the 33 cl contoured glassed bottle from Coca- Cola and the introduction of a black sculpted glass bottle for sale through the off-licence trade. There has been clear trend towards larger bottle sizes with increasing consumption of 2 and 3 litres bottles.
PET has gained sales from its traditional 1.5 litre bottles through greater usage of 0.5 litre, reseal able contoured bottles, offering strong competition to light metal packaging. Trade estimates suggest that around 63% of the market is represented by PET bottles, with a further 33% represented cans and just 4% sold in glass bottles.
In the UK, the largest market by volume is soft drinks, accounting for at least 10 billion litres per year and showing an average annual compound of 6% since 1994.
Carbonates account for the highest proportion of soft drink sales followed by dilatable, fruit juice, mineral water and fruit drinks. PET bottles and cans account for the highest proportion of litres filled.
Draught beer accounts for some 60% of the market, with cans and non-returnable glass accounting for the majority of packaged sales.
Premium beers have been a particularly dynamic area of growth in recent years, and have provided a great stimulus to the revival of glass containers.
Refillable PET, with 26% per annum compound growth since 1990, has been the fastest expanding packaging medium in recent years.
Non refillable PET has been the second highest growth product at 14 % compound per annum, with particularly strong performances in the UK and Southern Europe.
Laminated pouches and cartons have been the third- highest growth area.
The beverage can has enjoyed an average annual growth of 5% since 1990 and is the packaging medium which shows one of the highest levels of variance by country in Europe as a result of the widely-differing packaging cultures, incidence of take home sales and effect of environmental pressures.
The growth of cans is largely associated with the expansion in shop sales and the increasing emphasis on multi-packing.
Cans have undoubtedly the greatest opportunity of any packaging medium to increase market penetration in the beverage market, something that is highlighted by the fact that Europeans use only one third the quantity of the North Americans counterparts.
Non refillable glass has principally benefited from the growth of non-returnable and the economic advantages offered by light weighting in recent years.
Of the drinks packaging media, glass remains the premium package of choice in the spirits industry, and has witnessed a renaissance in demand trough the emergence of premium beers and lifestyle alcopops brands. The industry continues to benefit from significant advances in lightweighting, surface coating, shrinksleeving, pre-labelling and improved decoration techniques.
The beverage can has also been highly innovative in recent years with the first European produced embossed beverage can, manufactured by PLM and introduced by Grolsh for its premier pilsner product. There has also been the introduction of large pour openings, which are being increasingly adopted by beer filters.
The PET bottle market remains highly competitive, particularly in the commodity market of single trip performs and bottles.
The refillable market retains the growth potential, while barrier PET bottles for beer provide a major opportunity for growth.
Various initiatives in Europe, including the delivery of the first refillable bottles for mineral water in Germany and the further pasteurisable PET bottles for products such as fruit drinks have been adopted
Part of the reason for the growth in convenience packs lies in the high profile equipment placement and merchandising programmes of the larger UK soft drink companies. Improved Chilled availability has gone a long way to increase the sales of the convenience packs.
The diversity of outlets continues to remain a powerful contributor to the ongoing expansion of the soft drink market. It is estimated that soft-drinks are sold in over 400,000 outlets through the UK.
Up until 2008, the soft drinks industry had benefited along with other FMCG markets from consumers’ profligacy. Buoyed by rising house prices, easier access to credit and benign inflationary conditions, people were inclined to raise their spending and put much of this additional expenditure on credit.
In 2008, the soft drinks industry entered potentially its toughest operating environment in recent history. This unfolding landscape created risk, but also opportunity. Value for money will become increasingly important for the consumer across global markets. Crucially, companies will nedd to mitigate risk through astute segmentation and bold investment.
Developed markets continue to hold dominant share of value
Despite being the world’s two weakest performing regions in 2008, Western Europe and North Africa continued to account collectively for over half of total global market value.
This highlights one of the big strategic problems for multinational soft drinks players going forward. Specifically, while the second—and -third-thier emerging markets are showing some of the best growth curves, their value impact is still small relative to the developed markets.
Critically, the industry needs to continue investing in its high-value regions while at the same time strengthening positions in emerging -market hot spots.
This will pose a huge challenge during a period of adverse macroeconomic conditions.
Consumer taste for soft drinks is changing fast; demand is evolving towards healthier drinks and towards other added value benefits. In short, the modern consumer is becoming bored by traditional offerings and is forcing manufacturers to become more innovative.
The modern consumer is also much busier, and unlikely suffer much inconvenience on order to satisfy their desire for a drink. This means that drinks manufacturers are having to re evaluate their distribution networks and refine their understanding of the consumer, in order to ensure that their product is never far away when the consumer makes an impulse purchase
Armed with increased awareness about the role diet plays in their overall health, their performance in work and sports and the way they feel, a large proportion of consumers have become increasingly uneasy with many aspects of modern lifestyle and diet.
This translates into increased concern about managing their health by more closely controlling their diet and balancing the intake of different nutrients, ranging from vitamins and minerals to fat and sugar.
Consumer lifestyles are becoming more fluid and less predictable, with a wider range of distribution channels becoming available and with traditional consumption occasion structures being eroded.
Understanding consumers’ product choices is not enough, manufacturers also need to know when and where the consumers are likely to purchase and consume their products.
Johnson (1994 cited in White 2003, p21) defined research as “a focused and systematic enquiry that goes beyond generally available knowledge to acquire specialized and detailed information, providing a basis for analysis and elucidatory comment on the topic of enquiry”. Any type of researches, including both marketing and academic research, contains the basic characteristics of a research activity.
Cooper and Schindler (2006, p4) have argued that marketing research “is a systematic inquiry that provides information to guide marketing decisions”.
The research process is the route map of any type of research. Aaker et al (2004, pp 43-5) have argued that by and large any research activity or study contains seven steps, as follows:
(1) Agree on the research process. This means that the research purpose is established in advance. In terms of practical marketing research, the problems or opportunities facing the industry would have to be considered. Furthermore, all of the decision alternatives will need to be identified, too. With respect to an academic type of research such as a dissertation, the researcher would need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses when carrying out the fieldwork. They would need also to pay careful attention to the realities of society, which in some cases might inspire some good ideas at the implementation stage.
(2) Establish research objectives. At this stage, the marketing management problem is translated into research questions. The scope of the study should also be decided. In an academic type of research, the aims and objectives would now be listed.
(3) Estimate the value of information. This stage involves the researcher in reviewing the value and cost of the information which will be collected. If the benefits are more than the costs, the research process should be continued. On the other hand, if the costs outweigh the benefits then the research should be stopped. A decision tree is a useful tool for researchers to judge the issue being investigated at the time. In an academic research, the researcher would have to ensure that their study can add new knowledge or value to the current state of knowledge. If the study is of sufficient value to carry out a business plan, this would help to contribute to both the academic debate as well as the real world.
(4) Design the research. When the research objective has been decided, the researcher then needs to design the study. The research approaches will need at this stage to be compared and a method selected. Data collection method(s) as well as the sampling technique to be utilised will need to be debated.
(5) Collect the data. No matter whether the study is primary or secondary based, the researcher will need to be familiar with their resources and collection methods. For this study, it starts from the secondary data and continues with the primary data.
(6) Prepare and analyse the data. After the data is collected, researchers should judge the relevance of the data. Then they should consider how to analyze and interpret them. Finally researchers need to consider how to make recommendations with them.
(7) Report the research results and provide strategic recommendations.
To reach the aims of the study, the researcher used descriptive methods of thesis.
According to Creswell (1994), the goal of the descriptive method of dissertation is to gather information or data regarding the present existing situation or phenomenon. Descriptive dissertation has as its purpose developing a better understanding of a phenomenon in detail. Descriptive studies usually have as their purpose the first two aims of normal science as described by Kuhn (1970, pp. 25-26): “attempts to increase the accuracy and scope with which facts are known” or “determination of those facts that can be compared directly with the predictions from theory”. The goal of the descriptive dissertation is thus designed to describe the situation in the present
The table shows some of the benefits, the characteristics of the primary data and drawbacks of different types of primary research methods.
Qualitative or Quantitative?
Characteristics, Benefits and Drawbacks
Ÿ No human contact
Ÿ High telephone cost
Ÿ Quick and uninformed method
Ÿ Comfortable way of communication
Ÿ Can obtain wider responses
Ÿ Time and money consuming
Ÿ Intelligent way to ask and discuss about sensitive information that cannot be transferred by writing
Ÿ Time consuming
Ÿ Interesting and relevant information can be collected
Ÿ A group discussion with around 8-12 people
Ÿ Time consuming
Ÿ Very useful in obtaining sensitive data
Ÿ Requires concentration and in-depth analysis
Ÿ Rich data of real life experience
Ÿ Not done in real time
Methods used in this paper are qualitative. A focus group and a questionnaire have been used.
Primary research represents the collection of data about a specific subject directly from the real world. The researcher used two types of data: the primary data which was directly derived from the answers that were given by the persons participating in the focus group and the data collected from the interview helped in the support of the study. In addition to the above, secondary data were found mainly in published journals and books related to the thesis topic.
In this study two qualitative researches have been used:
Qualitative research explores attitudes, behaviour and experiences through such methods in the form of interviews or focus groups. It attempts to get in-depth opinion from participants. As it is attitudes, behaviour and experiences which are important, fewer people take part in the research, but the contact with these people tends to last a lot longer.
(Catherine Dawson, pg. 14-15, 2002)
In this study, the qualitative data used provides detailed descriptions of the entire topic which is the health incentives which allowed the researcher to gain better understanding of the objective of the study (Creswell, 1994). It can be said that the academic journals can also be considered as Qualitative data since it helped the researcher to build his study to explain the impact of packaging’s colour on consumer behaviour in the soft drinks industry.
The researcher has also been able to collect data from relevant research as secondary data and incorporate it in the study in order to achieve the aim of this dissertation.
In marketing, focus groups are seen as a crucial tool for acquiring feedback regarding new products, as well as various topics. Focus groups allow companies wishing to develop, package, name, or test market a new product, to discuss, view, and/or test the new product before it is given to the public. This can provide very good and successful information about the potential market acceptance of the product.
In this study, we aimed to mainly get the participants who are responsible for soft drinks shopping.
The participants are mainly LSC students.
These participants were selected randomly and they all represented a different country.
3) The composition of the thesis
The focus group aimed at understanding the role of packaging as well as the role of packaging’s colour to the audience.
The questionnaire on the other hand was aimed at understanding which colours affect us the most. It was also a chance to prove that colour’s likings differ within cultures.
The focus group was made in simple and quick. The questionnaire was created using the Likert method with a five-point response scale.
Likert Scale is a rating scale that requires the participant to give a mark between 1 and 5 to rate his/her agreement or disagreement with their liking
In this questionnaire, the employees were given 10 options:
The questionnaire was split in two parts: the first part was mainly to rate each colour whereas the second part concentrated on knowing which colour go best together in packaging.
The questionnaires were given to the students of LSC and they have been selected according to their nationality so as to get closer to the goal of proving that the likings of colours differ between countries
However exciting and interesting was the time doing the research, the researcher has encountered some restrictions to gather the relevant data related to the survey.
For instance, it has been very difficult to successfully find primary data in this limited period of time and also it was quite challenging to convince students to spare some time from their tasks in order to fill in the research questionnaire.
Another problem faced was to convince the employees that the research was important to gather s. It was really challenging to manage some of them in order get honest answers for the research.
The focus group were a lot more straight forward, however yet again in some instances, getting people to agree on sparing some time was a little bit difficult.
Generally, qualitative methods are best suited to developing deeper understanding, so our discussion is based on focus groups interviews which examined these issues in-depth with typical consumers. The focus groups sessions had two main objectives. They are:
(1) To examine the consumer experience with purchasing packaged soft drinks products; and
(2) To understand consumer views on how colour packaging plays a role in their purchase decisions.
The focus groups were conducted in London, United Kingdom and thus, the views represent consumers in an important high-income country market where the soft drinks industry is quite strong, and conditions are very competitive.
Focus groups were used for this study in order to gain in-depth insights into consumer shopping behaviours for packaged soft drinks products. Qualitative approaches allow the researcher to gain a better initial understanding of issues. Focus group interviews are a very good process for gathering hypotheses and interpreting consumer thinking. Focus group methodologies help at gaining in-depth knowledge about certain topic areas.
Two focus groups of six housewives and six students were conducted.
Focus groups may not be fully representative of target populations, but it was important to ensure that the results could illustrate possible variation and provide some level of generalisation. We have selected two groups for this study. One group concentrated on 30-42 year old housewives with children, and one on 16-25 year old student. The study aimed to get the participants who are responsible for soft drinks shopping. In most countries, women are still have the responsibility for household shopping and are the main decision makers for frequently purchased packaged soft drinks products. Furthermore, students are considered as the largest group of soft drinks buyers in the world, and in the UK.
The discussions were guided by a moderator whose role was to develop the exploration of the topics. In the interviews, it was our responsibility to get people to feel comfortable with expressing honest and open answers.. The interviews were recorded and the questions were guided by a list of topics which acted as the framework for discussion.
Both sets of participants identified packaging elements as the main factors in their assessment and decisions on soft drinks purchases. The packaging elements identified most often were graphics and colour, shape and size, and product information. These were seen as very important by most participants. We now examine these elements and the impact of involvement level and time pressure in more detail.
Participants defined involvement level based on perceptions of product importance. Usually, the most familiar product would potentially be bought by many consumers. The focus groups also noted that a product from a well-known company would be more reliable.
Ø “I buy from big names especially for soft drinks, because I have found them reliable.”
Ø “The brand usually seen in advert will be bought as I am familiar with it.”
Ø “When there is choice, I rely on the most familiar brand or something from a big company.”
Participants also believed that product quality comes with product appearance. Quality judgments are largely influenced by product characteristics present in the packaging. If the package represents high quality, consumers assume that the product is of high quality. Participants said:
Ø “I choose a soft drink by considering the appearance of the package reflecting premium quality.”
Ø “Good looking package design influences my decision as it reflects a good quality product.”
Ø “When you see that some soft drinks packages are made of high quality material with nice design you think that the product would be premium also.”
Ø “Even if it is hard to pick a quality product, I believe that a nicely designed package helps me in being more confident about the product.”
Time pressure frequently affects shopping decisions. Participants agreed that when shopping under stressful conditions, they spent less time buying a product. They described shopping under time pressure as making quick decisions without proper evaluation. This has made them purchase fewer products than intended and led to unplanned purchases. They also made most decisions quickly at the point of sale:
Ø “I was in a hurry and needed to pick something quickly while I was shopping with my children.”
Ø “When I’m in a hurry, it happens that I always buy something I didn’t want to.
Ø Whenever I am in rush, it is hard for me to decide. Most of the time, I made mistakes of confusion with those colourful products on the shelf.
This indicates that colours play a big role in decisions under time pressure, which reduces the ability to evaluate carefully. Consumers nowadays report such patterns. Often they suggest that colour make information more visual and easier to process quickly. The survey indicate that younger consumers feel even more time pressure and men are even more in a hurry than women shoppers .
Participants clearly felt that packaging helps in getting a positive shopping experience. Colour communicate about the product for both low and higher involvement products, and was among the most noticeable factors. Poor colours can lose the sale for many consumers, while attractive colours gains it for many:
Ø A colourful pack always catches my attention first. I recently put off the low fat soft drink by the pale colour package.
Ø I found the pale packaging boring and dull. If the pack is dull, the taste could be guessed as boring.
Ø I usually go for the colourful package when I am looking for kids’ products.
Ø On my first purchase and without a favourite brand, I made my decision on juices by the design of the label.
Some participants underlines that the appearance was crucial. Therefore, they intended to buy products with the distinctive package design based on their colours. Distinctive colours become part of the brand identifier, and consumers use the colours to cut through shelf clutter to find their brands:
Ø 7When I am looking for a juice, the colour of the package helps me to find the product quicker . . . When I remembered that the colour of my kid’s favourite juice was green, I kept looking for the green pack on the shelf.
Many consumers commented that similar colour layout by other brands can confuse them in identifying their brands. Most participants had lived the experience of the mistake of purchasing a product look-alike when they were in hurry. For example:
Ø Same colours on the package made me confused every time I was in a rush
Ø I was disappointed on buying wrong products because of those similar packages.
Thus, visual elements influence choice of the soft drink. When consumers think about more careful evaluation of alternatives, the colours frequently represent the product to them:
Ø I usually use the colours on the pack to compare and differentiate among the brands
Participants usually tended to first notice many products by the package colour, which often reminded them about familiar known brands. When looking for a particular product on the shelf, packages with the colour would attract their attention better than others.
Ø When I was in rush, nice pictures and bright colour on the pack make it look to be more noticeable than others
Ø Under limited time, a beautiful package was usually chosen when I could not see my usually bought one.
In general, the focus group helped us in proving that the visual elements of the package influence choice of the product to a great extent, and colour are frequently the major influence.
Clearly, packaging is an important marketing tool for soft drinks products. Consumer evaluation of packaging elements change and marketers need to understand the importance of the various attributes to best communicate through the package. Time pressure changes how consumers scann products at the point of sale, partly by reducing ability to give attention to informational elements. The lesson to take into consideration is that marketers must communicate effectively through the package.
Students Respondents from six countries evaluated ten colours. Each respondent first rated the colours on scales designed to capture the meanings associated with colour. Next, they rated each of the ten colours with respect to how much they liked each one.
The sample consisted of undergraduate students from countries in East Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. The countries studied and the sample size for each were Uzbekistan, Colombia, Senegal, Morocco, India and Pakistan . Countries were selected to represent various regions of the world and thus cultural environments.
The colours selected were based on the colours most often cited in previous colour research and included black, blue, brown, gold, green, orange, purple, red, white, and yellow. Respondents rated each colour on a scale of 1 to 10 according to which one they liked the most.
The second section of the questionnaire was to know, which colours work well with each other, which combinations blend and which stand out in terms of soft drinks packaging.
There were no statistically significant differences with respect to the liking of black, green, red, and white across countries. Preferences for blue, brown, gold, orange, purple, and yellow soft drinks packaging were statistically significant across cultures. Overall, blue was the most liked colour. Blue was rated as the most liked colour in four of the six countries and as the second most liked colour in the other two countries. This finding replicates the "blue phenomenon" found in previous research ( Simon 1971). Respondents in India and Colombia rated white as their most liked colour. Respondents from Senegal rated black as their most liked colour in soft drinks packaging, and blue was a close second.
To determine the meanings consumers associate with the ten colours, respondents rated each colour.
A consistent pattern of colour clusters emerged for each country. The most striking patterns are the clustering of blue, green, and white and of black and brown. Both of these clusters are evident in all six countries and imply that, within each country, consumers associate each colour in the cluster with similar meanings; however, the meanings may vary by culture.
Gold, orange, and yellow also tend to cluster close to one another and usually near the origin of the maps. Purple is close to gold, orange, and yellow in some countries and close to black and brown in others. Red is the one colour that tended not to cluster with any of the other colours.
Blue, green, and white cluster together in all six countries which indicates that they share similar meaning associations. In all countries, blue, green, and white are strongly associated with "peaceful," "gentle," and "calming." In some countries, consumers also associated "beautiful" (Morocco and Senegal) and "pleasant" (Pakistan) with blue, green, and white. Although these three colours share meaning cross-culturally, they also convey unique meanings in different countries.
Black and Brown: The colours black and brown tend to cluster together on the perceptual maps and appear separate from the other colours, typically off to one end of the map and often in a totally separate quadrant from the other colours. Black and brown tend to have strongly held associations of "sad" and "stale" across cultures. Additional meaning associations of "formal" ( Colombia) and "masculine" (Uzbekistan) were evident in some countries, indicating again both universal and unique meanings for black and brown across cultures.
Gold, Orange, and Yellow: In general, there appears to be less consistency among the proximity of these colours to one another compared with the previous two clusters. One explanation for the loose fit of these three colours is that they are not perceived to be as similar as some of the other colours in terms of meaning associations. Another potential explanation is that they do not possess strong associations with any of the colour meanings and therefore locate close to the origin and close to one another.
Purple. For the two Asian countries (Pakistan and India), purple tends to cluster close to brown. In each of these countries, purple is as similar to brown as brown is to black.
Red: The colour red tended to stand alone–that is, it did not cluster with other colours. Thus, across all countries, red is perceived as unique in terms of its meaning. Yet red was consistently associated with "active," "hot," and "vibrant" across all countries. Red was also strongly associated with "emotional" and "sharp" in most countries. Red conveyed additional meaning ("pleasant") in the Asian countries.
Thus far, we have assessed which colours are most liked by members of different cultures and the meanings that are associated with various colours. We now turn to the selection of colours for soft drinks packaging, which investigates preference for colour combinations. When asked to match colours for a soft drink, do consumers pick colours with consistent or complementary meanings? That is, using the concepts outlined by Park, Jun, and Shocker (1996), are colours selected that are consistent (both are associated with similar meanings, such as "calm" and "peaceful") or complementary (each colour is strongly associated with a different meaning, such as one colour with "calm" and the other with "active")? Answers to these questions have implications as to how international managers can strategically select and mix colours to create desired associations about their products. we report the colours) selected by respondents from each country to accompany green, red, or blue for a package.
Only colours selected by more than 20% of the respondents within each country are shown. The only colour showing any cross-cultural consistency when paired with green is yellow (as occurred in Uzbekistan). Respondents from Colombia chose blue to be paired with green, whereas subjects from India chose white. The only consumers mentioning red to be paired with green were from Pakistan. Respondents from Uzbekistan chose yellow and white. Respondents from Morocco and Senegal did not consistently (greater than 20%) pick any colour to be paired with green. Blue and white are perceived to be more similar in meaning to green than yellow or red. Therefore, in general, respondents tend to pair green with a colour dissimilar in meaning.
Colours selected to be paired with red varied considerably. Respondents from Morocco and Senegal paired black with red. White was selected by respondents from Colombia, Uzbekistan. Yellow was selected to be paired with red by respondents from Pakistan and India. In contrast, there was a lot of similarity in the selection of a colour to be paired with blue across cultures. When blue was the designated packaging colour, subjects chose primarily white and in some cases yellow.
Our goal was to begin exploring how colour and colour combinations can be understood and applied to packaging image strategies. We explored the extent to which consumers in different countries like various colours, the meanings they associate with colours, and how they would match colours for a package.
We found that the colours blue, green, and white are all well liked across countries and share similar meanings. In contrast, black and red also received high liking ratings, yet in many cases their meanings are considerably different. Adams and Osgood (1973) report that East Asian groups tend to make the greatest distinctions among colours in terms of their affective meaning, whereas Latin American and U.S. groups make only average amounts of colour distinctions. Our results indicate that in many parts of the world, consumers exhibit similarities in colour liking and colour meaning associations. Many intrinsic properties of colours (liking, meaning associations) thus appear to be pan cultural. How colours are combined for packages, however, indicates that cultural similarities and differences exist in the ways consumers select colour combinations.
Underlying these colour selection decisions is the notion that different combinations of colours may be capable of evoking different consumer reactions. In this study, we found that respondents from different countries have different tendencies with regard to matching colours in a package. More specifically, some groups tend to match or select only colours they like equally .Alternatively, other groups of respondents seemed to match colours that share the same meanings, and others paired colours whose associations were complementary.
The results of this study indicate that simply taking the colours of a particular package, or product design from one market to other markets should not be done without a thorough understanding of how colours and colour combinations are perceived in each location. Global marketing managers must recognize how their company and product colours are perceived across national markets. What meanings do they convey? Managers must acknowledge that the meanings associated with some colours may be pan cultural, regional, or unique to a given culture. As colours are combined in logos, packaging, and other marks, the search for similarities and differences in colour preferences and meanings becomes more complex.
Global managers need to recognize that the different meanings associated with specific colours may facilitate multisegment marketing opportunities. McCracken (1988) argues that the products and brands people purchase may well be chosen as an enhancement of their self-image. The results from the colour pairing exercise indicate that in some cases colours were selected to be consistent, whereas in others the colours were selected to be complementary. It is possible that the colour of the brand consumers purchase may be consistent or complementary with their desired self-images. For these reasons, global marketing managers should incorporate issues of colour effects on brand perceptions and choice into new product development and brand management processes. Global marketing research activities may be used to assess how packaging colour affects brand associations. For example, do the colours associated with the brands evoke similar usage and user associations across cultures?
Our findings indicate that consumers under time pressure and stress usually make their decision when the package comes with a nice appearance and contains simple, accurate information. A unique package colour can raise a consumer curiosity more quickly and lead to a purchase decision
It is becoming more and more important for products to capture attention, communicate effectively and in an appealing way in soft drinks retail outlets given the high competitive market environment and the observation that more consumers are deferring decisions about what to buy until they are in store. In order to optimise the probability of soft drinks packaging achieving this, we have argued that the pack designer and marketer need to understand the behaviours and norms of the consumer, the limitations of the senses and the culture.
When being confronted with too much choice of packaging options for new or current products, packaging professionals need to look at the package through the consumer’s eyes.
Certain colours evoke certain emotions and send out meanings. When used correctly, the colour scheme could noticeably boost a product’s sales .If ever a colour scheme is used incorrectly, the product could end up failing and not being sold.
We also found out that colours do not possess the same meanings in all cultures. By performing some type of basic research on the preliminary design, packaging professionals will be able to have a better idea of what will and will not work for certain people.
Finally, with competition among brands so close, packaging professionals need something to differentiate them over the competition.
By following these simple guidelines, package colour can be that edge.
At the end of the design process, we will have a package that will stand out, rise above the competition, and keep the consumer faithful to the brand.
ith Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledging his support for the Daily Mail’s newspaper crusade against the humble plastic bag and Marks & Spencer to start charging customers 5p a bag, ethical and environmental initiatives are once again at the forefront of national debate.
Nearly 80% of the British public are taking steps to become more responsible consumers, driven by environmental and ethical concerns. As headlines over global warming, cheap labour and carbon footprints dominate the press, 77% say they are beginning to change their own behaviour to help safeguard the planet, according to research from brand consultancy Added Value, conducted by Lightspeed Research and Invoke.
While consumers may be changing their own behaviour, it transpires that many expect brands to be committed to social and environmental change as well. Some 80% of British consumers say it is important that the brands they buy are committed to acting in a way that can be considered socially aware or environmentally responsible.
British consumers believe brands can act more responsibly in a number of ways: committing to biodegradable or recycled packaging comes out top, with 78% saying this was important in terms of the brands they buy. "Brands should ensure their packaging is minimal and recyclable," one respondent says.
Marketers overwhelmed with how to begin tackling climate change could start by placing the 3 Rs – "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle" – onto their marketing agenda. Packaged brands are largely responsible for the 30 million tonnes of household waste a year. In the long-term, marketers may have to reconsider how to brand products without using wasteful packaging.
It will be interesting as a continuity of this research to assess the real impact that colours can have in different cultures. Marketers have already understood this; Colours convey a very strong message nowadays that simply cannot be denied.
Furthermore, it would be interesting to find the link between Packaging and recycling as the latest emerges as the most powerful drivers behind purchasing decisions in 2009 as British consumers look for a brand’s commitment in reducing CO2 emissions.
Another possible factor of research is that the real thing that is indicative of the new millennium is not about the aesthetics of the package but the technology used to create it and the technology that is being used to market it. In fact, if there is any sure idea when it comes to packaging for the 21 st century, it’s that design and marketing can no longer be thought of as separate entities. Style itself has become a matter of opinion and as often is the case, it runs in every direction. But how one takes that direction and focuses it into a product’s design depend on where packaging in the 21st century is heading.
1) What do you think are the main factors to take into account when purchasing a soft drink?
2) What type of soft drinks brand do you usually purchase?
3) How do you know if a product is of good quality?
4) When under pressure of time, how do you choose your soft drink?
5) Do colours play a role into this choice?
6) How do you make the difference between two soft drinks with the same colour?
q full time student
q part time student
q Below 25
Which continent are you from.
Please specify you country of origin:
Rate these colours on a scale of 1 to 10:
How do you match these colours?
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