TBP’s 20th anniversary: the design research diaries 1993-2013 (Entry 12)


Today we bring you entry 12 in our anniversary countdown, and discuss a case study on achieving standout

It’s only 5 days until our big 20th anniversary. Each day we have been sharing from the TBP vaults our insights and musings on design and design research. Here’s number twelve –

Entry 12 of 15: Achieving standout: lost at sea

lost at sea

We’re testing the packaging for a new product for a popular laundry brand. It’s crucial for the client that this new product stands out on shelf: grabbing shoppers’ attentions and making them inquisitive about it. The pack adopts the brand’s distinctive colour, and sits within the brand’s extensive coloured brand block.

Our first consumer walks in and is presented with our mocked up shelf set.

“What would you buy today?”

Predictably enough, they pick up their ‘regular’ – i.e. not our new product – without thinking twice.

“Do you see anything new or different today?” (We’re prompting here. We know this wouldn’t happen in reality, but at least we’ll have some understanding of how much it’s standing out.)

And here’s the moment – our consumer takes one look at our brand’s colour block, and walks to the other end of the shelf.

Because in a world where there’s too much choice, consumers have to filter out a lot to make their selection. And by absorbing itself within the brand’s colour block, our new product just becomes lost in that sea of colour.


So what do you do? Abandon the well-established brand block? Not quite. There’s got to be enough of the brand equity on pack to help support the brand block, but equally there’s a need to be distinct within it. There’s a balance to be struck.

We did this for Nature Valley with their new product, Sweet & Nutty. They’ve a well-established green block, but their new product needed to stand out independently – as it was beyond a mere line extension. We helped them establish and finetune a balance of the brand’s equities with a strong, independent personality for the new product – which helped it stand out on shelf.

By Stuart Chapman