The center of attention

It’s human nature to notice anything that’s different or unexpected in our world, and designers can use this to a brand’s advantage by creating a visual distraction that contrasts the surroundings on the shelf in a noticeable way. More specifically, the sentic triggers of calm and agitation can be used to update struggling brands.

Elmwood used this principle when reviving the classic butter brand Anchor.

The brand was under pressure in a low interest category, with sales volumes declining and 80 percent sold on deal. Elmwood rebranded Anchor’s packaging so it contrasted the busy and agitated shelf with a simple, calm and iconic pack. The warm colors and striking brand mark created a contemporary classic feel that stood out from other butter brands. The design’s warmth and nostalgic look made consumers feel as if they’d always known the brand, and this instant emotional engagement led to Anchor outselling its nearest competitor for the first time in six years. In the first 12 weeks following launch, sales volume was up 39 percent against a market declining at 2.7 percent, and sales value increased by 36 percent against a market of 7 percent.

Similarly, in the case of Buster’s Kitchen Drain Clear, Buster was a tiny player in a plughole market where big brands like Mr. Muscle dominated. To help the brand stand out in a category typified by power graphics, whiz-bang images and vibrant bursts of color, Elmwood used the sentic triggers of both calm and agitation. The simple design brought a sense of calm to the agitated fixture. Because consumers with a blocked drain are making a distress purchase, the design presented a quickly identifiable solution to the problem.

Next, the design team created an explosive surge image to spark a response that the product is powerful, quick-acting stuff. The image subconsciously prepares the viewer for something exciting and remarkable. After Buster’s redesign, sales and profit increased by over 80 percent — a great example of how visual triggers on the pack can make real changes in consumer thinking and buying behavior.

A deeper understanding of how consumers’ minds work gives crucial insight on how we can impact shopping behavior, and sentic triggers are powerful and interesting tools for designers to use. In these busy times, getting a message to cut through and resonate with consumers is more crucial than ever for commercial success.