Exploring The Unarticulated Needs Of Customers & Consumers


\ Challenge

Corrugate cardboard… How do we sell more? And, how do we increase margins? Not an easy question to answer in the pre e-commerce era, before shipping boxes filled our recycling containers.

Georgia Pacific was looking to sell higher value corrugate. They had developed a new capability in their Color Box™ plant, with the potential to move beyond “boring cardboard” to create visually engaging corrugate boxes for on-shelf organization and promotion. The problem was that brand managers at consumer goods companies HATED corrugate on the shelf. They believed it cheapened the look of their products and, as such, wouldn’t even discuss the possibility with GP.

We were tasked with defining value propositions that would get brand managers to buy-in.

\ Our Approach

We began by exploring the three elements of opportunity — potential value propositions GP could deliver, broader market conditions, and the needs of brand managers, retailers and consumers.

The greatest breakthrough came when talking to brand managers about their needs…and corrugate was never even discussed. They were struggling to tell new brand stories for small products (e.g., cosmetics and baby food) and were frustrated with shelf presentation for these items (often very messy).

Consumer insight was even more surprising. They admitted to avoiding unkempt shelves in these areas. But, organized shelves were also problematic, as they didn’t want to touch items for fear of causing an avalanche.

Based on the insight gathered, we created a series of stimuli for consumers to respond to, including real, shoppable retail shelves stocked with and without GPs Color Box™ solutions. As consumers “shopped” (and talked) we assessed attitudes, search behavior, brand impressions and even timed their ability to find products on shelf.


The results were impressive — illustrating that Color Box™ solved for several pinch points, from ease of stocking and shopping to brand exposure. This was more than just cardboard!!

So, we re-branded the offering, moving away from language that evoked the status quo, “Shelf Ready Packaging”, to the more apt “Brand Ready Packaging”.

We leveraged video footage from the consumer sessions to build a compelling sales tool — one that clearly illustrated the impact of Brand Ready Packaging. And, it worked... directly witnessing consumers’ positive response won brand managers over! GP’s first customer was Angel Soft, who had previously been resistant due to brand concerns.

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