Voom Brand has been recently launched by Future Consumer Limited in fabric care detergent category including catering to machine-wash segment. This premium powder category is estimated to be about 12% of the market and rapidly growing with evolving consumer lifestyle, habits and usage pattern. With this new launch, Future Consumer (FCL) intends to address this segment with a strong shelf presence, strategic placement and pricing offering best value for money experience in premium detergent powder category.
However, the project presented a real challenge. The packaging had to address the proposition as a silent sales man through differentiation, sustainable and above all being unique. “We were looking for a packaging that can have emotional connect with the target consumers instinctively through iconic, affordable, self-stackable packaging for better display at stores,” says Maneesh Sharma, head, packaging development at FCL.
In order to have clear cut differentiation in the modern trade where top global brands are competitors, packaging’s role was to create sales opportunity and higher brand recall value along with premium but affordable cues built in.
After multiple options and iterations both FCL and TCPL came together accepting this challenge to make a difference in the consumer landscape for premium detergent powder category.
The thought process
According to Sharma, the products that FCL planned to launch in the market were for premium detergent used for top-load and front-load washing machines and had to stand out, be relatable and offer best cost and quality proposition.
“For that very reason, we benchmarked packaging of local and global competitor brands to understand category codes, cost structure and how to add value filling the unmet need to create something iconic,” says Sharma.
The brief was clear – the consumers should be able to relate to this offering instinctively that it is for washing machine. “From there the idea of a box which could be shaped like semi-automatic washing machine came,” Sharma says.
From TCPL’s point of view, the innovation had to be two-fold. One, creating a strong shelf appeal. And two, make the box stackable with a design which can be scalable and affordable as well.
Design and development
TCPL’s concept development team in Mumbai swung into action. The concept development design division is equipped with its own proofing centre – armed with a sample maker, a digital printer and hot foiling system all-in-one shop from virtual to physical manifestation of samples.
TCPL presented various packaging options resembling a washing machine as well. After multiple iterations on fast track basis practical aspects were worked out jointly like in-store visibility with stackable feature, fitment to the shelf, and aspect ratio.
According to Sharma, the symbolic idea of semi-automatic washing machine shape could work because such machines are more widely available across as compared to the automatic ones.
TCPL did a wonderful job in providing FCL with options it was looking for. Akshay Kanoria, executive director at TCPL, says, “We created a locking mechanism by creating a niche at the bottom that helps to stack them. We tested this with a two kg sturdy box wherein we stacked multiple such boxes with product as well as a pressure test to simulate in store stacking stability which passed wonderfully due to robust design and strength features built in. ”
Sharma adds, “Once the carton was finalised, we used inputs from our marketing team who designed the buttons and iconography to make it look like a semi-automatic washing machine. The vertical locking pattern helped to utilize the floor space as well as standalone shelf ready pack making a powerful shelf presence at multiple touch points while shopping.”
Product and packaging formula
FCL was launching a new product in the market against some formidable competition. There was also the challenge of being different from mass scale powder, termed as bucket wash, which has a different lower price point and generally available in pouches.
FCL decided to adhere to a three-fold formula to make the product successful.
Sharma says, “We had to give a winning consumer proposition on product, packaging and brand which offered superiority over key competition along with powerful at store level communication beside digital and conventional media. The launch was celebrated very well across Future retail outlets with strong buying in from front-end team to commit and sell more of this brand.”
Hence, a comprehensive approach towards unique packaging with iconic shape, branding, convenience and visibility along with affordability cues came together and along with TCPL we managed to pull them off well maintaining category code of carton based packaging for this segment,” says Sharma.
Testing and Trials
For any new packaging, FCL does a virtual audit to start with to identify and address possible road blocks by identifying critical areas and ensure its resolution right from inception of concept to dummy to trials ,its operationalisation, simulation of in shop scenario and shopper behaviors to be first time right. According to Sharma, the formation of the box, stacking ability and stability were identified as critical.
Kanoria said, “We used our sample making facility to supply FCL with prototypes that could be used for testing and trials. We went through several iterations before arriving at the final design. For material, we suggested going with three-ply E-fluted board to provide the necessary sturdiness.”
One of the requirements was speed of box formability with high speed packing operation due to bigger batch size. “Hence we made it easy for the people at the operational level to achieve both speed and efficiency and also ensure strong outer specification to ensure shape retention till the shelf,” says Sharma. “TCPL and FCL teams worked seamlessly to achieve this”.
The FCL team is particularly happy with the result. “We have been able to achieve it across both large and small format stores and had our store managers taking ownership and getting confidence to make this brand a grand success.”
Sharma concludes, “We launched around pre-monsoon and we have seen a very good response so far and are looking forward to work together on more projects through seamless partnership with prestigious and committed vendor partners like TCPL to serve our consumers and raise the benchmark through innovative offerings.”n