Taking the Wraps off Product Packaging

Today’s selection is…

A selection of creative packaging with some very good and very innovative ideas. I have found out that just before going on vacation, rather than write yet another piece about the future of marketing or innovation, we would take some time off as and start browsing the Web a bit in search for ideas. That’s how I came across this photo mag list of “30 of the most creative and innovative product design you have ever seen“. Here are some other musings taken from my reading of that very good list of creative ideas:

  • innovation is not only in the product:  one can have a very trivial product like butter (photo) for instance and using innovative packaging change the customer experience; in essence, the same recipe could be applied to high-tech as well. You can very well take an ordinary online service and turn it into a superior customer experience through the way that it is packaged. Let’s take an example with the now defunct Posterous service, unfortunately bought and killed by Twitter. These guys were offering superior user experience through their innovative way of opening an account: with Posterous, you didn’t need to open an account at all. All you needed to do was to type a new URL (or send an email to a Posterous email address), and that would generate your account by default. You were then led to linking that account to an existing social media account and hey presto! you had bypassed the signup process entirely,

Taking the Wraps off Product Packaging

  • Some of these ideas are very innovative but also very unpractical: One of the lessons I derived from the reading of that piece, is that sometimes innovation can defeat is its own object. If we take this salami CD thing, I’m probably very thick but I still haven’t figured out whether it was a CD with a salami shape, or a piece of salami shaped like a CD. Okay, I must be lacking a sense of humour completely,

Taking the Wraps off Product Packaging

  • In some cases (Kleenex boxes) they have even managed to turn the product into a whole experience which makes you feel like collecting even the most trivial products like tissues. If you collect all the boxes then you will be able to rebuild the entire fruit. I found that extremely inventive and clever.

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Here are some of my musings, I’m sure they are thousands of new ideas you can pick up from those beautiful and innovative photos. Enjoy!

30 of The Most Creative And Innovative Product Design You Have Ever Seen

When it comes to product design the packaging of the product play a very important role. A beautiful and creative product design greatly influences our decision while choosing one product over another. You may agree that several times you purchase a useless product because it was designed beautifully.

So a product design not only serves the purpose of informing the customers, but it should also appeal to your target market and impress the customer with its creativity and design. Below is our selection of 30 creative and innovative product packaging designs that will inspire you!

30 of The Most Creative And Innovative Product Design You Have Ever Seen – StumbleUpon.

Booz Allen Global Innovation study shows rising R&D investments in 2011 … what about 2013?

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The global innovation report is a yearly report showing R&D spendings across different industries. For reference, I have included the 2009 results by industry and the 2011 version below. The sectors which invest in R&D do not differ much from one year to another.

Although the report states that R&D investments doesn’t always mean that innovation is produced, or that this innovation is performing better than other products investments diluted across other budgets, there a precious few metrics that make it possible for us to measure how innovation is faring. So we’ll have to make do with this.

image_thumb[5]What the report shows as well is that rising investments mostly happe in America, whereas Europe was already deep in recession at that time. I can’t wait to see what the 2013 report will show.

At last, the report shows a strong correllation between sales and R&D investments. One could read this either of two ways: when sales are good, R&D investments grow, or … when R&D investments grow sales are better.

An interesting question would also be to wonder what is actually meant by R&D spending and whether all product development efforts are measured under that umbrella. I have seen a lot of companies in which R&D is kept as a separate effort and doesn’t represent the main area for product design and development ; this is significant in a world in which innovation is driven by vendors’ offerings, mostly in the Computing & Electronics world, the first sector for innovation in that study.s

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R&D Spending Returns to Pre-Recession Levels, Finds Booz & Company Global Innovation 1000 Study | Innovation Management

key findings from this year’s Global Innovation 1000 study:

  • The three industries with the greatest R&D investment were computing and electronics, health, and automotive (28 percent, 21 percent, and 16 percent of the total Global Innovation 1000 spend, respectively).
  • Two-thirds of the $53 billion increase in R&D spending between 2010 and 2011 came from the computing and electronics, automotive, and industrials sectors.
  • 75 percent of companies increased their R&D spending from the previous year in 2011, up from 68 percent in 2010.
  • This year Amazon joined the top 10 “Most Innovative” companies pushing out Facebook. For the third straight year Samsung rose in rank on the list (to fourth place, up from seventh place last year), and Apple, Google, and 3M took the top three positions, respectively, also for the third consecutive year.
  • Regionally, companies based in North America grew their R&D spending by 9.7 percent—just above the global average of 9.6 percent—while Europe and Japan grew theirs at below-average rates of 5.4 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
  • India- and China-based firms again increased R&D investment at the highest rate overall across regions (27 percent on average), although from a small R&D spending base.

via R&D Spending Returns to Pre-Recession Levels, Finds Booz & Company Global Innovation 1000 Study | Innovation Management.

80% of apps are making less than 1,000 downloads – #istrategy

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The second panel today at iStrategy, the title of which was “Engaging Your Audience with Mobile Apps”. The panellists were:

  • Moderator: Mark Curtis – CEO, Flirtomatic
  • Panellists: Alex Musil – EVP Product Marketing, Shazam,
  • Noah Everett – Founder, Twitpic
  • Konstantinos Papamilitiadis – Product & Engineering, Taptu
  • Mark Boerrigter – Digital Marketeer, Green Orange

Mark Curtis described his method at Flirtomatic named “the funnel” which starts with

there is nothing magical behind application marketing

shazam-lg-android-franceAlex Musil from Shazam said that “it all starts with the value proposition of your app” and the next step is to ensure that the “people who are in the best position to promote your app, know about you”. Then Shazam works on Appstore optimisation (working on keywords). Partner promotion includes carriers he added, but that the most important thing is “word of mouth” which – he said – is the reason why Shazam is adding a million users a month thanks to Word of Mouth. This is what is going to pay out he concluded, in the long term.

“not everyone can get under Apple’s underpants!”

Football-Mesiter-for-iPhone-1-200x300Yet not anyone is Shazam! Mark Boerrigter (Football Meister Dutch app) said that the death rate is high amongst applications. Mark Curtis agreed and said that this was an important statement. He also talked about “the death valley” which Mark is calling “the long tail of despair” and these are the apps which are never downloaded. 80% of apps are flops added K Papamiliatiadis, that is to say that they make less than 1000 downloads! He added that Taptu tested all sorts of things but the only thing that worked was the promotion ads on Android and Apple Appstore. Once you have convinced them, he commented, your adoption rate will be staggering. Yet, Mark Curtis stated that “very few people can get under Apple’s underpants” meaning that few of apps manufacturers can actually sell their business case to Apple.

is product design the new marketing?

“What we haven’t heard here” added Mark Curtis, is that there should be a huge reliance on advertising, which means that a lot of effort has to be put on product design and that “product design [might well become] the new marketing”.

is user-friendliness a sure marketing bet?

Yann Gourvennec on user-friendlinessVery often, I hear people say that you have to make your end-user’s lives easier to generate a marketing success. However paved with good intentions this statement may be, I did ask myself the question whether making users’ live easier is a sustainable marketing argument for the development of a business. Here are my thoughts on this subject:

First and foremost, I wondered whether revenue could be linked to user-friendliness and ease of use of the service? Very often, it is said that what made Apple’s success was the user-friendliness of its products. This explanation, however, is very debatable. What could be simple for a certain user, mainly because he is used to a certain feature or a certain way of doing things, may seem complex to another. And this is even true of such well-designed products as the Mac Intosh, or the iPOD. For instance, it happened to me many times that I advised new Apple buyers who were complaining about the lack of the contextual click on their new Mac mouse. I had to show them that they had to press the button for approximately one second in order to display that contextual menu. This simple gesture may seem very user-friendly to most Mac users, whereas having a two button mouse may seem very unusual and quirky to them. But to most Windows users (just a little reminder, this is 97% of the population) this way of working with a mouse is very quirky too. Can we easily conclude that these design particularities (which could be considered as great by some and quirky by others) are a good selling argument, which are sufficient to explain how successful the product was? I’m not really sure, due to the fact that there are a number of users who discover these design features after buying the products and not before.

Secondly, I’m wondering whether user-friendliness is a constant with time? As a matter of fact, I think that user-friendliness can be pictured on a curve (similar to the hype cycle curve by partner), which explains the evolution of a user and the user-friendliness factor in the course of the usage of the machine or software. By the time a user gets used to the features of the new software or the new hardware, including those which are very exotic, the end-user will become more and more exacting. A feature which might be unusual, or even useless when you start using a product for instance, may eventually prove very useful and even compulsory with time. For instance, when I started using my newly purchased HTC 7500 advantage, the 3-D communication capability seemed to me superfluous; but I started using it more and more, and then I started to dive into the complexity of the menus and options. Now, the 3-G capability of my PDA has really become irreplaceable. If I were to lose it, I would struggle goes straight away to shop and buy a flat fee subscription for 3G, because I really need this feature now. As a conclusion, what seemed complex and useless at the outset (menu configurations to connect, proxy parameters, etc) very shortly became an absolute necessity for me to connect my machine to the Internet and use it to the full.

Thirdly, it may happen that a feature, which seemed user-friendly, and convenient in the beginning, becomes useless and irritating with time. For instance, we could describe the T9 (so-called ‘predictive text’) feature on mobile phones as very useful when we discover it for the first time. When you don’t have a keyboard on your mobile phone or your smartphone and you want to type a text (short message, note, calendar entrey, etc) this feature may seem really great and useful. You start typing the beginning of the words, and then the system will fetch into the dictionary and will complete the entry. However, with time, this feature appears quirky, and even generates unwanted effects. As a result, the feature which was meant to simplify usage becomes cumbersome, superfluous, and it even gets on your nerves to a point where you actually de-activate it (as long as you are able to work your way through the menus to re-instate manual entry). Eventually, users and mostly youngsters prefer to use abbreviations, and even this weird phonetic SMS lingo to communicate. This is a good example of a feature which seemed useful in the beginning, and was meant to make users’ lives easier, but which at the end of the day is so complex that the users want to get rid of it.

Other pertinent examples can certainly come to your mind, but as a conclusion of these brief article, I can add that user-friendliness is probably what is the most difficult thing to achieve in this world, because it is both subjective and personal (what seems easy for one may seem difficult to others) and because it evolves with time, with the usage of the system in one way or another. At the end of the day design can be a hell paved with good intentions, where user-friendliness and simplicity is aimed at but where one generates a lot of irritation and frustration. Most importantly, because this criterion is very subjective, it would probably generate a halo effect if we were to try and measure its impact on sales and revenues, or even worse if we were to predict future revenues based on user-friendliness. Conversely, we can certainly find a very good number of products or services, which went through huge commercial success despite the fact their usability was really bad or even downright awful (one will remember. Siemens’ Gigaset telephones, which were tremendously successful from a commercial point of view a few years ago whereas their menus were absolutely useless; for instance turning on your speaker phone required that you pressed the ‘INT’ key and then press eight for what it means!?). I hope that this article however is not going to entice manufacturers to make lives even more difficult for users, because I think this is hard enough as it is.

However, and however much we regret it, we think it would be wrong to believe that user-friendliness and the quality of a user manuals is a recipe for success.