Nurse Claudia* knows exactly where everything is. She does approximately 50 challenging wound treatments per week and has been a nurse for over 30 years. So without even looking she reaches for the wound dressings with silver or for her favourite product for wound cleansing: Debrisoft. However, Claudia is also involved in the training of young nurses and this is where the importance of a precise labelling on a package becomes apparent. She tells all this to Ariane Müller* during a market research in Frankfurt. The test is on new drafts for packaging designs for selected L&R products. These so-called prototypes are not only compared with competitors’ products but also with the presently still valid packages of the L&R brand. Ms. Müller would like to know precisely what exactly it is that the nurse likes and dislikes about the packages, her opinion about the boxes in a direct comparison with other manufacturers and what she would perhaps like better than something on the present boxes. The wound expert has looked at the packages very thoroughly before making up her mind. Only after looking at the folding boxes from all sides she states her opinion in plain words. All this is being observed with expectant faces by the L&R employees in charge who are watching through a one-way vision panel from the neighbouring room. It goes without saying that all test persons had previously been informed about this procedure.
A lengthy development process had preceded this internationally arranged market research in Germany, France, Italy and Poland. The L&R briefing gives the Design Office a distinct task: to develop a new and modern design which interprets and communicates the L&R brand and the brand essence in an up-to-date-manner. New international requirements on the packaging of medical devices also necessitated a new design. On the onehand, this time consuming and costly procedure has as its focus the optimisation of all important product information. And on the other hand, the redesign will serve at this very important customer contact point to present the L&R brand in the best possible way and to create a lasting positive impression.
In the medium term, we are talking about the redesign of more than 3,500 products
Stefan Baggen, Managing Director and Creative Chief of the BaggenDesign Agency in Düsseldorf, is aware of his responsibility. After all, in the medium term, we are talking about the redesign of more than 3,500 products. “Firstly, we concentrated exclusively on the mere transfer of information. Nurses in hospitals and in home health care services are often subject to high time pressure. It is therefore important that all decisive factors about the product areeasily visible.” In addition, a modern and high-quality presentation of the L&R brand is important to him. “Even if a lot of ‘old timers’ in wound care confirm that they know the L&R products blindfolded, the packaging conveys a brand image. And this is to reflect the brandvalues of our customers.”
Through various design and matching rounds, BaggenDesign in cooperation with colleagues from marketing have developed a new design concept which was prepared for the test after consent was given by Wolfgang Süßle and other Managing Directors. For this purpose, BaggenDesign also verified requirements on printing techniques. Because, for example, the packages must not allow any colour abrasion – the requirements for use in medical practices and OR are very strict, and rightly so. In Nurse Claudia’s opinion it is very positive that the new packaging now also illustrates the product. “This makes it a lot easier for my young colleagues to reach for the right packet.” This statement is particularly pleasing to Stefan Baggen. There had been heated discussions on the illustration of products, not least because of cost aspects.
It is also interesting to look at the evaluations from various other countries. Expected comments relating to the specific countries remained few – the almost unanimous opinion approved of the new packaging. Only a red surface on one side was quickly dismissed. Even if red, together with green, represents the L&R corporate colours, red always is a warning colour and stands for danger – also in the medical field.
Alban Schneider is a trained Market Researcher and working for L&R in this function and in this field. He is highly satisfied with the results of the Europe-wide tests. “The result is not always as clear as in our present case. A majorpart of the test persons has given preference to our new concept. And this not only in comparison with the old packages but also in a direct side by side presentation with the competition.”
The employees around Stefan Baggen are pleased about this good result and are now attending to the precise detailspecification and description of the new packaging regulations. A so-called Corporate Design Manual defines the guidelines applicable from now on to all packages for new products. Michael Breiler is Head of the Packaging Department at L&R and with his team will put the draft and production of all packages into practice. He and his colleagues had been involved in the process right from the start and have taken part in assessing the various states of developments and tested them for printing techniques. “Changing the packaging for the entire L&R product range is a real challenge from a logistic viewpoint. Therefore, it makes sense to check in advance and very thoroughly what works and what does not”, he says.
In the Market Research Institute, Dr. Schmidt* (physician at a large hospital in Germany) has taken a seat. In answer to the question of how wound care products are being stored in his ward and which packaging properties are important to him, he looks very surprised. “I don’t know any of that”, is his brief response, “the products are handed to me by the nurses, and they really know what they are doing here.”
Each package is a brand ambassador
Stefan Baggen, BaggenDesign Düsseldorf
Packaging is a very important tool of brand communication. The most extreme example is the tiny blue label which makes a branded product out of a standard banana: the incomparable Chiquita. With medical products in particular, brand values such as safety, trust, quality and reliability play a highly important roll. These values are partly transfered subconsciously through a clear structure, a clearly arranged design, easy logibility and high production quality. Even though the doctor in charge or the seriously ill patient may not even really notice the packaging, each package from L&R passes through many hands. Purchasers of the medical practices or a hospital create their image of a product through the packaging, as do the nurse in charge or the medical students. Because a well designed packaging already demonstrates the quality of its contents. This was exactly our target: to be a reliable, safe and up-to-date as the products by L&R.
Market research shows the essence of the target group
Alban Schneider, L&R
To enable the identification of the best packaging it is advisable to start at the point where our customers come into contact with it: in their everyday work. However, as one would like to do this under controlled and anonymous circumstances, we have hired the Market Research Agency Ipsos to invite our customers for individual interviews into a studio. The packages where there presented and assessed in a live setting. It was important for the tests that we get statements from many relevant target groups, i. e from doctors and wound care nurses in medical practices, but also from hospitals. We conducted the interviews in four L&R core countries to make the coverage as international as possible.
*Names have been changed for data protection reasons by the editors.