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For vodka brands, bottle design may be more important than taste, Affinnova says

Photo taken from Belevedere’s website.

Vodkas in newly designed bottles are gaining market share, sometimes at the expense of long-time brands that rely on traditional packaging, says Affinnova Inc., a Waltham company that has repurposed algorithms initially developed for genetic research to help consumer-products companies better understand their markets.

Affinnova said it conducted a “Package Design Audit” that included evaluations of popular vodkas by 500 US vodka drinkers.

“Results showed that up and coming brands Belvedere and Pinnacle are leveraging bold and unique package designs to gain market share,” the company said in a press release.

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And because advertising is increasingly fragmented, packaging has become more important, Affinnova president and chief executive Waleed Al-Atraqchi said in a statement. According to Affinnova, bottle design can even trump taste.

“Design remains one of the most underleveraged assets a company has in launching and maintaining a successful brand,” he said. “As advertising becomes increasingly fragmented and has less impact on consumers, packaging must work harder to build brand equity and drive purchases. Advanced marketers need to monitor how package design is impacting shelf presence and consumer perception and respond accordingly, much in the same way they actively measure and adjust other aspects of their marketing performance.”

One audit finding: Stale packaging can lead to brand erosion.

Affinnova has worked with such brands as Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Pfizer, and Walmart.

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