Simulation reveals the design process

The following design houses responded to the Strategy challenge:Hunter Straker, TorontoKen Koo Creative Group, VancouverRussell Design, TorontoTAXI Design, MontrealWilliam Plewes Design, TorontoIn this special report, Strategy invited five design houses to create a package for a fictitious product - a throat...

The following design houses responded to the Strategy challenge:

Hunter Straker, Toronto

Ken Koo Creative Group,

Vancouver

Russell Design, Toronto

TAXI Design, Montreal

William Plewes Design, Toronto

In this special report, Strategy invited five design houses to create a package for a fictitious product – a throat lozenge marketed under the name Strikers.

Each of the design firms – three in Toronto and one each in Vancouver and Montreal – was provided a detailed brief outlining the product’s marketing case history (see below.)

They were told that although the Strikers product was well-established, the client was open-minded and looking for expert guidance.

The objective of this packaging challenge was two-fold: to show examples of design solutions to a packaged goods opportunity; and to illuminate the design process through a simulated real-life exercise.

We allotted each design house a half-page horizontal to present its case. It was suggested they incorporate a visual design and a written rationale.

The submissions begin on the following page and continue through page 18.

The company

The client is a 100% Canadian-owned pharmaceutical products manufacturing company.

It is an established name in the industry and Canadians generally associate the attributes of good quality and reliability with the company’s products.

The division that you will be dealing with in this project is a newly acquired business, which, until recently, had been operating as a small, independent Canadian company based in Vancouver.

The corporate headquarters are in Toronto.

The division remains based in Vancouver. You will be dealing directly with the divisional marketing executives on the project. They represent a young, entrepreneurial team. They, too, remain based in Vancouver.

The product

The product under consideration is throat lozenges, marketed under the brand name Strikers.

It is a unique product created from the resins of a lichen-like plant (called norse) that grows only in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

The oils derived from this plant have an effect not unlike that of the eucalyptus plant.

For centuries, Canadian native people throughout the Territories have used this plant as a herbal remedy for sore throats.

During the Yukon Gold Rush of the last century, use of the product spread outside of the native community.

In fact, the genesis of the modern-day Strikers lozenge goes back to a Canadian gold miner, Will Striker, who learned of the medicinal properties of this plant while mining for gold in Dawson City.

Shortly after returning to Vancouver, he took the small capital base that he had earned from a modest gold accumulation, and invested it into the creation of a consumer product based on the herbal remedy.

Within several years, Striker had developed a soft-candied lozenge that was strong-tasting but very effective in numbing the effects of a sore throat.

He created a small manufacturing base in Vancouver built around this one product and within decades was supplying pharmacies with Strikers throughout British Columbia and as far south as Portland, Ore.

Corporate update

Strikers grew into a successful regional product but not much more than that.

The founder, Will Striker, kept his focus on the product, constantly improving and innovating.

Striker was happy being a relatively small-scale businessman and his company prospered and remained tightly held by several generations of Strikers.

Five years ago, the company passed into the hands of the current generation of Strikers.

This group of aggressive, business school-trained men and women have ambitions to build Strikers into a major national brand.

Their first step was to sell a significant part of their shares to a Toronto-based national pharmaceutical concern.

In return, Strikers management has gained access to instant distribution across the country. The deal will provide the Strikers group with all the resources it might need to properly support a national launch.

The corporate parent is impressed with the Strikers marketing group.

These young people are eager and bright, and bring with them a kind of daring and open-mindedness that the corporation senses is lacking in its own marketing department.

Therefore, Strikers has been given full autonomy to handle the national launch.

At the time of this briefing, Strikers is in the early stages of building a strong marketing services team, and it is beginning with a search for a design partner.

The category and the competition

The sore throat care market has been growing steadily, but not dramatically.

The market is essentially divided into two categories:

1) Corner stores: light, every-day products that are commonly found in convenience and corner stores.

This is colloquially referred to as the cough drop market. The leader, by far, is the Halls brand, with about a 75% share, followed by Vicks products, with roughly 25%.

This category is predominantly differentiated by flavor and the products are, generally speaking, viewed as candies rather than lozenges.

Although they are sore throat products, Halls and Vicks are known as cough drops.

2) Pharmacies: stronger-tasting, more powerful medicinal products that are sold at the back of the store in drug stores.

Brand leaders are Sucrets and Bradosol, each with 15% to 20% of the market. Beyond these two, there is a wide scattering of small brand names.

This category has a greater variety of brands which tend to be differentiated on the basis of strength and medicinal value, rather than flavor. Taste is a factor, but it is a secondary concern.

Both Sucrets and Bradosol come in a variety of flavors, but Strikers will be marketed, initally at least, under one flavor.

Unit volume in the corner store category is about three times that of the drug store category.

But sales revenue volume is not that far apart since the unit price of the drug store products ($3-plus) is at least three times that of the corner store products (less than $1.)

Distribution

The product will soon be available nationally through major drug store chains across the country in English and French markets.

This will be achieved through the parent company’s powerful and well-established distribution team.

Initially, at least, Strikers will be positioned only in pharmacies in direct competition with Sucrets and Bradosol – and, the client expects, in health food stores across the country.

Target group

Target group segmentation is divided between adults and children, but adults make up the bulk of the buying in both the corner store and pharmacy markets.

There is little, if no, segmentation by gender or by demographic group.

The challenge

Strikers feels it is perfectly positioned to launch its brand in the pharmacy market to take on market leaders Sucrets and Bradosol.

The company feels it has a competitive edge in that Strikers are formulated from a natural product. This ties into a growing consumer concern over product purity and value.

The company sees a potential parallel in the lozenges market with the growth of naturally based soaps, shampoos and creams.

Strikers wants to be the first in the lozenges market to exploit the fact that it is a natural, herbal remedy unique to Canada.

The package

Packaging is the single most important factor in marketing lozenges within the drug store segment where Strikers will be competing.

Sales volumes are not high enough to warrant big media advertising support

Bradosol has done some inventive outdoor recently, timed to appear in the winter months.

But, for the most part, this is a market where share is fought out on the store shelf and packaging, therefore, is the key in building the brand.

Strikers are currently packaged in a fairly plain, light cardboard box. The design has changed very little from its early days.

It shows a gold miner in a loosely-drawn illustration, and the name strikers appears in an old-fashioned script across the top of the rectangular package.

The lozenges are of a gummy, soft-candy quality. They are not quite chewable. Nor are they hard like Sucrets and Bradosol.

They are lightly sugar-coated, which keeps them from sticking together in the package. Both Sucrets and Bradosol are individually wrapped.

There are 20 lozenges per package. They are round and 1/2-inch in diameter.

The briefing

Apart from the lozenges themselves (which the client feels are serving the brand positioning well and should not be altered), the client is wide open to any and all suggestions on the packaging, including materials, shapes and sizes.

The client feels strongly the packaging and package design should reflect the product’s inherent strengths: a natural base, environment-friendliness, strong medicinal properties.

What the client wants

You are one of several design firms that have been asked to submit a phase one proposal.

The client’s mind is wide open.

Since this is the first time the client has gone through this process, the client is not sure what to expect. Therefore, the client wants to explore the kind of thinking that is available in the design marketplace.

The client will pay each firm a fee for its presentation.

However, to keep costs in line, the client is asking each firm to present its response to the brief in a simple, black-and-white linear line drawing (as opposed to a fully composed design illustration.)

A rationale explaining the design should accompany each presentation.

[end]

Although they are sore throat products, Halls and Vicks are known as cough drops.

2) Pharmacies: stronger-tasting, more powerful medicinal products that are sold at the back of the store in drug stores.

Brand leaders are Sucrets and Bradosol, each with 15% to 20% of the market. Beyond these two, there is a wide scattering of small brand names.

This category has a greater variety of brands which tend to be differentiated on the basis of strength and medicinal value, rather than flavor. Taste is a factor, but it is a secondary concern.

Both Sucrets and Bradosol come in a variety of flavors, but Strikers will be marketed, initially at least, under one flavor.

Unit volume in the corner store category is about three times that of the drug store category.

But sales revenue volume is not that far apart since the unit price of the drug store products ($3-plus) is at least three times that of the corner store products (less than $1.)

Distribution

The product will soon be available nationally through major drug store chains across the country in English and French markets.

This will be achieved through the parent company’s powerful and well-established distribution team.

Initially, at least, Strikers will be positioned only in pharmacies in direct competition with Sucrets and Bradosol – and, the client expects, in health food stores across the country.

Target group

Target group segmentation is divided between adults and children, but adults make up the bulk of the buying in both the corner store and pharmacy markets.

There is little, if no, segmentation by gender or by demographic group.

The challenge

Strikers feels it is perfectly positioned to launch its brand in the pharmacy market to take on market leaders Sucrets and Bradosol.

The company feels it has a competitive edge in that Strikers are formulated from a natural product. This ties into a growing consumer concern over product purity and value.

The company sees a potential parallel in the lozenges market with the growth of naturally based soaps, shampoos and creams.

Strikers wants to be the first in the lozenges market to exploit the fact that it is a natural, herbal remedy unique to Canada.

The package

Packaging is the single most important factor in marketing lozenges within the drug store segment where Strikers will be competing.

Sales volumes are not high enough to warrant big media advertising support

Bradosol has done some inventive outdoor recently, timed to appear in the winter months.

But, for the most part, this is a market where share is fought out on the store shelf and packaging, therefore, is the key in building the brand.

Strikers are currently packaged in a fairly plain, light cardboard box. The design has changed very little from its early days.

It shows a gold miner in a loosely-drawn illustration, and the name strikers appears in an old-fashioned script across the top of the rectangular package.

The lozenges are of a gummy, soft-candy quality. They are not quite chewable. Nor are they hard like Sucrets and Bradosol.

They are lightly sugar-coated, which keeps them from sticking together in the package. Both Sucrets and Bradosol are individually wrapped.

There are 20 lozenges per package. They are round and 1/2-inch in diameter.

The briefing

Apart from the lozenges themselves (which the client feels are serving the brand positioning well and should not be altered), the client is wide open to any and all suggestions on the packaging, including materials, shapes and sizes.

The client feels strongly the packaging and package design should reflect the product’s inherent strengths: a natural base, environment-friendliness, strong medicinal properties.

What the client wants

You are one of several design firms that have been asked to submit a phase one proposal.

The client’s mind is wide open.

Since this is the first time the client has gone through this process, the client is not sure what to expect. Therefore, the client wants to explore the kind of thinking that is available in the design marketplace.

The client will pay each firm a fee for its presentation.

However, to keep costs in line, the client is asking each firm to present its response to the brief in a simple, black-and-white linear line drawing (as opposed to a fully composed design illustration.)

A rationale explaining the design should accompany each presentation.