PACKAGE DESIGN | CONSUMER RESEARCH | BRAND EQUITY
“Product Ventures is a unique design agency because their in-house consumer research lab informs the design process. Their research team is phenomenal and the insights they uncovered informed the package design process to ensure the success of Plenity as a new-to-market product. Product Ventures understood our needs as a client and proved the value of their holistic approach to design.”– Angela Barile, Senior Director Consumer Experience, Gelesis.
In 2019, Gelesis introduced a new-to-market weight management solution called Plenity. The company wanted the Plenity packaging to be discrete while also providing a premium, value-added, branded experience to consumers. Gelesis had launched a limited, invitation-only trial of Plenity in May 2020 and began to plan for a national launch in 2021. The company chose to revisit their package design by working with Product Ventures before launching their product nationwide.
Our work was focused on optimizing the secondary packaging for Plenity’s single dose pods, including a premium unboxing experience for the initial “welcome” kit; portable, counter-worthy containers for the Plenity pods; and environmentally friendly refill kits. These packaging deliverables were designed for existing packaging for Gelesis’ Plenity pods.
For Plenity to be a successful weight management solution, the packaging needed to be discrete while also aiding the consumer’s ability to stick to a schedule. The Plenity product is intended to be taken twice a day, every day, prior to lunch and dinner. This schedule of intake meant most consumers would be using the product outside of their home. The packaging of the product needed to be durable to withstand the rigor of frequent travel, while also providing a premium experience that would make the package design “counter worthy” — ensuring consumers would keep the package in sight and remember to take it — without drawing attention to itself.
Research was integral to this project and required different methodologies at different stages. For example, Gelesis had already launched a limited trial of Plenity in 2020 with generic packaging. These trial participants were spread out across the United States, requiring remote or digital outreach to successfully uncover insights into satisfiers and dissatisfiers with the trial packaging.
Later in the project, our team utilized in-house qualitative research for feedback on prototype designs (including some local Plenity customers). Toward the end of the project, we relied on remote interviews for follow-ups with existing Plenity customers to gauge their experience with the new package design.
Gelesis provided Product Ventures with notes on what they hoped the packaging of their product would accomplish to provide the most value to their consumers. Among these identified preferences included the desire for the consumer to have a premium experience — specifically in the unboxing experience of the “welcome kit”. Additionally, Gelesis expressed the container for the Plenity pods should be discrete while also aiding consumers in their ability to keep on-track with the prescribed regiment of the product. Product Ventures’ package design team performed an audit of inspirational packaging possibilities – both in and out the category – with a lens toward things considered “premium.”
To provide a premium experience, Product Ventures developed multiple prototypes of the “welcome kit” and different prototypes of the containers meant to hold the Plenity pods. The final design was an aluminum container that held a lightweight “sleeve” that organized the pods and slid into the container. This design allowed for the durable container to be shipped once in the “welcome” kit, while subsequent packages would simply ship additional lightweight sleeves holding Plenity pods without additional containers. This reduced the amount of materials needed for refill packages and the cost of goods for shipping refill packages to consumers.
The aluminum design offered durability while maintaining a discreet appearance for consumers. Plenity’s brand identity was subtly incorporated into the container’s package design through the placement of a branded “P” on the lid. However, the overall package design did not draw undue attention to it as a weight management product.
These containers were optimized in size to snugly fit the Plenity pods, and the pods were still easily accessible thanks to the lightweight sleeve, which acted as an “elevator” dispenser. Consumers could simply pull on the sleeve’s tab to lift out a single Plenity pod, eliminating the need to insert their fingers into a narrow container or flip the container upside down to access the pods.
Gelesis expressed high satisfaction with Product Ventures’ work, particularly due to our comprehensive package design process that integrated in-house consumer research and insights during the prototype development.
Plenity made its nationwide debut in late 2021, supported by a substantial awareness campaign starting in January 2022. After this campaign, Gelesis revealed that they were gaining approximately 4,700 new Plenity members every week, and they expected to generate $58 million in product revenue during the first year of the product’s launch.
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