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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Abstract

Consumer product packaging can serve a critical role in the consumption experience, but marketing and packaging science researchers focus primarily on pre and post-consumption aspects of consumer product containers. Exhaustive research into packing ergonomics, logistics, safety, sustainability and promotional features are common across marketing and packaging disciplines, but research isolating the role of a packaging in consumption satisfaction and enduring consumer-brand relationships is rare. In addition to an undervalued role in product satisfaction, functional isolation between marketing and packaging scientists limits packaging’s overall impact on the bottom line.

This research examines the role of bottle quality in bottled-water consumption satisfaction and its subsequent impact on brand attribute perceptions, consumer-brand relationship investment and behavioral intentions. We show that thicker water bottles are perceived to be of higher quality than thinner bottles, and that these perceptual differences impact how customers view a brand on aspects such as reliability and value offered by the brand’s products and ultimately intentions to re-purchase the brand’s products.

We use qualitative, experimental and structural modeling analysis techniques to establish a fundamental role of packaging quality in consumer product satisfaction. We show that packaging characteristics are an indivisible component of the product and important to evaluation of the overall consumption experience. We finally conclude that packaging quality has a critical role to play in building profitable consumer-brand relationships, which should redefine the packaging cost-benefit equation to include the value of consumer loyalty as a balance to non-consumption packaging considerations.