Tapping the Consumer for a Better Battery Package

November 1, 2004
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Tapping the Consumer for a Better Battery Package

In a competitive market where everyone used a similar packaging platform, premium brand Duracell was looking to differentiate through value-added packaging. But what should that distinguishing feature be?
The cross-functional project team of client, marketing, design and engineering professionals knew that success would come by focusing on end-user needs.
In-depth consumer and audiologist interviews revealed that the industry-standard, hearing-aid battery package was hindering product delivery.
With failing eyesight and dexterity, elderly consumers were finding it difficult, if not impossible, to load “fresh” batteries into hearing aids. In fact, some weren’t wearing their hearing aids to avoid the struggle and didn’t want to rely on someone else to do it for them.
 Clearly, this wasn’t just a package quality issue. This was a quality of life issue, too.
The investment in conducting contextual research was instrumental in solving the challenge. Consumers were observed in their natural environment in order to identify their unarticulated needs and compensatory behaviors.
These important factors are not always revealed in customary research conducted by third parties. Where did the end-user store their batteries? How did they load them and where? What were the environmental factors during loading? What was the lighting quality? Were the users standing or seated? How did this affect the process?  
Elderly consumers were seen fumbling with the package and having difficulty manipulating the tiny battery. Some were self-deprecating and apologetic about their “inability”.  One senior pointedly lamented, “I feel like an ass… I guess my eyesight isn’t as good as it should be.”
Through contextual observation, the project became an opportunity to increase product consumption through consumer empowerment. The cross-functional team set out to devise a solution with two purposes:  product packaging and delivery mechanism.  
Fully empathizing with the consumer, the team brainstormed ideas that would create news while bettering the lives of end-users.  
The resulting package was a revolutionary and award-winning design. Embraced by consumers and seniors, Duracell enjoyed record demand and created a new industry standard for hearing-aid battery packaging.

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