Why You Need to Use Custom Packaging For All Your Promotions

Branded Packaging

Practically everything you use today is branded. The delivery package on your doorstep has it’s own custom design. Everything in your home, everything at your work—even what you see on the road is branded.

Okay, so maybe not everything is branded. However, there are very few moments in a day when we are not exposed to some sort of branded advertisement or product—at every interaction with a brand, opinions are being shaped and value is being attributed.

It’s true for the big businesses on the Dow Jones and it is true for your business.

You want your products, your services, and your promotions to go beyond just making a good impression. Depending on the current season of your business, you want a number of things for your brand:

  • Increase the perceived value of your products or services.
  • Create a tight bond with new clients, excited to work with you.
  • Build trust with a specific partner to grow a mutual relationship.
  • Establish a healthy culture and work environment with your employees.
  • And many, many more…

One of the strongest ways to stand out amongst competitors is to use branded merchandise to create a strong company culture. Branded merchandise is so much more than a logo on a shirt or a design on a mug. Branded merchandise is a tool to inform and shape how employees and clients alike think and feel about your business—those thoughts determine what they believe about your company and your culture.

Box with branded sunglasses, t-shirt and pop socket.

Branded merchandise can vary from t-shirts to sunglasses or even Pop Sockets. It’s not just adding a logo to something, but the experience you can deliver.

The idea of placing your logo on a pen, shirt, or cup isn’t new to you—and it isn’t new to your competitors. If you are going to capture and hold the attention of a lead, you’re going to need a lot more than just a great product and promotion.

You need to deliver an experience.

Engage the senses, build anticipation, and deliver a moment of delight that will leave an impression—not to mention a great story.

So how do you deliver this experience?

Custom branded packaging for every strategic touchpoint.

Different size boxes with custom branded packaging

Deliver an experience that goes beyond your logo. Choose packaging to enhance your customer’s experience of opening your product.

Create An Experience that Will Be Remembered – For the Right Reasons

The fitness industry is saturated with options. Big box gyms. Individual trainers. Individual trainers training in big box gyms. Online training options. Home workout systems.

If a gym is going to survive with so many options, they need to tell a great story that is inviting and exciting—and create an experience that makes a new member feel as if they have joined more than a gym… they have joined a movement.

It’s not unusual for a gym to present a t-shirt to new members for joining. It gives the gym free advertising, serves as a nice bonus for the member, and is also a new workout shirt they can use right away.

Sign up for a gym, and get a free shirt. Nothing special. Largely a forgettable experience that the new member isn’t going to share with anyone. The gym missed an opportunity to increase the perceived value of the shirt, but more importantly, they missed an opportunity to increase the perceived value of their brand.

How could they have done it differently?

Picture this.

After finishing the gym registration, the employee hands you a slim white box with the gym’s logo on the top. “Welcome! Here is a little something for you.” You walk away, look for a table to set the box on, and open it up. You take off the small piece of removable tape, remove the top cover and inside is a t-shirt, folded, with two stickers and a note laying on top of it.

“Welcome. We’re excited to play a small part in the vibrant life you’re creating for yourself.”

This is the power of presentation. This is the power of custom branded packaging and it is your secret weapon to get a leg up on your competition.

Lunch boxes and Pez dispensers with branded packaging

We create a packaging strategy to match your company’s unique voice as well as the occasion for the package.

So, What Does the Term “Branded Packaging” Really Mean?

You know what packaging is—it is the container that holds, secures, and presents an item or collection of items.

So what is “branded packaging”?

Branded packaging is the practice of creating a container with a unique design that creates an experience for the recipient.

Looking back at the gym example above, which experience would you prefer your company be associated with?

Branded packaging is actually a marketing strategy to create a strong first impression, convey value on the recipient of any gift you give with your company’s image or name, and create an experience that cannot be put into words.

When you make a decision to invest in promotional marketing, you are going to need a way to hold your promotional items. Since there is no single packaging solution for every item or combination of items, we work with companies to create a branded packaging strategy to provide an experience that matches their unique voice, as well as the occasion for the gift.

The most successful promotional campaigns create a memorable experience and the packaging is essential to that success.

The Branded Packaging Gold Standard

As the internet makes the world smaller, business owners have more options than ever when deciding who to do business with.

When you stop to take notice, you will realize that brands are consistently creating memorable packaging experiences to set themselves apart from their competitors.

Apple has become the ‘gold standard’ for branded packaging, most notably with their iPhone boxes. The substantial construction of the box and satisfaction of opening the miniature compartments has created a whole movement of YouTubers creating unboxing videos. Not to mention all the people keeping those boxes on display on their bookshelves as a sort of trophy (do you have any Apple boxes?).

Juxtapose that experience with the inexpensive phones you can buy at a big box store, in formed plastic, requiring scissors to break into, which may result in piercing your skin. How valuable is that experience? First, to experience the product you need something as graceless as scissors. No one wants to be poked with hard plastic or staples.

Branded packaging prevents your business from developing image problems when your clients, employees, or colleagues interact with a gift, product, or promotional item that bears your brand.

Various merchandise with the Blue Fox Branding logo

Your branded packaging should enhance your company image, not create problems.

Don’t Products Already Come in Some Sort of Packaging?

The short answer is yes. All promotional items come in some sort of packaging. The gym’s branded t-shirts probably came packaged together in plastic wrap of some kind, functional for shipping, but not for creating an experience for the customer.

The hard truth is that a brand’s first impression is made within seven seconds of exposure. Those seven seconds include the attention given to the packaging. If your packaging seems detailed and substantial, your brand is going to be subconsciously perceived that way.

But the inverse is also true. That is why we recommend all our clients reserve 10-15% of their promotional budget for packaging in order to create an impressive experience for their audience.

It doesn’t take much to create an impression and even the smallest budgets can achieve a custom feel through the addition of logos or themed colors on the packaging. A little creativity goes a long way.

For instance, if you were to send a bottle of wine to a client, why not include two wine glasses, etched with their logo?

Have a bigger budget?

Go with the wine bottle and add a decanter to the mix with your client’s logo, as well as the occasion etched into the glass. Replace a cardboard box with a weathered wooden box with their logo and the occasion burnished on the outside lid. Perhaps include a tag line on the inner lid, as well.

Very quickly you have enhanced the value of the gift while creating an experience the recipient will never forget.

Blue Fox Branding stationary in a blue box

Choose branded packaging that adds credibility to your company.

What Elements Should be Considered When Choosing Custom Packaging?

There are two main considerations for choosing custom packaging.

  1. Is the packaging and gift or product consistent with the mission of your company?
  2. Does the packaging add credibility to your company?

Let’s explore the importance behind point number one.

An Experience Consistent with Your Mission

If you are a hiking company sending a promotional gift to everyone who registers for a deep woods expedition, does it make sense to send perfume in a vanity case? No! They may even cancel their reservations thinking, “What in the world kind of company did I sign up with?” It might be a nice gift with expensive packaging, but it’s not consistent with what you might believe the mission of a hiking company would be.

A more appropriate gift would be a survival kit, complete with compass and multitool, packaged with leather cases that attach to a belt—all delivered in a custom wooden box.

Want to go one step further in building anticipation in the client for the trip? Make the box branded, distress the outside, and nail it shut—include a small pry bar with your logo that they will need to use to open the box.

Let’s have a little more fun with it. Once they open the box, inside is your gift, packed in a bed of dried moss and all of a sudden you have invoked a deep feeling of being in the woods and enjoying the great outdoors.

An Experience that Adds Credibility

Exploring the second point, we want to know, does the packaging add credibility to your company?

Here is another way to ask this question: Does the packaging protect and preserve the product while delivering a strong impression.

In the case of the survival kit, the moss evokes an image while keeping the compass from breaking. This product and packaging will cement your brand in the mind of the customer as a legitimate authority in hiking experiences, and attract greater interest from consumers through the stories that will be told.

Sure beats a broken vanity case of perfume showing up on your doorstep, right?

Is Packaging Really That Important?

Even after reading to this point, there are plenty of business owners out there who might still question whether packaging is really that important. Won’t customers just throw away the packaging?

Good question. And the answer may surprise you.

Studies have shown that 30% of consumers actually base their buying decisions on packaging.

Of those who do buy your products, 40% share their product packaging photos on social media.

Packaging is your opportunity to show potential new customers your company’s value.

Is packaging really that important? Consider what you can actually accomplish through your custom branded packaging.

  1. Educate consumers on topics of interest or social issues
  2. Offer more information on the mission behind your company
  3. Advertise other products you sell
  4. Delight your customers with your brand personality
  5. Highlight the charities you support

Developing Workers branded notebook and pen

Educate Consumers On Topics of Interest or Social Issues

Moo is a printing company that uses their packaging to allow their personality, values, and commitments to shine through! Their packaging is so beloved, a simple Google search for “moo packaging” provides hundreds of consumer photos showing off their product and the company witt.

Interestingly enough, it is a bit difficult to find two packages that are alike, underscoring the commitment Moo has made to using custom branded packaging to create a memorable customer experience.

Moo business card holder showing environment paper sourcing information

Moo uses different portions of their packaging to share details of the paper source, educating customers as well as underscoring company values. Image from Ezra Photographic.

Offer More Information On the Mission Behind Your Company

TOMS is a great example of using custom branded packaging to educate their customers on matters that are relevant to the mission of their company.

At the time of this writing, when you visit TOMS website, you see the text, “With every TOMS purchase, you stand with us on issues that matter.”

In the example below, the shoe box contains the statement, “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.”

Photo of a pair of TOMS shoes sitting on top of the branded shoe box

TOMS uses their packaging to share their mission and vision for providing shoes to children in need.

Advertise Other Products You Sell

Amazon is a very good example of a company being creative with their packaging. From the printing on the box to the tape used along the edges, they brand the entire outward experience.

For their Amazon products, they are very active in advertising products from their partners, as well as educating customers on how to use the product they ordered.

Photo of unopened Amazon Echo with custom packaging

On the Amazon Echo packaging, Amazon depicts examples of commands you can give Alexa and they also dedicate nearly an entire side to feature skills that are available with Alexa.

Delight Your Customers with Your Brand Personality

Dollar Shave Club used their unique brand, in conjunction with a new business model, to disrupt a billion dollar industry. Their current packaging and printing is still reflective of their first breakthrough, viral commercial that propelled the brand to national notoriety.

Not only does Dollar Shave Club brand the razor sleeves, they brand the entire bathroom experience with a booklet called “The Bathroom Minutes” included in every package.

Dollar Shave Club delights and even surprises their customers with every shipment, further cementing the company image in the minds of customers as a business they resonate with.

Branded Razor Sleeves from Dollar Shave Club with Funny Sayings

Dollar Shave Club uniquely brands nearly all of its packaging and rotates the packaging over the years.

The Return On Investment You Can Expect On Custom Branded Packaging

Every year, Brand Keys produces a major metric called the Customer Loyalty Engagement Index which “paints a detailed picture of the category drivers that engage customers, engender loyalty and drive real profits.”

While this metric is not a direct reflection on a business’ packaging choices, it is a ranking that takes into consideration the brand’s actions as a whole related to the interactions with its customers. This all encompassing ranking underscores the need to be intentional and strategic at every touchpoint with your customer, as it is what propels brands to the top.

As you see more direct correlation between your packaging investment and actual ROI, you can associate metrics such as fewer customer service calls because of more detailed packaging, an increase in backlinks to your website as customers share self-created media to share their experiences, and an increase in social media engagement.

It is worth noting that you will want to identify soft metrics which directly correlate to specific packaging. For instance, if you are using packaging to correct a specific issue, identify the metric you’ll use to measure the effectiveness so you can compare before your custom branded packaging solution and then after.

Soft Metrics Related to Custom Branded Packaging

Another soft metric that you should consider measuring is customer satisfaction through surveying your customers directly. Use a matrix answer format to have customers respond to statements such as, “I believe this company cares about my experience,” or, “This company values relationship with its clients.” These types of surveys help establish a brand pulse and can give you insight into the long-term gains you can expect to experience as you build your brand through custom branded packaging.

Creating A Movement of Support and Connection with Your Brand

While you may not see an immediate monetary return on investment from this kind of branding investment and strategy, it will create a movement of support for your company.

Branded packaging from commonsku

While you may not see an immediate monetary return on investment from this kind of branding investment and strategy, it will create a movement of support for your company.

Looking again at the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index you will discover it is filled with companies associated with going the extra mile for their customers and creating unique and powerful experiences.

Names like Costco, Amazon, Netflix, Chick-fil-A, Target, Apple, and Google continually appear on these lists because of their investment in the experiences they create with their customers.

Creating an intentional adventure for your customers from the moment they touch an item bearing your brand goes a long way to influence their beliefs about you and cements your brand in their minds as a brand that “just gets it.” In a world of increasing competition, that’s the type of edge you need to move the needle and accelerate your business past the competition.

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