Custom Packaging & the CX Revolution

Disruption is anything that interrupts an event, activity or process.  In a business sense, disruption is a force that both destroys and creates. It's a change that affects--sometimes to the point of uprooting--existing systems, and replaces them with something new, more efficient and worthwhile. Harvard professor Clayton Christensen has written more on the subject of business disruption (and innovative disruption).  One of the most disruptive forces in the past decade has been social media, and how social channels are used to share information. Particularly the relationship between businesses and customers, and the effects on marketing, custom packaging, and the entire idea of the "customer experience" or CX.

Customer experience is the interaction between an organization and a customer.  Not so long ago, the company controlled the majority of the interactions. Think of billboard marketing, direct mail, radio ads, TV ads, magazine ads, etc. What do they all have in common?  It's the business telling the customer how to think or feel, or showing them through ads what their products do. With the advent of social media, this kind of marketing has become less authentic as customers become more savvy and rely more on friends or influencers for specific recommendations. This is the heart of the customer experience revolution. 

On top of that, customers have a wider range of choices available to them.  In less than a minute, I can lay out an entire shopping trip:

  1. Google item I want to buy
  2. Consider the factors that go into the purchase (do I want to pick up in store? do I mind waiting for shipping?)
  3. Purchase and move on with my day

It's not that long ago that simply doing a little comparison shopping would involve actually visiting stores, and not just reaching for my phone. 

So how can businesses differentiate in this marketplace? By building a memorable customer experience.

CX & Custom Packaging

Custom packaging is one way that organizations can begin to create a positive customer experience according to CustomerThink. We all get a little thrill when we hear the *thunk* of an expected package arrive on the doorstep, right? Play up that feeling, and start from the minute that customer submits their purchase. Companies like Amazon and Uber allow users to track their orders throughout all stages of the process, whether it's a book or a car ride. 

Custom packaging for New Balance
Custom packaging for Aluminoes

It's like waiting for Santa to arrive as an adult, except you know what's in the package. And to extend the metaphor, which present is more exciting to open: the one that's wrapped with care in high quality packaging, or the one with smushed corners and plain brown cardboard?

No contest.

Consider custom packaging as your signature as a brand and a company.  What does it say about you? What does it say about how you value your customers? 

Raise the Bar for Customer Experience

The best part of the customer experience revolution is that it levels the playing field for both large and small businesses.  A small business can invest in social media with low overhead, and take care in packaging their products with pride. Large businesses can do the same, but it comes at a premium and a different scale. Custom packaging can help differentiate and advocate your brand (don't forget to incorporate logos, hashtags, and social channel handles on the package). Sunrise is adept at designing experiences for customers through custom packaging. Contact us today.

Custom Candle Boxes & That Hygge Feeling

We're in that post-holiday time of the year. The part where winter--in Minnesota, at least--can feel like an endless barrage of snow, ice, and more snow. We're all looking for comfort in some sense, so it's no wonder that a concept that literally embodies the term is growing more popular. 'Hygge' is a Danish term (or art, depending on your interpretation) that roughly translates as 'cosiness.' But it's more than a warm blanket or comfy chair.  It's about creating a warm atmosphere with good friends, good spirits, and good conversation. Or whatever brings warmth to your soul. An integral part of hygge is creating atmosphere. There's some science behind the benefits of candlelight. Which means that custom candle boxes can be a great way to give the gift of hygge. 

Custom Candle Boxes?

Let's start with the science of candles. Bad sleep can be tied to numerous factors, not the least of which include exposure to blue light from tablets and phone screens, and general stress. Candlelight is softer on the eyes, and can actually help promote melatonin production (aka what tells us it's time to relax). Additionally, if you're into scented candles, choosing scents like lavender or berries can also aid in relaxation and increase comfort levels. 

Candles themselves can give people the gift of a good night's rest; custom candle boxes can help recipients understand the intent and usage of the contents. Include a description of the word, like the one here from Skagen, and other types for a houseful of hygge or a hygge party.

Custom candle boxes and hygge

How to Bring Hygge Into Your Home

Hygge is a way of life for the Danes, but you can engage in the good feelings, too.  The growing hygge movement has overtones of faded popularity of Marie Kondo or feng shui when it comes to design, but with a little more approachability.  Hygge is personalized in that it's up to the individual to decide exactly what is comforting, or cozy, to them. If that includes candles and custom candle boxes, wool socks, hot coffee, and so on.  Here's what's generally included (or use a starter list for a hygge party): 

  • Find your cozy nook - or make one. Also called a 'hyggekrog,' your nook is a place where you (and friends) can wrap up in blankets, enjoy beverages, and watch movies or discuss things.
  • Factor some (fictional) scary stuff. Storms, or scary shows, can up the hygge factor (actual scary things, like the news, do not). 
  • Put together a menu of warming dishes, like soups, meats, breads, hearty meals that are at once filling and snackable. 
  • Buy some candles. Like we said above, candles are calming but also charming, and create an atmosphere of friendliness. As well as both literal and figurative warmth. 

It's a movement on the border of parody. But it's up to the individual to take it as far as they want. 

Light a Candle or Two

Denmark is one of the happiest nations in the world. If that's not an endorsement for creating--or gifting--a little hygge in these winter months, what else is? 

Contact Sunrise today to create custom candle boxes and give a little hygge. 

Recyclable Boxes: Reusing Gift Boxes

(This story won’t sound relevant to recyclable boxes or setup boxes, but I promise it’s getting there)! Last December, I received a glass tumbler from Starbucks that I absolutely loved. Although it technically *just packaging,* I also loved the box it came in. Starbucks does a great job creating attractive packaging, and their two-piece setup boxes for the holidays are durable and always feature rich colors. Each year has a different color: last year was red, this year was green, and so on. They also design a brand new series of tumblers every year, so when they sell out, they’re gone forever.

Starbucks recyclable boxesBut I used the setup box to package another gift, keeping the lovely tumbler for myself. However, maybe as a lesson regarding growing too fond of things, I accidentally dropped the tumblr at a gas station in sub-zero temperatures. It shattered. I was sad, and I must have mentioned the fact to my mother (we bought the tumbler together).

Lo and behold, this Christmas, I took the wrapping paper off a present. I recognized the red box, but in the back of my head, I knew that the gift boxes from Starbucks this year were green. I opened the box, and there it was. My shattered tumbler, which she had found online, whole again. Added bonus: I got to keep the box this time around!

As the major December holidays pass, most households are left with a lot of new things which need to find homes as well as a lot of boxes and wrapping paper. Recyclable boxes aren’t a problem (wrapping paper is another story, since the majority of it isn’t recyclable).  There are plenty of ways to take sturdy gift boxes and repurpose them around the house. 

Tips for Reusing Recyclable Boxes

  1. Re-gift
    The easiest thing to do with when you receive a nice gift box? Reuse it for its intended purpose.  The wrong attitude is to think of it as someone else’s problem; rather, think of it as spreading the joy of a nicely-packaged custom gift box. 
  2. Use it as a desk organizer
    Full disclosure: This is how I’m using my own Starbucks setup box. My workspace at home has drawers with organizers, but I’m always looking for something to help me out on top of the desk that doesn’t look like it came from an office supply store. The red box is colorful and not too big. It’s made of sturdy chipboard with sharp edges, so I know it won’t look battered in a few weeks. It’s perfect to hold my oh-so-necessary supply of Gin-Gins, lip balm, favorite fine tip marker pens, and other random necessities, all in one place. 
  3. Holiday storage
    It’s nearly time to pack up all those holiday decorations. Use the sturdier of the boxes you received to switch out any older packaging that’s starting to wear, or to keep any new items safe. In my house, the holiday decorations are pretty secure, in one spot, but occasionally there might be some jostling. Keep your memories safe and secure with an updated custom gift box. 

And When All Else Fails

Break them down and put them in the recycling. Reasonable sentimentality can only go so far. But next year, keep in mind how someone might get some enjoyment out of a nice setup box for their gift. 

How do you upcycle recyclable boxes from the holidays?

2017 Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging Trends

Trends come and go, and this is especially true of the ephemeral world of fragrance and cosmetic packaging. Certain features and styles--cigar style boxes, magnetic closures, custom setup boxes, etc.--tend to be more prominent in some years than others. Cosmetics and fragrances are a dynamic division of packaging; they're subject to the whims of the fashion world, but loyal customers tend to be drawn to both respectful tradition for the past while enjoying modern innovation. What would Chanel No. 5 be without its stark, elegant style? It's a tall order for any designer to incorporate all these elements. 

However, there are some constants in this ever-changing industry as identified by Cosmetics Design. These guidelines aren't specific only to fragrance and cosmetic packaging, but could be incorporated into the style of any industry that desires their packaging to be creative yet artful and address commercial interests. 

Fragrance & cosmetic packaging

Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging as Art

According to the Pratt Institute 2016 recipient for fragrance packaging design, FangYi Chu, the most important aspect of design is storytelling: 

Through the creative direction, including logo, fonts, and color, the story can be displayed to everyone.

In this sense, custom packaging should endeavor to embody a narrative that speaks to customers. 

Resourceful Innovation & Packaging

Concerns have arose across customer bases when it comes to sustainability. Buyers are becoming hypersensitive to sustainable sourcing and eliminating waste, yet desire usable and functional packaging that is also aesthetically pleasing. At Sunrise Packaging, we can utilize recycled materials for boxes as well as employ other eco-friendly techniques in finishing as well as other stages. 

Cost-Effective Packaging

"Cost-effective" encompasses many things. Obviously, cost is one part of it. It can reflect size, meaning that customers are finding value in smaller cosmetic packages which makes them easier to carry for travelling. All in all, as Cosmetics Design points out, it means a smaller commitment from the customer. The increased ability of customers to peruse the world via the Internet means that they don't only have to buy from big name retailers who carry big name cosmetics and fragrances. They can purchase from anywhere, and the selection means that customer loyalty can easily shift. It's an opportunity and a detriment to the market. In this sphere, creative fragrance and custom cosmetic packaging could make or break whether a customer returns or not. 

Fragrance & Cosmetic Packaging

Trends are usually cyclical, but when it comes to hyper-stylized industries, those trends take to take on new twists. With some foresight, designers can find inspiration while retaining classic elements. 

For more information on the topic, refer to:

2016 fragrance packaging trends that will still matter in the New Year

By Deanna Utroske, 21-Dec-2016

Novelty beauty packaging comes and goes, but a few trends Cosmetics Design covered this year will carry over into 2017—for fine fragrance and perhaps some other categories as well.

Promotional Boxes

Promotional boxes are ideal for organizations to achieve multiple goals. I know what you're thinking--it's just a box, what objectives does it really need to meet?--but consider the other elements that come into play when it comes to packaging. Packaging is just as important as the product it holds. 

To make the most of promotional boxes, it's important to start seeing them as the marketing tools they are. A custom box, designed to your specifications, is an investment that will pay dividends in the areas that matter. Brand awareness. Product protection. Increasing name recognition. Enticing buyers. 

See? A custom promotional box can answer a lot of needs in one literal package. 

Checklist for Your Promotional Boxes

So what's important when creating a custom promo box? Here are the main things you need to have figured into your design. 

  • Unique design: Customers are drawn to pleasing aesthetics and design. But what really entices them to pick one off a store shelf, or take a picture to share on social media? Unique designs. Determine what kind of color palette and style best complements your product, and design custom packaging that draws attention and works with the box contents.
promotional boxes
  • Surprising content (as in the words on the box, not the product inside): There's a reason that people love reading the messages inside Dove candy or underneath Snapple caps: it's a surprising bit of content that's generally pleasant. Yes, you could just put your company name and the product on the box (and the SKU or UPC), but have fun with it. Your customers will appreciate it. It's an opportunity to do a little extra marketing and share your company values.While we're on the subject of content, don't forget to include the basics of your company. Website, social channels, and a hashtag for customers to share photos of your product and fantastic packaging.
  • Choose the right insert: Keep your product in place with custom inserts. Consider including thermoformed trays, foam, or other inserts to stop things from shifting and to add a layer of protection.  Inserts can also include other printed materials, like instructions. If you're ready to take it to another level, consider a custom flash drive for customers to access instructions, videos, a whole host of materials.
  • Price out necessary upgrades: Leave a little space in your budget to explore potential upgrades. It could mean soft-touch lamination to enhance the feeling of the box. Or handles are ideal to increase mobility. Embossing, foil stamping, and other finishing options can add a literal polish to presentation packaging.

The Value Proposition for Promotional Boxes

Promotional boxes can do double-duty as marketing for your product as well as your business. Make sure it's clear to customers who you are and what you do. And your packaging is a great way to reinforce these messages.

Reach out to our sales department today to get started with your optimized custom promotional boxes!

Custom Binders & Organizing

When I think of organization, I have to admit: custom binders do not leap to the top of my list. I'm much more likely to search for an app for organizing notes, recordings, or whatever I need on my smartphone than I am to pick up a binder. But recently, in the most unlikeliest of places,  I was reminded that some people are more tactile. 

I was watching Brooklyn Nine Nine, and the character of Amy Santiago was enjoying a new binder. 

Custom binders make some people happy

Simple Pleasures of Custom Binders

For those who don't watch the show, Amy is a somewhat Type-A detective with a penchant for organization and procedure. She's tidy, polite, and loves her binders.  Amy and her binders are something of a running gag, but there's something to the simple pleasure she receives.

In the hyper world of the TV cop show, it's understandable how something so seemingly simple can be soothing and bring calmness.  It's a small piece of sanity, a corner of control. When everything else is volatile and subject to the whims of coworkers and criminals, Amy's custom binders are 100% in her control. 

Why Bind It When You Can Scan It?

The ability to pick up and page through a binder is soothing. Users can see everything at once with just a few flips instead of searching through a smartphone. It's a conventional organization system; easy to pick up and intuit, versus someone's private devices. I know that my method of filing (or lack thereof...I prefer to tag things, then just enter a search query when I want it) isn't the same as others. Using a standard system within a binder makes it easier for the entire office to find common resources quickly and efficiently. 

Scanning/taking pictures of documents on the go is handy, but when it comes to document sharing (especially in a not-so-technology-literate organization), it can get tricky. Especially when no one wants to admit that they don't fully understand how to access something. Take the guesswork out by storing communal resources in custom binders. 

 

Options for Custom Binders

Here at Sunrise Packaging (Minnesota), we've been experimenting with some great new, more durable options for custom binders. New techniques include creating covers from a single piece of chipboard, increasing their ability to withstand pressure and the effects of time. Euro-scoring, or rounded corners, help people grasp binders more easily. It's a great option for larger documentation sets or files. Not to mention that pockets or adhesive trays can be added as well to hold discs, notepads, or anything else that could be useful. Contact us today to talk about your needs, discuss cover printing options, and more. Amy would be proud!

Custom Cigar Boxes: Timeless & Elegant

Finding a box that's truly versatile is a harder task that it sounds. We love custom cigar boxes because, simply put, they're classic. It's a style of box associated with cigars, naturally, but there's something both Old World and modern about it. Depending on the design, a single box style can take on multiple personalities. While the classic cigar-style box presents convenience and ease of opening, it also naturally heightens the luxury and elegance factor. It's clear to see why this is one of our most popular styles, isn't it?

Features of Custom Cigar Boxes

  • Classic style
    From a new baby to weddings, cigars (and cigar boxes) are synonymous with celebrating and good feelings. The style lends itself to presentation, begging to be opened to whomever the custom box is presented.

  • Large variety of finishing options 
    Inlaid foil for your logo? Check. Colored chipboard to match branding guidelines? Check. Nearly anything you can think of, Sunrise Packaging can figure it out. Okay maybe not *everything* but we can try.

  • Interior organization
    It doesn't matter what's going inside the box. What matter is that, when the customer opens it, everything is in its place. Select an option that fits your budget and keeps your product safe.
custom cigar boxes
  • High quality materials = instant keepsake
    One of my favorite things growing up was a literal cigar box from my grandfather. While Sunrise doesn't deal in the wood and metal locking devices (my favorite features of my cigar box), we can utilize high quality materials. It'll help ensure that your custom cigar boxes are valued by customers for days to come.

  • Ability to recreate this iconic scene from Pretty Woman
    It probably won't involve early 90's Richard Gere, but we can't all be that lucky.

Custom cigar boxes are our go-to suggestion when it comes to a box style that conveys instant luxury and nostalgia. Everyone has a memory involving a cigar-style box. It's our job to make it's a positive one. Contact a representative today to learn more about finishing options and putting your own spin on this classic style.

Hyundai/Kia Custom Pads

These custom pads made for Hyundai and Kia are great examples of our signature FlashPad in action. While not the standard dimensions, these pads were designed to look more like a traditional book, a hardbound box that opens like a novel. The cover features high-definition images of the interior of the respective vehicles, capturing the detail with crisp digital printing. The informational blurb tells exactly what’s inside: crucial updates for onboard navigational software. The pads were designed to hold specifically-shaped USB drives that could used to upload the digital updates. Yet another cool and practical use of flash drive packaging.

Hyundai/Kia Custom Pads

Hyundai-Kia Custom Pads

Custom Aluminoes Front Open Box

Custom packaging created for high-end, aluminum-crafted dominoes, the Aluminoes box is a lesson in minimalism. Such a simple design, but so much elegance. The asymmetrical splash of white on black is reminiscent of traditional dominoes, but the product inside is anything but. This playful element, coupled with the other upgraded features makes this box design one in a million. Rigid chipboard walls, soft touch lamination, strong magnetic bonds, and custom preview windows are just a few of the special add-ons that creates the perfect canvas for these metallic gems.

Aluminoes Front Open Box

Aluminoes Front Open Box

Carolina Panthers Season Ticket Box

The Carolina Panthers used this sturdy cigar-style box as a keepsake for season ticket holders. Season tickets for a professional NFL team aren’t something you stuff in an envelope. The Panthers sent a message of luxury, style, and, above all, respect for their fans with this large, rigid box, complete with magnetic sealing tabs for a rich enclosure. The partition makes creates a jewelry box feel, perfect for collecting any team memorabilia. This partition is removable, yet looks built in--part of the magic of presentation packaging. This rich, black custom box, with a sophisticated splash of white for the logo and stylish font, is an excellent example of turning packaging into a souvenir, a storage device into a memorable gift.

Carolina Panthers Custom Season Ticket Box

Carolina Panthers Custom Season Ticket Box

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