Human Factors in Healthcare Packaging

Human factors is the study of how humans behave and interact with objects or services within an environment. It’s existed under many different names over time, but human factors seems to be the one that has stuck. While the field has expanded widely in the digital age–understanding how humans interact with parts of a system essentially defines a great web user experience–it has chiefly been the domain of medical devices.  For obvious reasons, it’s necessary to know how a device that regulates a heart rhythm or helps someone hear needs to work well with the human body. But just as the study has taken on new life in other formats, so can human factors inform another key medical area: healthcare packaging. 

Healthcare Packaging Defined by Human Factors

The ultimate goal of human factors applied to a product is to ensure that it’s safe and easy to use in the real world. It’s a good guideline for any product, but especially when we’re talking about medical device packaging or healthcare packaging in general. In fact, it was made a regulatory requirement by the FDA in 1990 for healthcare. healthcare packaging

Human factors sets out to study and answer three distinct questions at the outset: 

  • Who is the user?
  • What are they trying to do?
  • What is the environment of use?

HealthcarePackaging.com frames some of the scenarios for how these questions might be answered. This line of questioning is known as contextual inquiry. It reveals the key points needed to determine packaging requirements. For example, a hearing aid will need different medical packaging than a set of surgical instruments. Human factors studies, and contextual inquiries, are best conducted with actual users and customers…AKA outside of your boardroom and employee pool. It’s impossible for those close to a product to have an actual consumer mindset. And chances are that the intended use of a product will vary from how it’s actually used.

Integrating the Findings

The study detailed in the article linked above focused on finding ways to make sure the packaging reduces stress for users and simplifies things. In their study, they timed things like how long it took users to open the custom package. They also created graphics based on their findings, like the actual environment where the product is used, and how it fits in, as well as storyboards detailing how the task completion played out for various test subjects. 

Armed with this research, organizations can start to refine their healthcare packaging model. Find ways to reduce complexity and increase understanding for how users should actually be using the product.  

The bottom line? You might think you know how customers engage with healthcare packaging, but you have no idea.

Influencer Marketing Kits for Retail

Influencer marketing kits can be used a few different ways. The traditional–well, as traditional as it gets in this age of flash-in-the-pan marketing strategies–mode is to send kits to targeted individuals. Research goes into identifying influencers in your market. Time goes into building a relationship with them. And finally, the money and effort put toward creating a custom, individualized influencer kit all adds up to quite the process. The return on investment for influencer marketing can be tremendous. It’s a worthwhile investment for your company.

But there’s another mode for influencer marketing that taps the market a little differently, and that’s to take a more mass marketing approach. Research and develop an influencer kit that can be sold as a retail piece.  It can include many of the same elements, like premium packaging and accompanying collateral, but without the exclusivity. Mass marketing runs the risk of being less targeted, but it can reap huge rewards as well. 

Scaling Influencer Marketing Kits to the Masses

influencer marketing kits

From Structural Graphics

The first question that might pop into your head is Who else is doing this? As you can see from the image to the side, liquor is one industry that has employed this kind of brand-building for ages.  These kinds of launch kits can double as influencer kits–if you start to tie your messaging to your brand in a way that positions customers as brand ambassadors.  

Liquor has long employed a kind of pyramid-shaped flow for their customers. Companies have products in the same category ranging from the low end to the high end. The customer journey usually brings them using the low end products, and once the customer builds an appreciation for the product, they’re willing to champion it and ramp up to the next level. Ultimately, they’re invested in the product to the point of purchasing the special kits.

Influencer marketing kit features include:  

  • Flasks or glasses imprinted with the product’s brand or some other catchy slogan. One example I saw was a liqueur that came with one lowball glass and a line in the middle. On top of the line, it said Optimist. Below it? Pessimist. It appealed to a wide range of people. And the best part? To have a matching set, people were willing to buy 2. Use this tool to increase sales as well as influence customers to showcase your product. 
  • Printed collateral, like recipe books, histories of the product, or other kinds of supporting information. These work well to upsell other products or to share out interesting facts that customers can then share out as well.
  • Premium packaging to hold all of these things together, as well as create a stage for the product itself. Customers love keepsake items for the brands they champion. Invest in feature like embossed typograhy and high quality graphics. Use tactile and and visual elements to appeal to their senses, and enhance the product itself. Turned edge boxes are ideal for influencer marketing kits, and adding premium elements like magnets, custom trays and other features for enhancement. 

Building Brand Loyalty with Retail Influencer Marketing Kits

Your company might call them product launch kits. Sales kits. Welcome kits. Whatever they might be, but their aim is the same: to develop brand loyalty and influence sales positively. That’s the heart of influencer marketing. It’s about reaching the people with whom your product resonates, and giving them a reason to champion it further. 

Custom Magnetic Boxes

Sometimes, certain types of boxes become associated with certain industries. Technology, for example, seems to usher in new trends or set the tone for what moves over to other industries. Minimalist design, solid colors, magnetic closures, all of these trends started with technology devices and bled into other industries. Custom magnetic boxes are an especially a great option for any product. Our turned edge cigar box style features a magnetic flap for closure. Here’s why.

The Appeal of Custom Magnetic Boxescustom magnetic boxes

Custom magnetic boxes have been most commonly found in the technology industry, but more areas, like healthcare packaging, are starting to use magnets as well. The appeal is more than just aesthetic. Here are some reasons that organizations are seeking out magnetic boxes and magnetic flaps for their products:

  • Design appeal
    Including magnets in packaging increases the trend factor. From a design perspective, it creates a sleek kind of closure that slides easily into a sleeve box or any other kind of box. Magnet boxes are also usually laminated in material that lends itself well to different design treatments as well. Companies can print in full color, or choose to emboss, deboss, etc. 
  • Accessibility
    The growing baby boomer population is just one sector of the population that needs easy-open packaging. Complicated closures, harsh glues, excessive taping, all of these things are problematic for hands that don’t work as well as they used to. Let’s be honest: it’s also really annoying to have to deal with boxes that are overly taped, right? Magnets of varying strength are easier for all hands to open. It’s a great option for medical packaging, particularly for personal devices. 
  • Security
    Few types of closure can promise the security and ease of functionality that magnets provide. Not to mention longevity, according to Science Focus: “The alignment that holds magnets together can be damaged over time, principally as the result of heat and stray electromagnetic fields. The process is very slow, however: a modern samarium-cobalt magnet takes around 700 years to lose half its strength.”

Ready to Design Your Own Magnetic Box?

Sunrise representatives are ready and waiting to help you design custom magnetic boxes that show off your product and appeal to customers. Contact us today!

Magnet Boxes: FitBit Blaze Packaging Review

Wearables have been heralded as the next frontier for technology. While the success of Google Glass might be up for discussion, the same doesn’t apply to fitness trackers. Particularly when it comes to FitBit.  There are a ton of trackers out there, but FitBit seems to retain a magic hold on the public. I was an early adopter to the wearable trend, and loved my FitBit from the get-go. I recently upgraded to the Blaze (my third upgrade within five years or so). It’s always great to see a company invest in great packaging, and FitBit includes some great options in their magnet boxes. 

Qualities of Magnet Boxessleeve boxes

Magnet boxes are durable and appealing to the eye and the touch, as well as a popular option for retail custom boxes. They can protect goods without extra protection. The FitBit Blaze also features a paperboard sleeve around it in white. The magnet box, in a contrasting blue, has no marks beyond the FitBit logo on the magnet flap. The custom sleeve design is where the main marketing focus comes into play.

The FitBit Blaze custom magnet box has laminated finishing, which makes the colors bright and vibrant and draws the eye to the picture of the object inside. It’s a little bit of that Apple austerity, but the ‘Gold Series’ calls attention, as well as the iconography. The text is kept to a minimum, but there are some features included on the front, with more on the back. 

The main features included on the front are the ones that make the Blaze different from the other models. It’s a good move to illustrate those things up front. From a consumer perspective, it’s always a concern regarding how different models are from each other–especially when there’s a price difference of $100.  This allows a shopper to view the differences without having to grab each one, turn them over, and compare that way. All they have to do is look at the display and get an idea for what the product looks like and what it can do for them. magnet boxes

Looking at the custom sleeve box in more detail, the back offers quick bits of information in a bullet-like style, enabling shoppers again to get the gist just from a quick scan. One of my favorite features on the box is along the side. Sizing can be problematic for anyone. I have, really, no idea what the circumference of my wrist is, so when the specs say that a small is XX inches and a large is XX inches, it means nothing to me.  But FitBit takes that brain-buster out of the equation by including a wrist sizing tool on the box. This tells customers what size they should purchase. Without having to track down a tape measure. 

Custom Packaging for the Future

When it comes to wearables, the options are limitless. While one might think that the packaging should be something more sophisticated, or stark, or whatever, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the user. FitBit does a great job integrating function with design, especially when it comes to helping shoppers understand the differences in their products. 

 

 

A Sales Kit for a Girl Scout

The Girl Scouts have been around for a hundred year, and they’ve been selling cookies for much of that time. Consistently and successfully. While data from the earliest of cookie sales isn’t around, we do know that since 1999, cookie sales have hovered around $700 million. Not too shabby for a longtime door-to-door operation. What many people don’t realize is that the cookie operation is fairly sophisticated, and every Girl Scout has a sales kit that could double as an arsenal. Minnesota organization Sunrise Packaging doesn’t deal in cookies, foods or this kind of box, but we have to give it up to this organization for a job well marketed.

sales kit

Tween Cookie Queens & Their Go-To Sales Kit Pitch

Any reservations you might have about taking sales advice from little girls should dissipate in the knowledge that these girls sell between 1500-3600 boxes every year. Find what tools they carry in their sales kit that you can apply to your own design:

It can pay to be a little daring

A New York Girl Scout uses an upselling tactic that appeals to easing the transaction for clients–in this case, when it comes to math. One box of cookies is $4, and the client wants to buy two…but they only have a $20 bill. The savvy Scout makes it easier to suggest buying 5 boxes. Fewer bills, more cookies (that are freeze-able, gift-able, etc), it’s a win-win situation. Find those opportunities within your own business to integrate into a sales kit.

Balance modernity with tradition

A Connecticut Girl Scout finds modern ways to connect with customers from beyond her door-to-door sales. She created a parody of Adele’s ‘Hello’, replacing the lyrics to reference cookie selling…and driving traffic to her own cookie-selling website. It’s the goal of any marketing tactic, but it plays on the current societal state of mind (i.e. Adele as one of the most popular artists out there) while driving traffic. It’s a testament to being current and having a grasp on the public consciousness, particularly what will resonate.

Know your product…and be honest

This has been one of the most popular posts in social media for a while, so you might already know about the New Jersey Girl Scout whose brutally honest reviews of cookies was shared by Mike Rowe. It might seem counter-intuitive to marketers, but it’s a smart tactic to acknowledge the flaws in a product. It shows awareness and, hopefully, intent to fix those flaws.

Building a Sales Kit With Intention

The goal of a sales kit is, naturally, to generate sales. What these Girl Scouts can teach us, when it comes to generating sales, is that having a little more intention, like fundraising, can add to the overall goodwill. It also helps that this is one of the most recognizable brands out there. Iconic packaging design that meets customer expectations is another part of the successful Girl Scout brand recipe. It’s an organization that has been around for a long time, and with this level of savvy sales ingenuity, could move into the future with ease. Although, we might recommend a more rigid custom box to stop those annoying broken cookies in the future!

Luxury Gift Packaging for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day originally meant to honor Saint Valentine. But since the days of Chaucer, it’s been associated with love. Or, to call a spade a spade, it’s associated with the giving of gifts. Flowers, chocolates, anything heart-shaped and/or expensive. It’s a holiday made for luxury gift packaging.

(Yes, we know it’s not *made* for giving gifts. Gifts are just the byproduct, the natural progression from courtly love).

Fine Chocolates Deserve the Finest Custom Cigar Style  or Two Piece Setup Box Luxury chocolate packaging

It’s easy to pile chocolates into a bag, tie it shut and call it a gift. Or to pick up some mass-produced box of waxy chocolates. But if you’re going to give them as a gift, take it from us: invest in good quality chocolate and good quality dessert boxes. The classic chocolate box? A cigar style box, with turned edges and imprinting. It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to chocolates, the box can be an indicator of quality. Two piece setup boxes are the other traditional style, as you can see to the right. Trust us, it’s worth the extra effort.

Luxury Gift Packaging for Engagement Rings

It probably doesn’t surprise you that Valentine’s Day is the most popular day to get engaged. It’s estimated that 6 million people agree to take the plunge (and not in a second-bottle-of-wine kind of way). The focus in any engagement is on the ring, naturally, but don’t overlook the significance of the box, either. The box holds sentimental value as well, and makes for a great keepsake. The standard style, a hinged magnetic box, can be further customized with names, a quote, or some other bit of content you share with your (hopefully) new fiancee.

 

Other Types of Luxury Items Require Luxury Packagingluxury gift packaging

Of course, Valentine’s gifts run the gamut outside of rings and chocolates. The item below is a luxury-brand lotion in a custom two piece setup box. Ideal not only for spa-day indulgences, but the box for the lotion itself only adds to the gift. Not to mention the experience of opening it. Lotion in and of itself isn’t the most exciting gift…until it arrives in a fancy box, right? Think of other items in which luxury gift packaging becomes an arena for differentiation. Watch boxes. Perfume or cologne gift boxes. Even electronics have jumped on board. Samsung and Apple are just two tech companies that have adopted an iconic, customized packaging style.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the Modern Era

All of this isn’t to say that enjoying Valentine’s Day means spending money. But purchasing things of a certain quality entails spending a little money. If your valentine isn’t worth it, who is?

Sales Kits To Attract & Retain Business

Swiping and scrolling on our mobile phones are the major methods in which we consume content these days. Whether your on Reddit or Tinder, it takes something pretty interesting to make you stop and look at it further. This is exactly what your sales kits needs to do. 

Ask yourself: Would my sales kit give a customer pause in the middle of all the other things demanding their attention?

If the answer is no, read on. Well, read on even if the answer is yes, because there's always room to level up, right?

Sales kits, or marketing kits, showcase your organization's products in a manner that makes them irresistible...or at least worth a more in-depth glance.  It needs to tell the customer that you are an ideal fit for whatever initiative they're targeting. It should attract new customers, educate existing ones, form new partnerships, and share information with media prospects. It's a tall order, we know, but it's very doable. 

Brainstorming Ideas for Upgrading Sales Kits

SmallBizTrends has some ideas for how to re imagine your sales kits in lean, mean, lead-generating-and-retaining machines. When you're ready to start designing custom packaging, Minnesota-based Sunrise Packaging is here to help. We know that even the most beautiful, most user-friendly packaging can't fix a sales kit that doesn't tell the recipient what they need to know or do, so take some time to answer the following questions to frame your sales kit revamp:

 

Sales kits

Who is your target audience?

Creating audience profiles is a great way to drill down on the "who" of who your customers are. Veer away from lumping them together by industry; it's usually way too broad. Think of them in terms of people, and by their roles. A CFO will probably respond to different messaging than an engineer. How can you address both, or what levels of differentiation can you include?

What issue or problem is your product or service addressing?

Start by recording the top frustrations of customers in the industry. Then figure out how your product solves those frustrations. Not sure what frustrates customers? Ask them!

What kinds of messages or statements speak to your audience?

Keep content focused on your customer by speaking to them. Write using 'you' in positive phrases building on the prior task of answering problems. Try to keep the message simple and action-based, but still focused on the benefits of what you offer. 

Go Beyond the Sales Kits Basics

This should give you a good frame of reference to start revising the standard sales kit materials (flyers, brochures, samples, etc). But what will really take your marketing kits to the next level? Consider leveling up to some interesting box features, like magnetic closure or a hinged lid, that guarantee your sales kit will make an impact. Create a unique first impression with custom finishing options debossing or embossing.  Take the step that will make your clients stop swiping or scrolling, sit up and pay attention. 

Sales kits

Custom Boxes & First Impressions

We all have ideas for new board games. Okay, maybe not all of us. But who hasn't sat through a long game of Monopoly or Risk and thought "This game would be way better if..." After taking that first step away from a base game, it's only a few more to determine rules and objectives, maybe even moving to designing a game board (or whatever you would call the set-up for "Cones of Dunshire").  You might be ready to commission custom boxes, but hold one second.  How do you know what the box needs?

Yes, the box needs to fulfill the basic needs: holding the game contents safely and securely, providing a pleasant experience for the user, things like that. But the cost associated with custom boxes usually doesn't rise to the top of the list. It's admittedly less interesting than choosing player tokens or designing a game board. But it's arguably one of the most important parts of launching your original board game. 

Custom Boxes: Your First Quest

New ideas for board games can come from any source of inspiration. It might be, like we mentioned above, a new take on an old tradition. It could be something entirely new and original, educational or strictly fun, or any other variety of elements. But in the early planning of the game, keep in mind how this needs to be packaged. Not just from a business or marketing sense, but from a practical and logistical standpoint as well. 

custom boxes
  1. Pare down what's necessary to play the game
    From an imaginary perspective, designing an intricate game with lots of player pieces and tokens, cards and chips, might come off like a great idea. But a game doesn't need to be upward of 100 pieces to be fun (well, unless we're talking about a literal puzzle).  Think of it this way: the more pieces your game has, the more it will cost to produce, and the more it will cost in stores. Additionally, it will affect your packaging requirements. 

  2. Using your pared down model, start to think through what style of packaging is necessary
    Custom boxes need to be able to provide protection for fragile game pieces or simply provide a home for the collective pieces and board. If these pieces are heavy, then a sturdier material, like chipboard, is going to be needed. If they're breakable in any way, consider foam inserts or plastic molding trays to keep them safe. Or, if there are other things that need to be kept from rolling around (like dice), that's another kind of tray. At Sunrise, based in Minnesota, we've helped many gamemasters think through their packaging. Bring your needs to us, and we can work through them. 

  3. Make a list of the things necessary for the box
    And not just art. People who pick this thing up off the shelf want to know a little bit more, so give them a little teaser.  Provide a statement about the game and any other relevant information. Does it include small, possibly choke-able pieces for little kids? Add that a caution might be necessary.  Is there a recommended age range for the game? Add that too. Add anything that might be necessary from a legal perspective, but don't forget that this is what needs to sell customers. 

Sunrise Packaging has been helping gaming auteurs in Minnesota and beyond to create their masterpieces for decades. We know how to prevent expensive errors and miscalculations, and how to help you think through what elements your custom boxes need to be effective. Contact us today!

Custom Packaging and 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.