The Appeal of Throwback Packaging via “Stranger Things”

Sunrise Packaging is proud to be a Minnesota company. We take pride not only in the work that we produce, but the work that’s done around us in “L’Etoile du Nord.”  That includes projects that inspire nostalgia, like any good throwback packaging. 

So it was with no small amount of excitement that, when one of the lead characters of Netflix’s series “Stranger Things” appeared on screen wearing a hooded sweatshirt from none other than our local Science Museum of Minnesota, we were pumped to hear that the sweatshirt would be recreated. 

And it seems that we were not the only ones. The Science Museum of Minnesota’s online store crashed upon the timed release. However, as the social media accounts for the museum reiterated, there was an unlimited supply. All told, it’s rumoured they sold over 80,000 pieces of ‘Thunder Lizard’ apparel in one day. 

If that doesn’t speak to the buying power of nostalgia, I’m not sure what does. 

How Nostalgia Can Inspire Throwback Packagingthrowback packaging

“Stranger Things” is a massive hit for Netflix. Any promotion that can tie back to it–directly or indirectly–is bound to have a leg up in the bid for capitalizing on consumer nostalgia. But it’s not the only example. At the height of AMC’s “Mad Men” popularity, brown liquor (whiskey, brandy, etc) outsold vodka and *clear* liquors for the first time in decades. The ad folk’s penchant for Old Fashioneds, as well as 60’s fashion, influenced a wide variety of industries. 

Don Draper of “Mad Men” fame gave a stirring pitch in season one based on nostalgia, calling it delicate, but potent. When it comes to your business, helping customers connect with your brand is key. This is where nostalgia becomes a powerful tool.

NCR Silver lists some of the ways in which we can learn from the response to shows like these. 

Throwback Packaging Allows Customers to Embrace Something Familiar

Familiarity is one of the most important factors in creating throwback packaging. It might link customers’ back to their childhoods or something else in their minds. This doesn’t have to be a literal recreation, like with the examples above. Taking inspiration within the culture and finding relevant themes can achieve the same effect. 

Look for Opportunities to Blend Old and New

Like we said above, throwback packaging doesn’t have to be an exact recreation. Board games are one example. While games like Clue and Monopoly have been played for decades, they’ve found new ways to entice buyers. Game makers are resurrecting old packaging styles and typefaces, inspiring memories in customers.  However, they’re also adding modern, interactive features that appeal to today’s audience. 

Attract Brand Advocates with Throwback Packaging 

Creating brand advocates isn’t an easy thing for most industries. But from what we’ve seen, nostalgic packaging is one way there. Make sure to include hashtags, social channel handles, and other information is included on custom packaging. Not only does this generate more buzz, but allows you track more clearly as well!

Collectors Boxes: Creating Demand for Products

Collectors boxes have been around for a while, but what makes a good collectors box is less well-defined. 

If we take a trip back down memory lane, let's consider some of the retail packaging crazes within recent memory. Funko pop dolls come to mind. Minecraft. Pokemon. Beanie Babies. In the cosmetic packaging world, Urban Decay's special palettes sell out within hours; Kylie Jenner lip kits within minutes. Even cereal boxes, like the limited edition old school monster designs. And one of the most popular and omnipresent campaigns in recent history: the Share A Coke campaign, where individual custom labels entice customers to "share a Coke with... [insert name here]."

What do all of these have in common?

Collectors Boxes: What Sets Them Apart?

The easy answer? Put 'limited edition' in front of any custom packaging, and it will increase demand. But the success of these craze-inducing campaigns goes deeper than that. 

Sunrise recently partnered with Solid Ink to create unique collector's packaging. This project utilized a turned edge design with four color printing and matte lamination. Created for their unique Chris Garver and Horitomo collections, the project specifications demand that these custom box sets reflect the brand as well as the inspiration.

Overall, it works as a great case study of what goes into a successful design and creation of deluxe box sets.  In short, it's tapping into what your audience already knows and desires, tying it into your brand, and limiting access.

Create Demand

Solid Ink created these limited edition boxes with the intent of creating demand. It's econ 101: supply affects demand. With these boxes in limited supply, and only available in certain places, it increases the demand. It might seem like a strange analogy, but the Beanie Baby craze of the 1990's is the poster child for this kind of strategy. As a particular Beanie Baby became more popular, the company would conscientiously pull it from the line up, creating--all together now--demand (and price inflation, but that's another story).

Create Something Original

It takes time, skill, and no small amount of luck to create something that captures the collective conscience and enters the zeitgeist. Most importantly, it has to have elements of originality. Even if something similar exists, or another version didn't quite succeed, taking time to find out what the missing element is could be the difference between a generic mobile app and Flappy Bird.

Create Brand Tie Ins

The tattoo industry is all about originality and body modification as an art form. It makes sense that the stars of that subculture are held in high regard. Their name lends authenticity to products, and enhances the sense of uniqueness around a collectors boxes set. When your target audience recognizes someone they admire as part of a brand, it creates an instant resonance. 

Let the Design Support Your Product

Sunrise Packaging has a practiced hand at creating limited edition packaging and collectors boxes. We worked with Prince on album packaging, numerous sports teams on gifts for season ticket holders, and other types of deluxe boxes. Bring us your ideas, and we'll bring them into reality. 

Options That Make For High End Retail Packages

High end retail packages speak to customers. 

Not literally, of course (but who knows what might happen in the future?). But all it might take is a swift glance over a familiar box to evoke a memory. Positive, negative, those parts of are out of control for manufacturers and companies, but the point is clear: when you have a strong brand that speaks to luxury, quality and comfort, your packaging should reflect that. 

Why Packaging Matters

Some might be quick to dismiss packaging as most important for mass produced consumer brands. It’s necessary for boxes to stand out on a crowded shelf, helping customers identify the one they want quickly. Or to catch their eye long enough to consider trying something new. 

But it’s the seed of brand loyalty that transcends economic status. Whether it’s a loyalty to Captain Crunch cereal or to Cartier watches, customers who exhibit appreciation for a specific product still want to feel like they’re part of the club. Cultivating that seed is partly done through packaging. 

Features of High End Retail Packages

high end retail packages

custom luxury packaging

It’s easy to assume what features a cheaper package might feature to cultivate brand awareness. Color is the main one, with graphics coming in second. But when it comes to high end luxury packaging, customers want a little more. 

  • Make it a tactile experience
    If you turned the lights off and ran your fingers over the packaging, what sense would customers get? Utilizing features like embossing, hot stamps, soft touch lamination, and more can stimulate the senses to entice customers in a different way. 
  • Turn the mundane into the extraordinary
    Opening and closing boxes isn’t something that registers with most people. Unless there’s something that stands out in people’s minds about it. Using a unique closure, like magnets or a custom molded snap enclosure, can do just that. 
  • Create contrast
    Light reflects differently on different materials and colors. Using a matte finish with glossy embellishments will draw attention to the various contrasting elements. Or simply mix up the colors, pairing black with white or other opposites that work well together. 
  • Design a pause
    An unveiling is a spectacular affair, and the first time your customers see your product–as their own product–should be as well.  One way in which package designers do this is to add a moment before the *big reveal.* It’s like going through the wrapping paper to get to a birthday present. Your excitement is heightened because you know this is something you want, and the paper is the only thing in the way. Badly designed processes can lead to buyer’s remorse and increased product return rates. All things luxury producers want to avoid. 

Contact Sunrise Packaging

We love talking high end retail packages. Different features work for different industries, and we’ve a bit of experience in the field to help guide you.  Get in touch today!

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Tis the Season: Get a Jump on Custom Holiday &Christmas Packaging

The weather here in Minnesota has been a little iffy, but with the Memorial Day weekend, we can finally say that summer is officially here. Which makes it the perfect time to start considering your custom holiday and Christmas packaging needs, right?

Wait, what? Christmas packaging in June?

Yes, it might sound a little premature to start thinking about the holidays. But, as one of my former professor was fond of saying, proper preparation prevents poor performance. For many businesses (well, except for ice and fireworks, maybe), summertime is a bit slower than the rest of the year. It’s a chance to relax a little bit, look ahead a little more, and gauge what’s coming around the corner. After summer flies by, then it’ll be fall. And as inevitable as tax season, the holidays will be here before we know it. 

Make use of this low-stress period by planning for your custom holiday and Christmas packaging now. The holidays are a high-stress time, from the end of October through the new year. There are a million things to get done before the end of the year–both at work and at home, making balance harder–which wears on us mentally and physically. If that’s not reason enough to start planning now, here are a few more reasons. 

Beat the rush

 

The best gifts take time to craft and create, and the same goes for custom packaging. While Sunrise Packaging prides itself on creating the perfect package for every customer, the best products are the ones for which we have time to work through design, procure materials, and produce to our high standards. It also gives you time to explore the variety of options, and land on the perfect one for your needs.  

Cultivate joy, not stress

Like we mentioned above, the emotional hallmark of the holiday season tends to be more on the stressful than the joyful. Contacting Sunrise today means you won’t have to scramble to find a company that can take on your custom box order at the last minute. You’ll have time to proofread the copy, tweak design, and spend time on the different embellishments and finishing options that will showcase your brand best.

Focus on your priorities

When the holiday crunch starts, you can focus on products and leave the packaging to us. The experts.  Leaving you free to focus on the various implementation, marketing, and everything else the holidays bring with them. Taking care of custom holiday and Christmas packaging now is kind of like giving your future self a little gift, don’t you think? 

We know how to help

Whatever your personalized packaging needs may be, Sunrise can help. Check out our product galleries to start formulating ideas, and let us know when you’re ready to talk!

Custom Luxury Boxes: More Than Meets The Eye

Custom luxury boxes are more accessible than you might think. 

I know, I know. On the surface (literally), most people think of a striking finish with an expensive material. A complicated packaging structure. Something that enhances the aura of exclusivity by being nearly too complicated to open easily. Some marketing ploy might call it ‘delayed gratification;’ we just call it annoying. 

Minnesota’s Sunrise Packaging takes pride in designing packaging that meets the needs of your organization while satisfying customers. Not just satisfying–delighting them. There’s a conception that custom luxury boxes are expensive and maybe just a little too finicky to work for many products. Or, you might just want to flip the idea of luxury into something that’s still well-made, but doesn’t use those cliche tropes. 

Here are some tips to work toward high-end packaging appeal. 

Factors That Make Custom Luxury Boxes 

 

Interactive

custom luxury boxes

Like we mentioned above, sometimes creative packaging errs on the side of confusing. Delayed instant gratification can come in many forms that aren’t annoying or confusing to customers. Allowing users to discover subtle details and functionality can add to their interaction with the package, the product, and your brand. Things like pull tabs, pop-up constructions, tissues, and more can add layers to the unboxing, making it extra special. 

Sound

How aware are you of the sounds around you? Next time you open a box or package, consider the sound it makes. Unwrapping the plastic wrapper of a candy bar, sliding a new phone out of a two piece setup box, snapping open a magnetic hinged box. All of these have different sounds that go with the items, and undeniably there are impressions of value that go along with each. The materials used in constructing your box will affect the pitch (thinner = higher, heavier = deeper), as will the finishing. If you don’t want users to have a high-pitch experience, which can read as cheap, consider that in the starting stages of your project. 

Haptics

Haptic feedback is essentially the sense of touch in any given interface that provides information to the user. You might have noticed in your phone settings an option for ‘haptic’ feedback (usually a gentle vibration or other subtle cue). Video games use haptic feedback to enhance experiences, and it’ll be interesting to see how VR utilizes haptics. But when it comes to custom luxury boxes, haptics is all about the touch, feel and hand positions required to interact with a particular package.

A great test is to close your eyes and interact with a box. Sharp corners and intuitive opening usually speak to quality and luxury; could your box be opened with eyes closed, or does it need power tools to break through?

What Speaks To You?

Ultimately, custom luxury packaging should speak to your customers in ways they can’t quite articulate, but they know they like it. This doesn’t have to mean spending more on packaging than on the product (although you get what you pay for in packaging – bigger budget means better materials). It can simply mean providing an experience for customers that makes them feel special. 

Remembering Prince: Keepsake Boxes

Just over a year ago, Minnesota lost one of its most famous citizens. Prince Rogers Nelson (known as Prince for the majority of his career) died in his Chanhassen home last April. In the time since his passing, remembrances have popped up in different ways. On the anniversary of his death, Minnesota landmarks glowed purple (and beyond Minnesota as well). His ex-wife, Mayte Garcia, has published a memoir. And box sets, like this one which Sunrise created for him, take on the role of keepsake boxes.

Prince keepsake boxes

Custom Promotional Packaging Turned Keepsake Boxes

This custom promotional box housed box set “One Nite Alone…Live!.”  The box contains a thermoformed tray, designed to fit three discs of live music spanning decades. Not only is it a great example of presentation packaging, but the attention to detail is evident. From the piano key-influenced box sides to the thumb holes, aiding the user in opening the package. Ever cognizant of his users, this allows fans to open the box without potentially harming the discs.

How Keepsake Boxes Keep Memories Alive

Keepsake boxes might have a reputation for being the domain of the sentimental. But in reality, it’s simply about holding on to memories that have a tangible representation. Like holding on to concert tickets that remind music lovers of the experience of seeing their favorite acts live. Or an autographed piece of memorabilia. Anything with significance to the owner of the box gives it value and staying power.

Keepsake boxes, or grief memory boxes, can actually help the grieving process. They can act as a central space for people to remember someone who was important to them. In a sense, they can actually contain the grief of a person. This aids in emotional regulation and processing. It helps people face pain and grief instead of avoiding it. When it comes to the passing of mega-stars, like Prince, keepsake boxes can act as connections between people. They increase communication by encouraging contributions, sharing memories, and engaging in a collective, cultural experience.

Personalized and Customized

One of the world’s most prolific songwriters, Prince was known for the level of customization he brought to his craft. Prince’s sense of style and presentation extended past his flamboyant stage presence. He carefully controlled his image and merchandise. Additionally, he was proud of his Minnesota roots, and sought out local businesses to patronize. These albums are ideal keepsake boxes for fans who will forever miss this artist.

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Custom Magnet Boxes Make Perfect Sales Kits

Custom magnet boxes are perennially popular. People love them because, well, if I had to make a wholly-unscientific guess, because magnets are cool. Everyone has memories of being a kid, maybe at home or at school, and being fascinated by how such a simple material could have such a strong pull. The attraction (pun slightly intended) carries through to adulthood. We might sit and play with magnets on the fridge now (although the popularity of magnetic words might indicate otherwise), but we have new outlets for our magnet-fancy. 

Sales kits can come in many forms. We’ve written about them before, but there’s a strong argument to be made for using custom magnet boxes for your sales kits. 

Custom Magnet Boxes & Sales Kits

By definition, a sales kit is a case or folder containing information about your firm or product. It usually contains promotional materials, like brochures, books, samples, maybe a demo on a CD or USB drive. We might argue that all of this sales support material is only as good as the container that holds it. Delivering your marketing collateral in a flimsy folder or a cheap, easily-dented box doesn’t quite send the message you want, does it? 

So the first step would be to increase the quality of your materials. You wouldn’t skimp on your product; don’t skimp on your sales kit. This is a piece that needs to project your values and the quality of your product. It also needs to capture the imagination of your prospective client or customer. What better way to do that than to tap into a rather specific childhood fascination?

Our flagship Netboxes are custom magnet boxes with the layout of a hinged cigar style box with turned edges and a magnetic flap closure. The outside can be customized to the nth degree with digital print, embossing, custom foil stamping, and other options. Add protection and surface space for more content with a sleeve over the box. 

The inside creates a veritable stage for sales support materials. Level up by adding custom inserts, like thermoformed trays or foam inserts. We can create an insert that ensures that your marketing pieces are held in place perfectly. What’s more pleasing than a well-curated and organized sales kit? 

Start Planning

Custom magnet boxes are great not only for sales and marketing kits, but any customer-facing collection. Influencer marketing kits are quickly growing in popularity, and utilizing a magnetic box could be a great way to ensure a highly regarded unboxing on Instagram. Whatever business you’re working to grow, we can help you help you get there with well-crafted sales kits. Especially when it comes to custom magnetic boxes!

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