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. 

Artisan Liquor Packaging

As you peruse the shelves of your local liquor establishment, you might notice a series of words used frequently in marketing materials. Handmade. Small batch. Craft. Artisanal.  What's it all about, and why is it on my liquor packaging?

In short, it means that these liquids don't come from a mass-produced factory, churning out jugs of alcohol by the tons. It gives buyers a sense of place, a connection to a product, to know that it's rare, or local, or simply imbued with something a little extra special. 

Some might tie it to the general farm-to-table movement; we just see it as taking pride in what you consume. 

Unique liquor packaging

Liquor Packaging Showcases Craft & Company

As a Minnesota local company, we love living in a land that takes pride in everything from turbulent weather to the range of homegrown distilleries, breweries, and wineries in the region. Every one of these alcohol artisans has a story and a mission for what they create. We work to design packaging that showcases their unique perspectives. 

Unique liquor packaging

In the example to the left, the gin company manages to avoid the ubiquitous terms we listed above by using a quirky, funny tone. We embellished their strategy--literally--with deep, rich colors that offset each other. It's a blue tower that's sure to stand out on any product shelf. 

When it comes to box construction, we used rigid chipboard to keep the bottle safe on both shelf and in shipment. You can even add custom foam inserts or thermoformed trays to add additional protection and presentation packaging elements. With the users in mind, they can slip the magnetized flap open to check out the product inside. It's not tricky, it's not dramatic. It's just great design. 

Serving a Growing Market

Great products sometimes have a hard time finding their audience, and this the case sometimes when it comes to liquor. When a consumer is faced with a shelf of vodka or whiskey, it can be overwhelming to choose one. However, one of the most common reasons customers cite for trying something new is that they liked the packaging (no lie). 

Ready to invest in liquor packaging that helps your product stand out without resting on tired marketing cliches? Contact us today!

Healthcare Marketing Packaging Strategies

2017 has been a volatile year when it comes to healthcare, and that has repercussions on healthcare marketing as well. Just as the customer experience, or CX, has become a major factor for other businesses, healthcare has proven to be no exception. Consumers are empowered to shop for the best care and service, and they aren’t shy about letting others know when they’ve had a negative experience. Additionally, the healthcare model in the US is transitioning to one based on transparency, quality and patient satisfaction.

Every change brings challenges and opportunities. DMN3 has identified some of the key marketing trends that could affect custom packaging decisions for the medical industry.

Healthcare Marketing Trendshealthcare marketing

One of the key factors influencing these shifts is the focus on the consumer. In previous years, doctors acted as the key decision-makers. They prescribed treatments or medications, made referrals and acted as the end-all, be-all when it came to health. 

While doctors still serve in that role to a degree, there’s been a shift of power when it comes to decision-making. Here’s what’s happening: 

  • Hospitals are buying up individual physician practices and forming bigger systems. While this allows them to coordinate care more efficiently for patients, it turns doctors into employees. They become part of an integrated system that has to work through channels and people. Doctors can still advocate for things, of course, but they may not make the final purchasing decision.
  • While WebMD might convince you that you have a terrible, terminal illness every time you look up symptoms, it’s a gamechanger for healthcare marketing. Consumers can do a ton of research prior to even setting foot in a doctor’s office. They see a visit as something more akin to a collaboration than a consultation.  This gives both parties responsibility for treatment. 

These factors support the shift originally noted in the MM&M /Ogilvy CommonHealth Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2016.  While doctors are still the primary audience for healthcare marketing, payers and consumers are increasingly targeted. These are the new decision-makers.  Additionally, digital marketing and digital content is becoming more important than traditional channels.

Effects on Healthcare Marketing Packaginghealthcare packaging

Medical device packaging and healthcare packaging is subject to a lot of requirements. Not the least of which are the requirements of a changing market. As the audience for healthcare marketing changes, so do their expectations. As consumers take increased control over their health and making purchasing decisions, the desire for better packaging is sure to follow. 

In the example on this page, Minnesota’s Sunrise Packaging used conventional techniques to design custom boxes that are unique and user-friendly. Magnetic closure is easy for hands of all strength to use while keeping contents secure. The decorations are also kept to a minimum, not detracting from the product but adding to it. Additionally, the custom foam insert keeps the product safe and padded. 

Users want packaging that meets their needs and expectations. The best way to do that is creating a style that is recognizable while innovative. We’ve got the tools to make this happen for you!

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!

Custom Thermoforming Packaging Options

When it comes to thermoforming packaging, there’s more than meets the eye. 

It’s the ultimate in custom packaging, as the pliable plastic is molded specifically for products. This perfect fit is part of what is driving the market for this specific type of packaging. In fact, PRNewswire estimates that the thermoformed plastics market will hit over $16 billion dollars by 2015. Demand will increase from industries as diverse as healthcare to automotive to construction, driven by this style’s unique properties. So what’s so special about this style of packaging?

Thermoforming Packaging Options

There are a few styles when it comes to thermoformed packaging.  Each one has different applications and advantages, and work differently for different products. Here’s a quick rundown: 

Custom Thermoformed Trays

Highly versatile as well as usable, thermoformed trays are precision-formed to provide the highest level of protection for products. They can even be created with a locking mechanism to ensure that nothing shifts or breaks in transit. These custom trays can be inserted and heat-sealed into boxes or binders to hold not only your products, but companion content as well. USB drives, discs, manuals, you name it. It’s important that your customers experience your products in an ideal setting, right? Custom thermoformed trays create that ideal setting, anywhere and everywhere. 

Thermoformed Blister Packaging

Originally used for packaging aspirin, blister packaging is a lightweight, easy-to-open option for custom thermoformed packaging. Blister packaging is comprised of clear plastic housing your product and adhered to a backing like cardboard or foil. While the idea of easy-to-open packaging might not be at the top of your list of considerations, it’s proving to be a main motivator for some shoppers. Driven by the aging baby boomer market, usability is an increasingly large concern, especially for healthcare and medical devices. 

Custom Thermoformed Clamshells

Clamshells are an increasingly popular option for items that customers want to see before buying. For obvious reasons, it’s not always in the best interests of retailers and producers to have customers opening their products, fidgeting with them, and then walking away. By encasing products in clear plastic, customers can see the exact product they’re looking to purchase. And by making the packaging securely tamper-proof, they know that it’s in perfect condition. We recommend adding a printed insert as well for your branding and more marketing real estate!

Learn More About Thermoformed Packaging Options

Minnesota’s Sunrise Packaging has years of experience in this market. Contact a representative today to find out what style can work for your product!

 

Redefining CD Case Packaging With Flashdrives

The reign of the compact disc has passed, but CD case packaging has a little more staying power. 

CDs made headway as more and more homes started buying their own personal computers. They were sleek and shiny, a big step up from the formerly prevailing floppy disks. But like anything, they’re prone to a host of inefficiencies. Quickly scratched. Fragile. Security easily overwritten.  Not a lot of real estate on the disc itself for branding or information. This made their packaging all the more important. Whether a company utilized the standard flip style, a sleeve or something else, this custom packaging protected discs from potential danger. It also created an attractive storage option, not unlike books on a shelf. 

Flashdrives and custom USB drives entered the scene next, and their ease of ease and relative durability have brought them to usurp the place previously held by CDs (and will the cloud trump the convenience of the USB drive? Not until Internet access is stable and accessible everywhere, methinks). But flash drives have more in common with CDs than you might think. While USB drives step it up in most areas–storage, security, accessibility–they can also be fragile with little space for branding on the device itself. That’s why Sunpack created something just for custom flash drives, similar to  CD case packaging: the FlashPad.

College Bound FlashPads for university recruitment, acceptance letters with hard turned edge binding and offset printingCD Case Packaging, Re-Imagined

The old adage holds true: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. FlashPads utilize the familiar CD case packaging style, down to the flip-open cover. But inside, users don’t find a reflective disc, but a foam insert molded to snugly fit a personalized flashdrive. The USB drive can hold whatever information you want to share. The packaging does the hard work of attracting the user in the first place. 

Your custom FlashPad can utilize nearly all the high-end elements we use in boxes and other types of packaging.  Virtually any aspect can be customized or personalized to your company, and any senses you wish to engage.  Let their fingers glide over soft touch lamination with raised embossing. Their eyes can take in the vibrant design and sleek packaging. 

…and that’s all we can really do from our end. If your organization really wants to find ways for taste, smell or hearing to be part of the package, dive in!

Something Old, Something New

While the FlashPad riffs off classic CD case packaging, it brings up to a new level of accessibility. Many newer laptops don’t have CD drives anymore. Flashdrives are becoming the de facto way to share information. 

And our options for packaging don’t stop with the FlashPad. There’s another, sleeker option that works well for more than just customized USB drives (business cards, bottle openers, and more are just a few things that the insert can be molded to fit): the FlashPad Wallet. Mimicking a bifold or trifold wallet closure, the Wallet is a slightly smaller and more compact option. 

Neither of these to your liking? Contact our sales team to start from the ground up for totally customized USB boxes

Creative Packaging Ideas

Think back to the first time you purchased a brand that you’ve come to love. What made you purchase it? Positive reviews? Personal referral? Great marketing? Creative packaging?

Chances are, it was probably a mix of all these things, right? As an organization, you can start to cultivate your brand advocates, generating referrals and reviews, after you nail the last two things. And creating great marketing comes along with creative packaging for your products. 

Packaging is what sells your product. It conveys a feeling, cultivating a longing in your customers. So what does that look like…exactly? Well, it looks different for every product. Which is kind of the point of creating custom packaging design. But we’ve identified a few common trends that are ideal for attracting buyers. 

Creative Packaging Trends

Integrate Patterns

Using patterns in packaging design is a simple and efficient starting point. It can add depth and the perception of texture without the cost of embossing or inlays. Additionally, patterns can be used to evoke specific emotions or ideas. Blue and red stripes will inevitably remind people of the US flag; plaid has rustic or lumberjack connotations. Think through your pattern picks with unbiased audiences to evade any unintentional meanings. 

Think About The CXcreative packaging

We’ve written about CX, or customer experience, a few times before. It’s one of the surest ways to reach the hearts of your customers and start attracting influencers. Customer experience happens on multiple levels. It’s a design aesthetic that’s appealing. It’s including little touches that enhance the product. Check out the note inside SW Basics of Brooklyn’s lip gloss kit.  It shows customers that they care about reusing materials and have a playful sense of humor. It appeals and delights, which is the heart of CX. Custom packaging options like this can include subtleties as well. Things like thumb holes, custom thermoformed trays, or nested turned edge boxes can add layers of pleasure for users. 

Make It A Gift

This is a common packaging design element used by liquor companies. Packaging products like a gift–regardless of whether the purchaser is actually *gifting* the product–immediately makes it more attractive on the shelf. This type of creative packaging doesn’t have to obvious, so halt on the bows and ribbons. Consider more tasteful elements, like an additional simple box or tissue paper inside the packaging. Some companies will even create complementary elements to go with the product, like branded lowball glasses with brandy. Or simply allow the idea of a gift season your creative packaging brainstorming sessions. 

Be Mindful of the Process

While brainstorming can generate many creative ideas, it’s important to bring your packaging producer into the fold early on. Everyone works within a budget, and working with Sunrise Packaging allows us to help frame options that are within the product means. Plus, we have a bit of experience in creative packaging, as you can tell!

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!

Etsy Custom Packaging Tips

The market for handmade goods has never been hotter, and websites like Etsy are reaping in the benefits.  Etsy is an online marketplace specializing in handmade, craft or vintage items as well as supplies. It’s relatively easy to use for both sellers and buyers, and numbers attest to that. In 2014, Etsy had over 50 million registered users, and total sales reached nearly $2 billion through the platform. With that kind of bandwidth, it might sound challenging to break through the noise as a new seller. But that’s where Sunrise Packaging comes in (locally owned in Minnesota). Etsy custom packaging is one of the best ways to retain and attract customers. 

Etsy Custom Packaging Basics

healthcare packaging
This outlet as a seller recently came to my attention when I purchased a small ring from an Etsy seller. It’s not a particularly expensive item, not vintage or anything else like that. I was incredibly impressed by the seller’s attention to detail when it came to packaging, though – so much that I realized how important packaging is, and how that fact might escape the attention of new sellers. 

Apparently, Etsy thinks so, too. They provide a literal handbook to Etsy custom packaging.  Since packaging is, quite literally, our business, here’s our take on Etsy’s suggestions for custom packaging: 

  1. Label your labor
    Etsy hits the ground running with a primer on branding. It’s incredibly important to help customers remember your business in every possible way. Crafting creative labels not only helps your business stick in their mind but makes it more likely that they’ll pass your name on.  Utilizing finishing options like debossing, embossing and other features help ensure that this will happen, or utilize a sleeve box to add some labeling. 
  2. Make Your Packaging Pop
    I couldn’t find hard numbers on what percentage of Etsy purchases are gifts, but the number is probably pretty great. Packaging that is gift-ready takes one part out of the process for your buyer. Besides, even if it isn’t intended as a gift for someone else, it’s kind of awesome to make the customer feel a little indulgent, like they’re getting a gift for themselves, isn’t it? When it comes to classic gift style, a two piece set up box is perfect. 
  3. Get Into Shipping Shape
    The last thing any seller needs is to mess up an order.  Like Etsy reiterates: how inclined are you to return to a seller who messes up your order, or doesn’t package it correctly to withstand shipping? Probably not very likely. Take the time to consider if you need any custom inserts, and the protection products might need. Thermoforming or custom formed trays might be a great way to go. 

Make Your Package Shine

Ordering things online is like the grown up version of Christmas morning. You know packages are coming on a certain day, so the expectations are even higher when you know what to expect. Let every delivery of your product generate that kind of excitement!