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!

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! 

Brokerage Welcome Kits

Becoming a successful broker has a relatively simple foundation: clients. Not only attracting new clients, but retaining old ones at the same time. Providing customized customer service can be a lot to balance in addition to staying on top of new rules, regulations, trends and other business facets.  Brokers need all the help they can. By investing in well-thought out brokerage welcome kits, you can start to pare down on some of the work. 

Brokerage welcome kits help clients feel special while giving them the information they need to take ownership and feel invested (to a larger extent). Welcome kits can also function like a pre-determined follow up plan…the most important part of maintaining those positive first impressions that won their business in the first place. Empower Brokerage has some great tips for putting together a custom welcome kit that’s sure to help retain clients. 

Building Brokerage Welcome Kits: A Checklist

Create a checklist

It might seem a little meta that the first item on our checklist is for you to make a checklist. Making a checklist of the items you need to go over with a client is a great way to get your ducks in a row. It ensures that nothing is missed. Plus, it helps you see your collateral and business in a new way. You might realize that there are redundancies or more efficient ways to share information when it’s all laid out in front of you. 

Policy documents

Whether this means ID cards, literal documents, their application, etc, include copies in your welcome kit. Advise them to keep their copies in a safe place. Don’t forget to include information on what their policy includes…and any upgrades, updates, and possible changes they need to be aware of with a timeline.  Consider investing in some document holding, custom inserts to keep everything in place and in a presentable manner. More on that later!

Contact information

welcome brokerage kits

Hopefully, your customers already have your business card. Adding them to your brokerage welcome kits is a nice touch, as well as adding other people in the office. Front desk, if available, plus any other customer service numbers or websites that they might need to access.  It’s an increasingly personalized touch to include bios of the others in the agency. 

Access tips

On that last note, do you have an online portal or some other type of self-service set up? Include information and instructions on how to set up new accounts and where they can access FAQs.  You can also include information for how they can post online reviews, an increasingly important (and sometimes overlooked) strategy for bettering your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. 

Agency swag

Everyone likes freebies, and they like them even more when they’re useful and/or aesthetically pleasing. Invest in some calendars, pens, Frisbees, whatever you can work into a plug for your agency.  The custom box for your brokerage welcome kit will also help you in this area. 

Custom Boxes for Your Welcome Kits

Work with Sunrise Packaging to scope out specifications for a truly one-of-a-kind welcome kit design. There are multiple options, from a cigar box, presentation-style of packaging to crafting custom inserts for all your materials to utilizing gorgeous finishing options.

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. 

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!

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!

Premium Packaging Drives Demand

The importance of packaging has always resided in its connotations. A plain brown paper wrapping might appear innocuous. But in previous decades, it might have hid a salacious purchase (at least, that's what David Hyde Pierce's 'Down With Love' character has led me to believe).  In 2016, people might be a little less inhibited, but packaging is still just as important. Especially premium packaging. In this era of internet shopping, subscription boxes, and a rapidly-growing marketplace, retailers need to find ways to hook customers and, ideally, turn them into repeat shoppers. Products need to find ways to stand out. According to a recent survey, investing in premium packaging is a one of the best ways for companies to do this. 

Premium packaging

Premium Packaging as a Hook

Dotcom Distribution recently released a survey on driving customer loyalty.  They surveyed nearly 600 shoppers to find out what makes them tick. Or more accurately, what makes them return to certain retailers, and what makes them take their business elsewhere. One of the top ways in which retailers can retain customer is by investing in premium packaging, or custom retail boxes. 

Tips to Retain Customers

According to Dotcom Distribution, consumers look for and reward: 

  • Same day shipping options--in fact, fast shipping was even more important than product quality.
  • Premium packaging. Boxes that make products feel like opening a present, or turn a mundane process into an event (check out Sunrise's custom box section for ideas). 
  • Error-free and transparent fulfillment process. Understandably, customers want to receive the correct order, and like to know when something is processing, then shipping, and when it's going to arrive. 

However, customer loyalty can be fickle. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed chose not to return to a business with whom they felt the shipping and fulfillment process wasn't clear enough. However, that negative experience might be redeemed with premium packaging. If a company offers premium packaging, 40% of respondents would give the organization a second chance, and 50% would be more likely to refer them as well. 

The key takeaways are two investments. The first lies in designing a process that keeps the customer in the loop.  Automation through a CRM can handle this. The second investment should be in product packaging. Specialized packaging demands specialized solutions, which is what Minnesota-based Sunrise Packaging does best. Bring elements of innovation to both your fulfillment and your packaging, and it's all but certain that you'll grow a repeat customer base. At least, that's what Dotcom Distribution has found to be true!

FlashPad Wallet: A Most Versatile Solution

Happy first day of September, packaging world, and that means a new special is on the table. The FlashPad Wallet is one of our favorite products, and it's one of our client's favorite packages, too.  Here are some of the ways in which we've optimized this *multum in parvo* product (that's "much in little" if you need to brush up on your Latin)!

FlashPad Wallet in Higher Ed

Engaging students is the number one job of any higher education institution. No matter the department--academics, student life, the library, and so on--they want to make sure that every student has information they need to be successful. The University of Nebraska used a FlashPad Wallet to engage incoming freshman on several levels. The custom design is eye-catching and clearly branded; the recipient is affiliated with the college. 

Flashpad wallet

The space on the outside contains targeted messaging as well as social channels for the user to check out. Open it up, and there's more information as well as a key. Not just any key, but a USB key. And, not to drive the metaphor into the ground, but it's a key to knowledge, a new life on campus, and to the next phase of their lives.

Mortgage Lenders & the FlashPad Wallet

FlashPad Wallets are ideal for replacing stacks paper marketing materials or other types of information. As a thank you, a mortgage lender might provide a new homeowner with maps of the area, coupons, home maintenance services, and more. By condensing all that information onto a flashdrive, they've cut down on paper as well as managed to keep their brand at the forefront with full color printing that's vibrant and inviting. Using a flashdrive also makes it easier for them to keep the information current by using hyperlinks instead of printed material.

Flashpad wallet

FlashPad Wallet = Versatility

These examples come from several organizations, but the versatility and level of customization is the same across the board. The FlashPad Wallet die-cut cavity can be customized to hold anything you need--the above examples both hold flashdrives, but also gift cards, commemorative coins or tokens, beer bottle openers, the list goes on. The only criteria? It has to fit the dimensions. The design be a bifold or trifold, depending on the amount of content that should accompany the item.

Flashpad wallet

The FlashPad Wallet can change they way customers perceive your business, and Sunrise Packaging is currently the only producer of these items. And, for this month only, there is no artwork fee. Contact Sunrise today!