Meet Minneapolis Sports Packaging

Minneapolis, Minnesota hosted the 2018 Super Bowl at US Bank Stadium. And we're all hoping that it's just the start of major sporting events looking to Minnesota as a viable location. Not to mention the potential to provide local sports packaging for these mega-events!

We're set to host the Final Four in 2019, and with the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) Sport Event Symposium here last week, there's potential for a whole lot more. The event is a networking opportunity for garnering interest in where a sporting event will be held. Minnesota has had a good amount of luck with the event. It's where Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant made contact with the right people to bring the ESPN X Games here for four consecutive summers. 

Sports Packaging & Events

With over 9000 meetings happening between parties through the event, it's a place where big things are decided. As Minnesota moves into the forefront of hosting major events, from NFL championships to baseball all-star games to golf's Ryder Cup and more, the economic impact will grow.  Expertise from all areas will be necessary to ensure continued successful events. 

In a past post we detailed the Super Bowl impact on the area, particularly on brand activation. However, when it comes to sports packaging, Sunrise Packaging is definitely an expert. 

soccer sports packaging

When it comes to sports, presentation is a big part of the conversation. It's the foundation for marketing and advertising, and all teams want their clubs to be presented as the best. At Sunrise, we've completed projects for a variety of professional sports teams, focusing on different elements. Custom season ticket packaging, campaigns targeted to university alumni, and more. We're able to bring ideas into reality.

Kentucky Sports Packaging

Sports packaging can utilize different elements. In a project for the Minnesota Vikings, we created a unique style of box with a gate fold opening, wrapped in purple (of course!) and stamped with silver foil. It's bold and classic, just like our team's strong focus on Viking lore and history. In contrast, our projects for universities tap into a different mindset. We want to echo the excitement of college games, the contagious enthusiasm from students and different traditions of each campus.

Meet Bold North Sports Packaging

Sunrise Packaging is honored and proud of our Minnesota heritage. If your organization is bringing an event to Minnesota, look to us for your custom packaging needs. Contact a representative today to get started

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!

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.

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.

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

Cue Magnetic Closure

The best products are the ones that solve problems. Innovation can come in any size or material, and we love learning about new products and figuring out how we can help build a brand.  We can design a package  or companion piece that is evocative of the product it's designed to compliment.Whether it's magnetic closure, a colorful insert, or a special treatment for edges, Sunrise Packaging can help bring out the best in your product. 

Magnetic Closure & CueMate

This recent creation for CueMate gave us the chance to create a custom sample kit for a product launch. CueMate is a mobile cue holder; instead of placing a pool cue in a rack or a stationary holder, this allows players to set their cue down and move it with them. Quality cues need to be stored upright. Even leaning them momentarily against a table or a wall can result in gradual warping and damage to the cue.

This is where CueMate comes in.  It's a product devoted to maintaining an investment. Consumers can buy cue holders that match their flooring, pool table or decor. They're made to fit into the lives of the people they serve. 

So how do we convey this in a sample kit?

Magnetic closure for cue mate
Magnetic closure for cue mate

We pride ourselves on creating the perfect companion piece to any product. For something like CueMate, where the focus is on a well-designed solution to a problem, we want to imitate that. For their sample kit, we incorporated a clean design that includes all the elements necessary to draw someone in. The brown shading on the pad references the various wood options without being overt, and the faded words add a subtle design without being distracting. 

Flipping open the pad takes a little more effort that it appears at first. The unexpected weight of the magnet closure adds luxury as well as added security (these samples won't fall out accidentally). Aiding that is the die-cut insert, precision-designed to ensure a place for every sample and a sample for every place. The folder design gives CueMate space to elaborate on their product while still giving the majority of focus to the samples.  Magnetic closure is a great way to secure products while adding a touch of class to any product. We've said it before, but it's still true: magnets make everything better. 

Custom pads aren't the only thing we enjoy designing at Sunrise.  Every project is unique and as such, demands our personalized attention. Whether you're planning a Kickstarter for your product or a rebranding, contact us today to create something that makes your product even better. 

Influencer Kits & Advocacy Marketing

Influencer marketing, or influence marketing, is a form of marketing that focuses on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. Think of it as a response to the changing social atmosphere and outlets available to people. Anyone with Wifi and well-utilized device (it doesn't even have to be a computer in this mobile age) can reach millions via Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, whatever channel they prefer. Savvy businesses are trying to engage with these people in different ways to promote their products. This usually takes the form of influencer kits.

Influencer kits are a new take on a sales kit. Rather than specifically *sell* directly to a consumer, these kits are designed to appeal to a very specific market segment. They should include content that speaks to influencers and, by proxy, their audience.  Construction of the kit should also embody the brand. Typically, a cigar style box is used since it creates a kind of stage for the products. 

Create a Strategy to Maximize Influencer Kits

Research Your Influencers
You can't send out influencer kits without knowing who your influencers are, can you? Brandwatch has a few suggestions for tools you can use to find influencers. At the bare minimum, they need to be involved in your field or have a relationship with your brand.

You subtly enter their sphere by engaging with their content. Comment in a positive way on blog posts and like Instagram pics. Even as a brand, you don't want to come across as robotic or disconnected. That's pretty much the opposite of how to build relationships. 

Cigar boxes make ideal influencer kits

On that note, take the time to consider their likes, dislikes, and personality features. Do they exemplify your brand, and the message you want to get across? Use this information not only to create your influencer list, but to start putting together an influencer kit that speaks to them. Start with a blank slate, a custom cigar style box. The trays inside can be customized to whatever products you choose to share. The flip-up top (which can be magnetized for extra oomph) is the perfect spot for instructions, tips, ideas, hashtags, any extra information. 

TL;DR

  1. Research to find influencers within your market segment 

  2. Contact potential influencers to gauge their interest, any fees, etc.

  3. Send influencer kits to your carefully-selected list

  4. Continue to cultivate the relationship and monitor ROI

Contact Your Influencers
Connect with them where they are for the first contact. As users and email filtering have become more sophisticated, it's less and less likely that they'll respond to an email sent out of the blue. It's like cold-calling: no one likes it, and it's more annoying than anything. If they're primarily active on Instagram, send a DM; LinkedIn, send InMail, and so on. If they're interested, they'll let you know. 

This is also a good time to figure out how much you're going to spend on influencers. Some can demand a pretty penny for a post featuring your product--see the Kardashians' promo posts, which are rumored to cost somewhere into six figures--and others might do it for the products alone. Take it all into consideration when putting together the product part of the kit. Be honest with your intentions, too. 

 Cigar box presentation kits can be customized with a few different kinds of inserts, so products are guaranteed not to shift or break in transit. Precise, diecut foam inserts are elegant and recommended for more fragile products. Thermoformed trays provide a frictionless fit and ideal accompaniment for electronics and inserts. 

Send Out Influencer Kits
By this point, you know what makes your influencers tick and built a positive relationship with them.  Now's the time to deliver--literally--and the impress the pants off of them. Your products should speak for themselves, but you can delight them from the second they receive the influencer kits with some added luxury customization. Cigar boxes can withstand a lot of our custom options, including embossing, foil stamping, silkscreen printing, and more. Check out Sunrise's gallery for more ideas

Post-Influencer Kit Relationship

Like any relationship, no one wants to feel used and abused. Continue to cultivate the relationship and show that you value them as consumers, and by extension, their followers as well. It boils down to creating mutual respect. Even if you don't plan on sending out more influencer kits (to the same people, at least), find other creative ways to engage with them. 

And, of course, the important part of any marketing initiative...calculating return on investment.  Compared with pre-influencer kits numbers, how have things changed? Is brand awareness up? Are you connecting with a broader audience? Are sales up? Compile the metrics you use to measure success, and plan from there. And for help creating your influencer kits, contact a Sunrise representative today!