Goodbye High School, Hello Welcome Kit

Springtime is more than a season of new beginnings. For those completing high school, it’s the season of gowns, tassels, and warm cheese at graduation parties.  As the class of 2016 leaves high school behind with literal ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ college becomes the next new frontier. Things just got real, so to speak. The excitement of getting accepted to a university might be slowly replaced with fear of the unknown. After all, for many kids, this is the first time they’ve left home for a sustained period of time. They might not know anybody, and they’ve just said goodbye to the friends and classmates with whom their entire social circle has comprised of up to this point. This is the perfect time for the freshman student experience folks to kick in, and send the welcome kit.

welcome kit from the University of NebraskaWhat’s a welcome kit?

Glad you asked. A welcome kit is the introduction to the institution. It might be sent all at one time, like opening a giant, college-themed gift, or it adopt a more just-in-time model where accepted students learn more gradually, and at times which it makes sense to perform actions like completing the FAFSA, registering for classes, things like that. However, while the materials should be helpful and informative, they should also impart the core values of the institution.

 

In this example (recently created for the University of Nebraska – Omaha), newly-accepted students received a small, pocket sized folder, welcoming them to the institution. Note that it identifies them as a student by associating them with the university’s mascot and iconic red and black. The die cut cavity inside is a key-shaped USB drive. On the USB drive are materials that might have formerly been printed out. A new student guide, checklist, things that previously cost the institution a pretty penny in paper, ink and postage, now condensed into a keepsake package.

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welcome kit from the University of Nebraska

This folder kit not allows the institution to save money (and not a few trees in reducing paper), but also helps guide the new Maverick a bit more. By placing materials on the USB drive, you can highlight certain things digitally where, in paper, it wouldn’t be possible. As the incoming class are also digital natives, this way of accessing information is more natural to them. It also provides the institution the opportunity to share things with the student in a way that meets their preferred learning style: reading, listening, and/or watching.

Some might feel like the tangible element of receiving a packet in the mail is lost, and that valuable real estate for information-sharing is cut down. I would counter that argument by looking at how Nebraska optimized the back of the folder kit with all the different ways to keep in touch with the institution (social channels figure prominently).  The design is done in such a way to enhance the presentation of the package, and not detract from it. Sunrise takes pride in crafting a box design that fits the needs of the customer.  This style–a trifold–could hold a variety of things.  Coins, gift cards, USBs are just the tip of the iceberg.

And isn’t that what going to the university should be – just the tip of the iceberg?

What is Clamshell Packaging?

A clamshell, in packaging, is more than just something that Venus stood upon.  Clamshells are formed clear plastic packages that have one or more hinges, and may include a hanger tab so that the product can be displayed from store hanging pegs.  All sorts of items use clamshell packaging, from electronics to toys, medical supplies, and even sports equipment.

Although clamshells can be made different ways, the fact that it has the option of multiple hinges may give the final distributor more display options.  If desired, retailers can even stand multiple-hinged packages flat so that it can be easily displayed on store shelves without pegs, on counters, or in windows.

Sometimes difficult to open, clamshells are popular for retailers because of the increased security of the package.  They are popular partly because they are so difficult to open in the store!  Clamshells also offer an attractive, functional look, where the product inside and surrounding literature can be easily viewed.

Although clamshell’s are not the only packaging option out there, they are extraordinarily popular and easily recognized.

Innovative Packaging Tips

As discussed in earlier blogs, new packaging can lead to an increase in sales.  However, sometimes it’s hard to know what path to take in terms of innovation.  Here are a few tips from Peter Renton’s article in Packaging Digest that discuss different innovative options along with some real world examples.

Create a Reusable Package

Pom tea is unique in design, and exceptionally eye-catching.  Renton’s article discusses the truly original design:

“The boutique beverage market is mature and extremely competitive, so you might think there are few really new ideas when it comes to packaging. You would be wrong. POM Tea has created something truly different. For a start the product itself is different – it is tea infused with pomegranate juice. But it is the packaging that is remarkable; the drink is packaged in a regular tall drinking glass with a lid and a clear shrink wrap label. It says on the label: Remove the label, keep the glass.”

Add a Little Extra to Your Packaging

Renton’s article points out Amy’s pasta sauces, specifically that “it looks like the way your grandmother would package it, and you can’t go down the aisle of pasta sauces without noticing it.” Fans of Amy’s products would agree.  All of their packaging is simple, usually with appetizing pictures. And their products for a gluten or wheat-free diet are exceptional.

Merge Two Packaging Concepts
Renton also discusses the Anheuser Busch bottles.  Wow – what a great idea  to make a beer bottle out of recyclable aluminum!  From being a brand that is known for being less exotic than others, they have certainly stepped it up in the class and style factor!  It would not be surprising if these bottles lead to new customer sales.

For more innovative packaging tips visit:

Packaging Digest


Steps to Improve Your Packaging

Looking for a step-by-step guide to help you improve your packaging?  The following will help you to find the weaknesses in your packaging and improve them for more effective packaging and higher product sales.

1. Look at your current packaging.  Don’t try to convince yourself of how it works.  Ask yourself honestly how it can by improved.  Does it accurately reflect the product? Is it best working to your product’s advantage? Does it make sense?  Make sure the changes you make are beneficial to the product and keep your brand consistent.

2. Ask for an outsider’s opinion. Hand your product packaging over to someone who knows nothing about your product or packaging.

3. Look at the competition.  If your product is sold in retail stores, go to the actual store and look at similar products.

Improving your packaging can increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.  It can also boost sales.  Using these tips to brainstorm about your packaging can lead to positive results for your product, brand and company.