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!

Thermoformed Custom Trays Add Protection

Thermoforming is a process that allows plastic to be molded to fit whatever it needs to contain. Custom trays are an especially popular application for the process. They offer many benefits–

  • Organization
    In presentation packaging, it’s important for every thing to have it’s place..and for it not to shift in transit. It’s like a fisherman’s tackle box. If the lures and bait are all mixed it up, it causes chaos Thermoformed custom trays for the health and beauty products.and confusion. Custom trays are the perfect way to contain products, samples, etc. in specific spots for consistency and expediency. 
  • Versatility
    No matter what type of product or insert you want to include in your packaging, there’s a custom tray that will work. Trays can be used to keep marketing collateral in place in nearly any kind of packaging. Custom pads, magnetic cigar boxes, binders, the list is endless when it comes to what Sunrise Packaging can heat-seal. 

–But chief among these benefits is the protection provided by custom thermoformed trays.

Custom Trays Protect Materials

From CDs to pamphlets to flash drives, it’s important that your materials arrive in pristine condition.  The durable nature of custom trays ensures that whatever they encase will arrive without a dent or mark. They also defend against other potential contaminants, like liquid or water. 

Thermoformed custom trays, Blister Pack, Blog, RF sealing, heat sealing, clamshell, custom box design, custom thermoformed tray, manufacturing, Products, retail display box, thermoforming, Thermoplastic Materials

Protection against…

  • Physical harm.  It’s a wild world out there. Water and other liquids could ruin labels and packaging; your products could be jostled and chipped at any stage. Custom trays help lower the risk of these defects. 
  • Product fragility. Glass containers are beautiful and go a long way to convey luxury to customers. But it’s fragile. The same goes for some types of plastic containers, and a variety of products that can be easily crushed or their integrity otherwise compromised.  Custom trays add a literal layer to safeguard against this kind of damage.
  • Damage expenses. It’s true that there will always be some damage in transit, but it doesn’t have to happen frequently.  It’s also necessary to plan for rough handling in package sorting. Thermoformed trays can help reduce the possibility of breakage. As well as the expenses incurred from damaged products. 

Learn More About Custom Trays & Thermoforming

Custom trays are just one option when it comes to thermoforming. Custom forming is a service Sunrise Packaging provides according to customer requirements. Every project is unique and designed to your needs; the variety of options ensures that we can create the perfect solution!

Ready to learn more? Contact Sunrise today!

Wedding Planning Binders

Ah, wedding planning binders. They’ve been a standby in an industry that’s incredibly trendy. Where brides (and grooms) spend an ungodly amount of time trying to be more creative, more innovative, more stylish, and so on. All for a ceremony that’s about as traditional as tradition can get. 

However, while brides go Bride Wars and work to out-do each other, wedding planning binders is the source for all the initiatives. It might seem that technology would have replaced the hard custom binder, and in some ways, it has. Websites like Pinterest are must-haves (spawning the term ‘pinspo’ for pin + inspiration) for getting ideas and learning how to DIY. Instagram is another source, as can be evidenced by the uptick in giant walls made of flowers after Kimye’s union. Instagram also allows instant photo sharing via hashtags, so wedding guests can upload and share their favorite informal pics at the event. 

But weddings are more than just pictures and ideas saved to a Pinterest board. There are more elements and sources of inspiration, beyond what can be pinned and posted.  As someone who works in the wedding planning world, custom binders can be a great giveaway to new clients. 

Uses for Wedding Planning Binderswedding planning binders

Getting Organized

The most obvious use is, of course, getting organized.  Include your own templates for the wedding planning, or allow the recipient to customize with their own. Many couples use color coding, custom fonts, and more to stay organized. For added adabtability, include envelopes for loose articles and receipts. 

Saving Samples

A big part of any wedding is the tactile piece. From invitations to centerpieces to colors, it’s important to both feel and see the materials prior to committing. Wedding parties want to see the colors, feel the materials, the embossing on invitations, everything.  Keeping it all one place makes it easier to compare, and also to do the following…

Showing & Telling

It’s ten times easier to show people something than it is to simply tell them about it. Hence the popularity of visual mediums.  Using wedding planning binders gives your clients the ability to show people the exact color swatches, the exact style of program, maybe even photos of arrangements and other tips. Be sure to include something eye-catching from your own business and industry to draw attention as well – this is a marketing tool, after all!

Standing Out In the Wedding Business

Working with weddings is a time consuming, emotionally-taxing role. You’re dealing with many people making big-budget decisions about what may be the most important day of their lives.  Bringing them on board means showing that you care. Whether you are a wedding planner, a caterer, photographer, or some other role, gifting wedding planning binders is literally the gift that keeps giving.  Plus, by incorporating your own subtle branding, website and more, you’re sure to add to your own business as well. 

Contact Sunrise today to start designing your custom binders for weddings! 

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!

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.