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Seasonal Product Packaging: 10 Tips for Marketing Your Product This Holiday Season

15 Minute Read
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Seasonal Product Packaging: 10 Tips for Your Product Marketing for the Holidays

The holiday shopping season can be a make or break time to determine a smaller business’s success for the year. Many companies struggle with the notion of creating holiday themed packaging for their products.

So, is seasonal packaging really worth it? Will you see a return on investment worth the cost and time of rolling out a new package?

If done correctly, the answer is absolutely.

During the Holiday shopping season, Black Friday through the New Year, you could see up to a 60% bump in first-time customers. It’s also a great chance to convert first-time purchasers to lifetime customers.

Holiday shoppers are spending more than ever before, with the average U.S. consumer planning to spend a record high $906 dollars on gifts in 2017.

average us consumer spent graph

The key point here is that consumers are purchasing through several different outlets. According to Statista.com, year-over-year (YOY) there is a significant increase in the percentage of consumers who are purchasing items on the internet on BOTH Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
spent_thanksgiving_blackfriday

The holiday season is the opportune time to create a great ecommerce packaging campaign and leave a positive impression on a customer base you otherwise wouldn’t encounter.

Where did the Concept of Christmas and Holiday Packaging Originate?

While holiday themed product packaging may seem like a relatively new concept, the act of wrapping gifts has been around for centuries. Originating in Asia, near the 2nd Century B.C. the southern Song Dynasty would gift money to government officials in ornamental envelopes made of hemp, bamboo and rice.

However, in the west, elaborate wrapping of gifts was much slower to catch on. The Christmas card wasn’t even developed until 1843, and took until the 1860’s to gain increased popularity.

The increase in popularity of Christmas cards eventually led to the development of Victorian decorative Christmas papers to accompany the cards. However, these papers were expensive to produce and were only affordable to the wealthy.

With improvements made to print methods in the late 1890’s, stiffer, more rigid “wrapping” paper was available on a much larger scale. It wasn’t until 1917, that the Hallmark, brothers accidentally stumbled onto the modern gift-wrap we are all familiar with today.

The Hall brothers ran out of their popular tissue paper that was common decoration for gift giving at the time. To make up for lost sales they began to sell decorative French paper commonly used for lining envelopes, in large sheets.

These too became popular and quickly sold out as well. Then in 1919, Hallmark began to produce what we know today as wrapping paper.

christmas-presents-01

What Does Gift-Wrapping have to do with Seasonal Packaging for my Product?

In short, people associate happiness with the holiday season and wrapped gifts. A study done in 1992, tested the psychology behind wrapped presents. What the study found was that people who received the exact same present with wrapping paper had a more favorable attitude towards owning the item.

The participants who received the wrapped gift rated it more favorably than the same gift given unwrapped.

The reason behind these results has to do with the emotions that we commonly associate with the holiday season and receiving gifts. A time commonly thought of for happiness, prosperity and family, people generally recount the holiday season as a joyous and happy one. Throughout childhood and into adulthood we are essentially training ourselves to associate the holidays with happy times.

Therefore, when we receive wrapped gifts we associate them with happy and joyous times.

This same thought process can be applied to your product packaging. If it works for presents, why not apply this same psychology to consumers shopping for presents during the holiday season.

It is an opportune time to associate your brand with positivity and happiness.

Through packaging you can create a positive brand image and encourage consumers to purchase during the holiday season.

1. BUILD A NARRATIVE BETWEEN YOUR BRAND & THE CONSUMER THROUGH STORYTELLING

Your brand tells a story. You should use your story as a means of putting personality and animation into your customer’s perception of your company.

Use this opportunity with your holiday packaging to share stories about emotion, family or unity.

A great package shouldn’t just attract a shopper’s eye, it should convey a message that makes a potential customer want to connect with your brand. That’s how loyalty is created.

Starbucks does a great job with this every year, with their annual release of holiday cups. They aim to make a connection between their brand and their community. And it works!

Starbucks has one of the most loyal customer bases you will find today. They rank 3rd out of 293 companies in likelihood to repurchase, according to Customer Experience Matters.

A popular design trend in 2017, is storytelling through illustrations. What is most important to your customer base should be conveyed in your brand image.

Starbuck’s newest holiday campaign features their popular red holiday cup with two illustrated hands surrounding a white heart. The white heart is designed so customers can write the name of a person in the heart to spread love through their social media #GiveGood campaign.

Something as simple as adding a human touch to your packaging campaigns can build meaningful narratives and potentially be shared on one of the many social media platforms that customers use today.

starbucks

2. GET PURCHASERS TO SHOP BY IMPULSE

Whether you have a seasonal product or not, if you implement Holiday or Christmas packaging it has been shown to increase overall product sales. If consumers associate your product with holiday festivities it makes them far more likely to make an impulse purchase.

Planters Peanuts does a great job at this, essentially rebranding their normal assortment of mixed nuts as a holiday collection in a limited-edition tin that changes each holiday season.

Try to think about your packaging from the perspective of the consumer. Planters has a newly designed Holiday themed package, while many of its competitors opted to keep the same traditional “Assorted Nuts” package they use throughout the year.

Which do you think a consumer is more likely to impulse buy for a gift? Probably the one packaged as such!

Not only does it encourage impulse buys, it also creates excitement and generates brand loyalty to consumers who know each upcoming season the newest Planter’s Holiday Collection will be available.
planters-01

3. CREATE A FRIENDLY AND FESTIVE BRAND PERSONALITY

Besides brewing a great beer, Karbach Brewing Co. does an excellent job of creating a packaging experience that puts you right into the holiday spirit. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out, a seasonal brew, brings all the holiday cheer you could ask for while still reflecting their brand’s fun, bright image.

You should try to keep your brand’s message and aesthetic consistent while designing a package that is festive and evokes the feeling of the holidays.

Karbach Brewing Co. accomplishes this through a fun reference to a cult-classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story, while still maintaining a style of design that keeps their beer label on brand. Christmas themed packaging helps to show your brand’s character while still appearing friendly and open.

Their use of Holiday themed imagery, and color scheme evokes the sense of holiday through its packaging.

Where Karbach Brewing really wins with their holiday packaging is the movie specific imagery and quotes. They took the concept of holiday packaging and made it fit their brand in a very unique and memorable way.

On brand, seasonal packaging creates memorable experiences for consumers. Premium Holiday themed packaging causes consumers to connect with your brand and reinforces the fact that your brand is for people like them.

yule_shoot_your_eye_out_Karbach

4. CONSIDER WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON AND DIFFERENTIATE

Make it a habit to study what your competition is doing year-round. But especially take notice near the holiday season.

It allows you to see and understand what design elements, if any, they are incorporating into their seasonal holiday packaging. This is a good time to evaluate areas of opportunity that your competition isn’t taking advantage of.

Focus your efforts on capitalizing on these areas of opportunity and mold your holiday packaging around these differentiators.

Now is also an opportune time to look at less successful brands within your industry to get an idea about which design flaws you should avoid for your holiday packaging. Make a list of these elements that your competition is doing right and wrong, and then create a strategy for your own product’s Christmas packaging.

5. LOOK FOR SEASONAL PACKAGE INSPIRATION OUTSIDE OF YOUR INDUSTRY

It’s no secret that Heineken has their Christmas Packing down to a science. They are continuously coming out with inventive ways to sell their brand during the holiday season. Their newest Magnum Bottle package design looks to spread holiday cheer through its unique size and shape.

What makes this year’s holiday packaging distinctly different from previous years is where the inspiration came from.

Champagne is commonly regarded as the drink of choice for holiday events and occasions. While beer is great for get togethers, it doesn’t have the same gravitas as a flute of champagne does.

So, what did Heineken do? They borrowed the feel and inspiration of the champagne industry and applied it to their brand. The result is something truly original and completely eye-catching.

heineken magnum bottle

6. THINK OF THE ENTIRE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND HOW YOU CAN BUILD YOUR BRAND EACH STEP OF THE WAY

As digital marketplaces become a more significant hub for purchasing each year, it’s important to think of your entire customer journey. While some 60% of shoppers will be new to your brand, you can’t expect every one of them to find your brand or ecommerce website organically.

Think of the first interaction your customer has with your product, to the final interaction. Then ask yourself, how many customer touch points can you create to differentiate your brand and product from the competition this holiday season?

The implementation of a premium package can translate into long-term brand loyalty way past the holiday season.

It’s important to keep in mind, that many customers are receiving orders almost every single day. While the Amazon brand is well known, their boxes are plain and relatively boring. This may be the perfect chance to show your brand’s fun Christmas spirit.

In a wall of brown boxes, dare to be a little different!

box_packaging_example

7. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF ONLINE SHOPPING FOR SEASONAL PACKAGING

People simply don’t do their holiday shopping in the traditional way anymore. Online shopping is here, and it’s not planning on going anywhere.

This year Cyber Monday sales are projected to hit $6.59 billion dollars in sales. Making it the biggest digital shopping day in U.S. history, with a 16% increase in sales over last year.
More shoppers than ever are forgoing the hassles of in-store shopping for the ease of online shopping.

With more digital shopping comes more marketplace dominance. Many consumers begin their shopping experience on marketplace sites like Amazon, Facebook, or Etsy. While you may have your product available for purchase on these platforms, and the consumer who buys your product may love it, the downfall often comes with the overall brand experience.

Consumers remember purchasing your product through say, Amazon.

They don’t remember they bought it from you with Amazon as the middle-man.

The best way to avoid this pitfall and leave a positive branded impression during the holiday season is to create memorable packaging.

online shopping image

8. BE PERSONAL WITH YOUR BRAND’S MESSAGE

Make your packaging your own. It should match the voice and feel of your brand. If you can get your customers to identify with more than just a product you’re selling, they are much more likely to come back and purchase again.

Show your company’s personality and style and don’t be afraid to connect with your customers on an individual level.

It may seem like a simple gesture, but a personalized note can pass the feeling of the seasonal gift-giving spirit from you to your consumers.

personalization_packaging

9. DON’T CONFUSE YOUR CUSTOMERS

When creating seasonal holiday packaging, it’s important to look at your product line as a whole and come up with a solid campaign strategy. Creating custom packaging is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly and one that requires a good deal of planning.

Before you send your packages to print it’s a good idea to get several sets of eyes to look at your packaging campaign and design. You see and deal with your brand every day. Essentially, you are that brand in a way.

So, you may feel or see qualities of your brand that others may not quite understand or “get.”

If you can get your packaging into a focus group before mass production, you may gain valuable insight as to what works and what doesn’t. The last thing you want to do is spend large amounts of time and money on packaging that misses the mark.

Take for example, soft drink giant, Coca-Cola. In 2011, they changed up their red cans to a white and silver design featuring polar bears. The design change was part of a larger fundraising campaign that aimed to protect the polar bear’s Arctic Habitat.

What Coke did not anticipate was the backlash from its consumers due to the confusion the newly released packaging was causing. The issue was that the cans looked so similar to the silver design of the Diet Coke can that people were mixing the two up.

The confusion eventually led to Coca-Cola pulling a large portion of its 1.6 billion manufactured cans 2 months earlier than scheduled.

While Coca-Cola had honorable intentions with their packaging campaign, they didn’t evaluate their entire product offering to look for possible design overlap.

coca-cola

10. CHOOSE QUALITY MATERIALS & UNIQUE PRINTING TECHNIQUES WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR PRODUCT PACKAGING

When creating seasonal holiday packaging, always use the finest materials that you can afford within your production budget. Skimping out on materials can lead to an array of problems farther down the line.

For one, you want quality materials that can hold up to the rigors of the holiday bustle. There are many more packages being shipped, moved and sorted during the holidays. Get something that can withstand the environment your product is going to live in during the season.

Many customers are influenced by the package of the product they are going to potentially buy. It’s important to remember that the person buying the gift necessarily isn’t going to be the one enjoying the product. They may be buying for other people and first impressions matter.

For many consumers, the outside packaging reflects the quality of the product inside. So if you design a cheap looking holiday package, consumers are likely to think your product is cheap.

Luckily, there are many affordable options when it comes to printing. Digital printing, like we offer at LabelValue.com is considered inexpensive compared to traditional print methods. Coupled with short run capabilities, it means you won’t get stuck with a surplus of last year’s Christmas packing. Print only what you need with on the fly changes to design.

The holidays, although busy, can be a time of growth and success for your brand and business if planned correctly. Seasonal packaging can be the difference between making it or breaking it. Be sure to plan ahead, give yourself plenty of time for production, and the end result should leave you jolly!



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