How contract packing can deliver a great brand experience
No matter where your customers first see your brand packaging, whether it’s a glossy box standing out on a shelf or a parcel delivered to their door, the experience can leave a lasting impression.
It’s all too easy to consider packaging the poor relation of branding and activation, but the decisions you make at the crucial packing stage deserve total consideration. Here are our thoughts on how to get the best from your contract packing partner to ensure your brand connects memorably with consumers.
- Begin with brand: You want your product’s packaging to reflect the brand experience you are trying to create at all touchpoints. For that, you must approach contract packing the same way you treat brand design. From the outset, think what values you are trying to communicate. How do you want the packaging to deliver this message?
- Handle special occasions with care: Contract packing can flex to suit the needs of the task in hand. By this, we mean the way you approach a “special” run, such as a limited-edition product set, can be set up in a different way than, say, a more functional product campaign like an ongoing FMCG promotion. If the consumer is paying a premium price for the product, they’ll demand more than delivery in a poly bag. This is where elements like hand-finished packing can enhance the customer experience of the product.
- Volume shouldn’t vary quality: Contract packing specialists can handle a wide range of requirements. Sometimes tasks can involve smaller volumes of fiddly components. On other occasions, items will be higher-volume but less complex. The common thread is stock management issues, which require contingency. The trick is to pick a partner that handles any size or scale of engagement with confidence, ensuring the quality of your packed product isn’t diminished and the customer’s brand experience remains intact. All this can be achieved in a cost-effective way with high-quality outputs, as items are packed with care and attention.
- Keep up with consumer values: In an era when word of mouth is so powerful thanks to social media, brand values must reflect the latest consumer values. That extends to the packaging you produce. For example, awareness of sustainability is at an all-time high due to the pollution crisis highlighted by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet TV series. This is an element you must consider in the packing process: what materials are being used and how will your customers perceive your brand because of the product’s packaging?
- Reputation’s wrapped up with packing: We live in the influencer age, where vloggers are often the first people consumers consult and a good YouTube review can be a critical success factor for a product launch, promotion or limited edition. How influencers find the experience of unboxing your product can see it win a thumbs up or suffer a thumbs down. An expert contract packing team will know how to handle such a task with special care. Remember, too, that online buyers might have their first experience of your brand when the parcel arrives at their door. The product posted through their letterbox or handed over must inspire joy and delight for the recipient. Their experience should be worthy of instant upload to Instagram or shared on other platforms for the social media-savvy section of your audience.
Taking all of the previous points into account, it might be time to look again at your packing requirements. The chances are that even though you think your it’s up to scratch, parts of your process could be overhauled to offer a better brand experience to your customer.
Contract packing is no longer just a matter of ensuring a job is fulfilled and a product gets from A to B. Of course that counts, but your brand should also follow the steps above to ensure packing provides maximum impact. Product distribution is not the only way of connecting your brand with your customers: value can be added throughout the entire contract packing process.