As we approach the holiday season, when gift shopping and gift giving become a priority, it’s hard to notice anything besides the variety of bags, totes, and sacks used by retailers to package and promote their merchandise. The exterior says something about what is inside. It’s the first impression of the gift. It is easy to conclude that if it’s wrapped without any thought, the contents of the package may not be as important. If the package is well-conceived and packaged with care, the product comes across as personal and special.
First-rate boutiques and emporiums alike don’t put your expensive purchase in a generic plastic bag. The attire is cradled in tissue paper and placed in a branded bag complete with a carrying handle and an accompanying story. The tote has become a status symbol for those with discerning tastes. Impressions are formed within seconds upon first sight. Gifts that aren’t wrapped, or are wrapped carelessly, don’t convey the same value as those wrapped with purpose. Much like food, the eyes eat first. “If it looks good, it must taste good,” you think, forming a preliminary judgement before the first bite.
Apple redefined packaging with many layers and touchpoints within the package. This made opening their product as much of an experience as the product itself. From the sleek dove-white exterior to the subtle pop of color on the inside, we’ve come to expect nothing but novelty from this world-renowned brand. The sedulously engineered box is even designed to open slowly, increasing the anticipation of what lies inside. The buzz surrounding a new iPhone is like the anticipation and excitement felt by Frank Parker in A Christmas Story. Locked and hidden beneath layers of packing material, the “fra-gee-lay” prize was expected to be so precious that its value was immeasurable.
But packaging isn’t just for the smaller trinkets, the things you can wear, or the items that live in your house. Heavy machinery, automobiles and boats are all expensive items that deserve their own recognition in the packaging world. As they travel miles to get to their destination, the freshly minted items are assailed by everything mother nature can offer them. Snow, rain, and dirt attack it from the outside while moisture, mold, and mildew creep from the inside. If the product is only tarped or wrapped without foresight with shrink wrap, what does it say about the manufacturer? Don’t they care?
Larger products need newer and more innovative packaging that will boost the image they want to convey about their brand and product’s quality. In fact, a recent survey by the World Packaging Organisation shows over 60% of customers believe that new packaging material is either very important or critical.
Protective packaging is just as important as the engineering that went into manufacturing the product. Don’t stop your quality control at the end of the production line. Show your pride in the quality of your product even as its new owner checks out and takes it home. Just like expensive retail bags convey quality and discerning taste, so too, can your packaging. Imagine your product traveling hundreds of miles on the open road. Millions of passersby gaze at the innovation behind your packaged and branded product. En route to its destination, and protected from the elements, your product is like a grander version of the iPhone box.
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