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Packaging is a potent way to make a brand statement. While many brands view packaging from a utilitarian standpoint, brands that are in the business of relationship building understand the importance of messaging through packaging. What better way to build brand value than to announce your brand as a gift to the recipient? For brands that are in the process of developing product packaging, it’s important to have a grasp on customer perception in regards to packaging. Here are some insights for your team to have at the forefront when making decisions:

  • 44 percent of consumers say that good packaging reinforces that a certain product is worth the cost.
  • 50 percent of shoppers say they’re more likely to recommend a product with branded packaging.
  • 61 percent of customers say customized packaging gets them more excited to receive the package.
  • 68 percent of customers say good packaging reinforces the idea that the brand they are purchasing from is upscale.

These insights create some very important decisions for brands that are developing packaging strategies. First, there is simply no way around the fact that providing high-quality, strongly branded packaging is going to add to the price-per-unit cost of every item sold. However, using packaging to elevate a brand means some of your marketing costs are being bundled with packaging. In many cases, there is room to spend less in other traditional marketing veins due to the fact that your packaging is “doing the talking” for your brand. Take a look at some ways to elevate your brand with custom gift boxes. For newer brands trying to gain recognition in the marketplace, this really can be like showing up to the job interview in the right outfit.

Invest in Custom Packaging as a Form of Advertising

If you’ve tried to buy ad space recently, you already know that it’s saturated out there. Everything from actual “real estate” in print publications to digital ads on social media are being claimed by brands that are at the “top of the food chain.” That creates a conundrum for smaller brands. Should you really pour money into a saturated marketing medium when you don’t have the capital to necessarily outbid bigger brands? While there’s no reason to necessarily abandon traditional marketing completely, designing a custom box is a great way to tap into an advertising channel that isn’t saturated yet. To achieve this, it’s really important to have a statement-making box. Think of this as your brand’s “Tiffany & Co.” moment.

Everybody knows that something sparkly is waiting when they see the icon of luxury that is known as the Tiffany Blue Box®. In fact, this box is so iconic that the Pantone Matching System actually created a special color designation called “1837 Blue” for the brand. It’s hard to tell if people are even as excited about receiving Tiffany jewelry as they are to simply experience the anticipation that comes from receiving one of these iconic boxes. For today’s brands, a custom box is an opportunity to create a “floating advertising icon” that is seen everywhere your packages go!

Create an Unboxing Experience That People Want to Share

There are entire YouTube, Instagram and TikTok pages devoted to the unboxing experience. Yes, millions of people are tuning in to watch other people open packages simply because they find the experience to be so satisfying. This presents an amazing opportunity for brands that are willing to invest in custom gift boxes. Are you up to the challenge of creating packaging that is so delightful that people actually feel compelled to record themselves tearing into it online? The “satisfaction factor” for unboxing can include things like elegant bows that unwind with grace, a sturdy box that opens in one quick motion and interior compartments that allow for different components or add-on features to be displayed neatly.

Make Them Come Back for More

Perfecting the gift-box experience once isn’t enough. The way to keep customers coming back for more after having an ultra-satisfying experience unraveling one of your brand’s treasures is to offer different options and configurations. While it’s important to keep certain design threads consistent throughout your brand’s packaging, offering different options that are tailored for different products helps to create that custom, come-back-for-more theme that turns each order into an exercise in anticipation for customers. Using packaging to retain customers is a great cost-saving measure because you’re able to generate sales without having to start from scratch with conversions. If your packing experience is so compelling that customers want others to experience it, you’re also gaining sales through gifting without spending any additional marketing dollars.

Include a Keepsake

People love coming home from a great trip with a little keepsake that reminds them of the journey they’ve experienced. To make ordering from your brand feel like an exquisite journey, include a keepsake as part of the unboxing experience. A keepsake can be any sort of branded treasure that ties into your brand. For instance, a company that ships wines may want to include tropical-themed bottle openers that create the feeling of going away on an island holiday. This is a way to turn a purchase into an experience that customers connect with on an emotional level. There is also the sentiment that a brand is “taking care” of its customers with that extra level of thoughtfulness. This really stands out in a world where most brands ship loose items surrounded by awkwardly placed bubble wrap.

Make Sure It Protects the Product

Gift packaging is a genre where form simply cannot outpace function. In fact, disappointment can be amplified if really elegant and complex packaging that builds up anticipation leads into the disappointment of finding out that a product is damaged. It also gives customers reason to pause to consider if your brand’s quality level is all sizzle and no steak due to the fact that you’re spending money on bells and whistles instead of actual quality control.

The first point to cover when designing custom packaging is always product protection. When products become damaged during shipment, you’re creating frustrations for customers by adding extra steps in the purchasing process. Additionally, you’re eating away into your own costs by devoting time to resolving the issue, covering shipment costs and providing a replacement/reimbursement. There is also a lot to be lost through negative reviews and negative word of mouth. A bad review that is seen through Google searches just once a day for 10 years (3,650 days) can easily cost a company to lose $36,500 in sales on a product that retails for $10.

Don’t Focus on Beauty Without the Brand

One of the worst things a brand can do is to invest heavily in eye-catching packaging that makes it impossible for customers to make any kind of specific brand connection. In many cases, an eagerness to create “the best” gift box causes brands to lose sight of the fact that they’re supposed to be developing boxes that are powerful brand reinforcements. It’s actually much better to have packaging that’s less visually impressive if it “connects” with a brand than it is to have a gorgeous box that is divorced from the product it represents. The easiest way to fall into this trap is to use a copycat method to try to recreate the lighting in a bottle that another brand has succeed with when designing your own packaging. For instance, a jewelry brand that perfectly recreates the blue Tiffany box with only some slight tweaking has just wasted its money because the world already has a Tiffany box that cannot be improved upon in any way! Meanwhile, that brand may have missed an opportunity to instead use custom packaging that evokes the sensation of finding stunning jewels that have washed up on the shore of a tropical beach by designing gift packaging that features a sand-colored, weatherworn box with a seashell charm. The bottom line? Find your brand story instead of trying to borrow one from another company that is already successful. Your gift box is the medium for spinning your brand’s long, enchanted story that is going to draw in customers with its newness.

Some Questions to Ask When Elevating Your Brand Through Custom Gift Boxes

Before you invest in custom gift boxes for your brand, it’s important to establish the message you’re trying to tell. It’s also important to anticipate the emotional and practical needs of your customers in the moments they’ll spend with your packaging after your product is in their hands. Here’s a look at the key questions to cover in your brainstorming sessions:

  • What is the customer’s expectation?
  • What are five adjectives that we want to come to mind when our packaging is seen?
  • Based on the value or nature of the product, should scissors or other tools be needed to open the packaging?
  • How can we integrate our logo or colors for immediate recognition?
  • How does our brand’s unique selling proposition (USP) tie into the design of our packaging?
  • How can we add a friendly, thoughtful message with the packaging that seems natural and sincere?
  • How can we inspire curiosity in people who see our packaging?

Don’t forget to tie your brand’s overall messaging and marketing in with your custom packaging. This will make it easier for people to find your brand even if they can’t remember your brand’s name. For instance, a company that sends out a custom gift box full of chocolates that has a very noticeable sailboat on the front should devote some SEO space on its website to phrases like “the company with the sailboat on the box” to ensure search-engine visibility for people who are simply searching for what they’ve seen.