Send the Right Message with Your Business Packages

By Margot Carmichael Lester, Staples® Contributing Writer

You’ve thought of everything: business cards, signage, web design, even apparel all bearing your logo and brand colors.

Well, almost everything. Whether you do a lot of mailing and shipping or just a little, don’t overlook the opportunity to reinforce your brand image with every package you send.

It's a nice way to say a deeper thank you to the folks who choose to give you their hard-earned money,” says Amy Weirick, president of Weirick Communications, Inc., in Columbus, OH. “Customers have so many choices, so it really helps to create loyalty by setting yourself apart from the fray by making a more personal connection with them.”

Dawn Kasper Gibel, owner of Inspired by Dawn, a women’s accessories shop in Fox Chapel, PA, agrees: “Small businesses have to work a little harder to try to carve out a distinct niche for themselves, and that niche can be reinforced through their packaging. It's another opportunity to further define the brand for your customer.”

Here are some excellent examples of small businesses using packaging to send the right message. Try one or more to strengthen your brand.

1.    Custom Packaging. Royce Leather uses branded boxes and packing tape to impress customers and deliver a marketing message even as the package sits on a desk or front step. “We pride ourselves on distinguishing ourselves from the rest of the pack,” says William Bauer, managing director of the Secaucus, NJ–based company. If branded boxes will bust your budget, spring for custom packing tape, which serves the same purpose at a lower price point. “Branded packing tape is the epitome of executing a first impression with class,” he notes.

2.    Labels and Stickers. Give your logo additional exposure by sealing interior packages with branded stickers or seals. And use exterior mail/ship and return labels that also bear your logo to indicate the package is from your business. “We use customized labels on hand-delivered and shipped goods,” says Kristina Cox, owner of Houston’s Celebrate & Communicate. The label bears the company’s logo, website and return address.

3.    Tissue or Filler Paper. Establish a cohesive look with the tissue or filler paper that wraps or cushions items. Royce Leather uses papers with logos, but if money’s tight, use a plain paper in your brand colors. Either way, this attention to detail strengthens brand awareness by matching the colors found on your website, hangtags, stickers, etc.

4.    Samples. Get additional branding oomph with a small product sample. Katherine Shorter, owner/baker at Memphis’ Creating Awesomenessity, includes a couple of extra cookies with each package she ships. The gesture is an extension of her business values. “Adding something extra, even something small, lets customers know that companies are willing to give back and that the relationship is just as valuable as the purchase,” she says. “I think that more than ever, the values of a company are important to sustainability of the brand. Consumers tend to trust and prefer companies that operate ethically and with sincere intention for their customers.”

And while we’re talking about sending the right message, don’t forget to send a more literal message by including a thank-you note in each package. A branded notecard or preprinted thank-you card shows you value the business. At the very least, make sure your packing slips and invoices offer a message of gratitude for customers’ business along with your brand logo and colors.

“Packaging doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to represent your brand,” Gibel says. “Branding is about consistency at every customer touchpoint. Without branded packaging you're missing an opportunity to bring your brand alive for your customer in their home or business. Pennies per package can set your company apart from the competition and build brand preference.”

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