Creative Composition

Marketing That Works

MA 11 23 Blog 2

5 Tips for Avoiding Packaging Missteps

When properly designed, great packaging protects the product, grabs the shopper’s attention, and becomes your in-store salesperson. Common oversights, however, can cause this opportunity to fall flat. How can you avoid common packaging pitfalls and maximize your on-shelf opportunities?

  1. Ensure structural integrity. Failing to consider the carton’s durability and strength requirements can lead to structural collapse, inadequate protection of the product, and compromised user experience. Don’t overlook this critical element. Conduct thorough assessments of the product’s weight, dimensions, and fragility, ensuring that the structure provides optimal protection and functionality throughout the product’s lifecycle.
  2. Don’t over-complicate design elements: Another common oversight is the tendency to overcomplicate design elements, resulting in cluttered or confusing designs. Complex graphics, excessive text, and abundant visual elements can overwhelm consumers and dilute the brand message. Instead, prioritize clean and concise designs that convey the product attributes with clarity and elegance.
  3. Ensure brand consistency. Inconsistencies in color schemes, typography, and visual branding elements (colors, fonts, imagery) can lead to a disconnect between the packaging and the overall brand identity, weakening brand recognition and consumer trust. Before designing any packaging, clearly understand your brand’s established visual identity (if you aren’t sure what your visual identity is, let us help you establish one!) and ensure that all of your design elements align.
  4. Consider the user experience. Product packaging may be beautiful, but if the user needs help opening or removing the product, the experience flops. Ensure that your designs include user-friendly features, such as easy opening and closing mechanisms, clear instructions on the outside of the package, and intuitive product placement within the package itself. Conduct comprehensive user testing and incorporate consumer feedback to optimize the user experience and create packaging solutions that delight rather than frustrate.
  5. Incorporate sustainable practices. Today’s consumers want brands to be kind to the planet. Neglecting to incorporate eco-friendly materials, recyclable components, or sustainable production processes can diminish the brand’s reputation in customers’ eyes. Prioritize eco-friendly and recyclable materials and integrate sustainable production methods to demonstrate a genuine dedication to the environment and resonate with conscientious consumers.

These may be common design pitfalls, but they are avoidable! With a little extra effort, you can elevate the quality and protection of your folding carton packaging and foster consumer engagement, brand loyalty, and sustainable brand growth at the same time.


MA 11 23 Blog 1

Why Storytelling Works in Marketing

No matter what is happening around us, most of us will stop and listen as soon as someone starts telling a story. That’s the power of storytelling. It works in marketing, too. People care about the details of your product’s costs, benefits, and specs, but once you start telling a story, that story has stopping power that can be more powerful than facts and figures.

Here are three tips for communicating a great story in your next direct mail or multichannel campaign.

  1. Exude honesty. Buyers can quickly sniff out a gimmick, so engage them through authenticity. Be real, honest, and genuine. Think honesty only hurts you? Look at Avis. In the 1960s, the company was lauded for its campaign “We try harder,” which catapulted the #2 rental car company from 18% market share to 34%, not by acting like the market leader, but by advertising its status as an underdog that had to work harder to win its customers.
  2. Showcase your brand’s personality. Does your brand have a personality? It should! Look at some of the best brand storytelling in TV commercials. They often have spokespeople with characters that buyers can relate to. We all laugh at Allstate’s “Mayhem” character but relate to him, too. Likewise, our heartstrings are pulled when the Green Mountain Roasters coffee grower from a remote mountain village in Sumatra, beaming under his floppy hat, extends his hands to show off his beans. These are characters (and stories) people identify with and remember.
  3. Create characters that your audience will root for. Even characters like Mayhem are likable. You feel bad when a tree crushes Mayhem, or he is run over by a car. You root for him to be okay, just as you want your family to be. As you root for the character, you subconsciously root for (positively identify with) the brand.

What might this look like in your marketing? Create characters your audience can relate to and tell stories about them. Say you sell adventure gear. You might create the fictitious character Riley, the fearless explorer who never backs down from a new adventure. Or, if you are a makeup brand, you might create Maya, a trailblazing makeup enthusiast who embodies the spirit of self-expression and individuality. Tell how Riley’s Adventure Gear backpack saved the day during an unexpected winter storm or how your new eyeliner collection helped Maya win 10,000 new followers.

Storytelling doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be authentic.  So, use direct mail, email, and mobile marketing to tell different aspects of your brand story. Then make it a great one!

MA 10 23 blog 2

Staying Top of Mind with Customers: Strategies for Lasting Engagement

In a world brimming with choices, staying top of mind with customers is a coveted position. It means your brand is the first one they think of when they have a need or desire. But how do you get top of mind? Let’s look at four ways to get (and stay) in this coveted position.

  1. Find Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The foundation of staying top of mind is a clear and compelling Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your USP defines what sets you apart from the competition. To discover your USP:

  • Identify your brand’s strengths, whether it’s quality, affordability, innovation, or exceptional customer service.
  • Know your target audience’s needs, pain points, and desires.
  • Study your competitors to find gaps in the market that you can fill uniquely.

Once you have your USP, consistently communicate it in all your marketing materials.

  1. Be Consistent in Design

Visual consistency is essential for brand recognition. Your logo, color scheme, typography, and overall design aesthetic should be uniform across all marketing channels. Consistency breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust.

  1. Be Proactive

To stay top of mind, you need to stay out there. This requires producing a steady stream of high-quality content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests. Share this content on your website, blog, social media, and email newsletters. Host events, webinars, or workshops to showcase your expertise and connect with your audience.

Consistency in your messaging and content is critical to establishing your brand’s authority and reliability.

  1. Use Multiple Touch Points

To reach a broader audience and increase your chances of staying top of mind, use multiple touch points, including direct mail, email, social media, and events. A multi-channel approach ensures that your brand remains visible to a diverse audience.

Staying top of mind with customers is a dynamic process that requires a combination of unique value propositions, design consistency, proactive messaging, multiple touch points, and impeccable timing. Remember, top-of-mind status doesn’t happen all by itself. It’s something you have to create.

MA 10 23 Blog 1

The Power of Sustainable Packaging Materials

As consumers actively prioritize sustainability, many brands turn from plastic to paper-based packaging to align with their customers’ values. As part of this commitment, many are also speccing environmentally certified substrates. What are environmental certifications, and how can they enhance your brand image and reputation?

Environmental certifications let your customers know that the materials used in your packaging meet strict sustainability standards. These certifications indicate that the fiber was responsibly and sustainably sourced in ways that also support biodiversity and protect ecosystems.

Brands can choose from various reputable certifications, each with its unique focus on environmental stewardship.

Here are the three most common:

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC is an international non-profit organization that sets standards for responsible forest management. FSC-certified forests must meet rigorous criteria related to the environmental, social, and economic aspects of forest management. The FSC label indicates that the wood or paper comes from responsibly managed forests that use practices that support biodiversity, protect indigenous rights, and maintain the long-term health of the ecosystem.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Another well-known certification program is SFI. Primarily active in the United States and Canada, SFI focuses on promoting sustainable forest management practices that include harvesting practices and practices relating to water quality, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat while supporting local communities and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). PEFC is an international non-profit organization that provides a framework for the mutual recognition of national or regional forest certification schemes. PEFC does not have its own forest management standards but rather endorses and recognizes the standards of its member countries or regions. It emphasizes customizing criteria to local conditions and is active in multiple countries worldwide.

How can selecting packaging substrates with one or more environmental certifications benefit you? By doing the following:

Demonstrating corporate responsibility. Consumers today actively seek brands that embrace sustainability. Designing environmentally certified packaging indicates that you are doing just that.

Building trust and credibility. Environmentally certified substrates send a clear message to consumers about a brand’s authenticity. Consumers are likelier to trust a brand that walks the talk and invests in eco-friendly practices.

Aligning with customer values. Utilizing environmentally certified substrates creates a shared value system with ecologically conscious buyers, fostering customer loyalty.

Differentiating from competitors. Adopting environmentally certified substrates sets your brand apart from competitors and positions you as an industry leader.

Designing with substrates with environmental certifications such as FSC, SFI, and PEFC is a powerful way to improve your brand image and foster consumer trust. Environmental certifications provide a tangible assurance of that commitment. When their badges are incorporated into your packaging design, they speak loudly to your customers that your sustainability values align with theirs.