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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Packaging Your Brand for Success

When most people hear the word “brand” they immediately think “logos” - but in fact, branding is so much more than that. A brand involves blending the image, purpose, and focus of your business, with your core marketing message, and coming up with something which will stick in the minds of people who encounter it. It is who you are and what you do, packaged neatly, clearly, and memorably. A logo is only one element that works to reinforce a brand. In a moment, we’ll talk about another tangible way to package your brand and make your brand memorable.

Practically any business or professional can benefit from a strong brand. But branding is even more important for micro businesses and competitive ecommerce businesses, because they face tighter competition and have to work harder to be seen and recalled. A well executed brand and identity can help them compete on a larger playing field, appear more professional, and stand out from the hordes of competitors.

Once you know how you want to be remembered, your image and your message needs to communicate that. The image can simply be a consistent look used in all your correspondence, a logo that marks everything that comes from your business, and the identity you use on your web site and brochure. The message can be a tag line, your 30 second "elevator speech," and woven through the content on your web site.

A logo is only one manifestation of brand identity, used to create a memorable impression, but it is useless if you have not clearly defined your audience and the focus of your business. In fact, a logo isn’t even a requirement of a brand as there are plenty of clearly branded businesses using only consistent fonts or colors in their marketing collateral.

Every concept has a color and every color represents certain feelings and emotions. For example:

• Blue can be conservative, healing, soothing
• Brown can be traditional, conservative
• Yellow is celebratory, happy and alert
• Purple is regal, mysterious and spiritual
• Red is exciting and attention getting

Using color can be a powerful way to brand because with just a glance, your customers will be reminded of your business. The human memory is symbolic and abstract – in fact, memory experts often advise connecting a color, feeling or even song with something, in order to trigger a recall. As a business owner, you can take advantage of color psychology to choose the color to evoke the feeling you want – and then reinforce that color as part of your brand. This brings me to the new idea I want to share with you for branding your business!

If you’re in the type of business that sends products to your customers, you are familiar with packaging. Clear tape… brown Kraft paper… Bubble Wrap… YAWN. When your product arrives, people first look to see who sent it – read the label – and then tear it to get what’s inside. It’s job over, the packaging goes in the trash. And your brand – that probably went right over their head. If this is how YOU package things, you might be missing an incredible opportunity to build your brand!

Say you have branded your business around the color blue. You’re sending out your product to a customer wrapped in blue Bubble Wrap, with a big blue bow. With your label on the outside and bright blue packaging, you’re sure to bring a smile to their face.

Or, you send someone a copy of your book, in a box sealed in bright red tape – wow – who ever would expect that in the mail? The next time they see the delivery man coming with a box like that – they’re going to know instantly know who sent it, aren’t they?

Maybe you have a small package to send to your best customers – a copy of your signed book or CD, or a few samples of your newest product. Instead of sending it in a plain bubble envelope, you could use one of the many sizes and colors of Bubble Wrap envelopes, and really get their attention!

Customers notice these little details, believe me! If you take the time to delight them with your packaging, they’re going to want to receive things more from you than if you sent everything in clear tape or brown boxes. It is those details that make the difference when they are thinking about where to buy from again, telling their friends about you and anticipating the delivery.

Another benefit you might not realize is this: say your customer decided to spend a large sum on a “non essential” product for themselves. Not as a gift, not as a business write off but just because they wanted to. And in the days prior to arrival, they might even be thinking “Yikes – what did I just do?!” But then when it arrives it comes looking like a gift, wrapped beautifully, splashed with color. How can they possibly feel anything but wonderful at that moment?

You could also take advantage of this up front – and tell people right in your literature or web site what they or their recipient can expect. Make it part of the stellar customer service, the extra mile, that you go.

That, right there, is what a positive brand is made of.

I’ll bet you’re thinking this is going to cost more than you want to spend on packaging. You would be surprised! Colored Bubble Wrap actually costs the same as plain. You can get tissue paper and packing tape in nearly every color imaginable. Obviously, the packaging is a necessity – if you ship products, you need packaging. Why not take advantage of this chance to stand out, brand your business and please your customer?

(c) Eileen Parzek, 2005

Eileen Parzek is an award winning graphic designer and writer providing digital and print graphic design and web design services. Always found at the intersection of information, creativity and technology, her business, SOHO It Goes! Business Design Studio ( helps small businesses make a big impression, increase their reach and grow.

May be republished with full bio and credit link to