There's Still Time to Design Your Way into a Great Holiday '19 Season

Seasonal Packaging: Brand Recognition at Your Fingertips

How important is seasonal and holiday packaging to brands? Considering that packaging has become the primary face of any brand and product, regardless of the time of year or season, it is safe to say it is extremely important. A company’s brand tells a story—it adds personality and animation into the consumer’s perception of that company. As brands compete for attention in an ever-growing market of products, packaging has become key to helping brands rise above the clutter and there’s no better time than the holidays to put a limited edition special pack or promotional kit in-stores/online. There’s juuusssttt enough time to start and finish a project efficiently (adding to your ROI) if you get going in April.

A Quick History Lesson

While holiday or seasonally-themed product packaging may seem like a relatively new concept, the act of packaging gifts has been around for centuries. Originating in Asia, around 2nd Century B.C., the Song Dynasty would gift money to government officials in ornamental envelopes made of bamboo, hemp, and rice.

In the West, elaborate packaging was much slower to catch on. The Christmas card wasn’t developed until 1843, and took until the 1860’s to gain increased popularity.

Especially around Christmas, the increase in popularity of cards eventually led to the development of Victorian decorative papers to accompany the cards. These papers, however,  were expensive to produce and were only affordable to the wealthy.

As gift-giving became more accessible to the masses, packaging became more popular as well. Ranging from wrapping paper and ribbons to printed boxes and unique containers, more varieties of packaging were created to satisfy holiday and seasonal needs.

So, what are some of the best ways to rise to the top during any season, holiday, or event? Here are a few steps to determining how to choose the best packaging for your target customers, all year round:

1. Choose your holiday (or season, or celebration…)

Depending on your product, some holidays will be more effective for holiday packaging. Foods and beverages normally do well on all occasions—Valentine’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, for example. Other products might find it harder to make connections as easily, but could make a huge splash with seasonal milestones that are aligned with their brand voice and point of view.

As an ever-increasing number of celebrations pop up on a global scale, like Pride week, Women’s Day, Earth Day, and China’s Single’s Day, products and packaging can find ways to attract more consumers and boost brand recognition and loyalty.

For example, Skittles found a way to support Pride week with their “Give the Rainbow” packaging, where they changed their rainbow-colored candies and packaging to white.

Image: AdWeek, June 2016

Image: AdWeek, June 2016

 2. Order appropriately

When planning seasonal and celebratory packaging, there are more things to consider than design. As exciting as it may be to showcase great packaging for the occasions, be sure your forecast is dialed.

There are ways to avoid this, of course. One way is to include packaging changes that can be removed, such as a label or ribbon. Another way is to make limited time only GWP or PWP special-packs that are easy to gift and typically under $29 retail encouraging busy shoppers to buy more than one. 

3. Show them something special

During high-purchase holidays, vying for shoppers’ attention is competitive. Adding a touch of creativity to primary and secondary packaging designs are ways to rise above the noise.

Nutella proved this with its idea of offering customers the chance to personalize jars with their names or to purchase original packaging designs labeled as “limited editions” (7 million designs, to be exact)—to great success. We’d love to see them do this again with multiple trial-size snacks that are fun to dip — would be great social media fuel.

Image: DeZeen, June 2017

Image: DeZeen, June 2017

Image: The Body Shop, 2018

Image: The Body Shop, 2018

4. Make it sustainable or at least skew eco

Sustainable packaging is also a way companies can reinforce special packaging—for holidays, celebrations (like Earth Day), or an all-year commitment, especially with millennials and Gen Z, though not limited to them. Consumers are more conscious than ever about reducing their ecological footprint and demanding companies provide more environmentally friendly packaging. One way to respond to this is by offering reusable packaging such as ornate bottles, good TSA bags, dopp kits, clutches, or hinged cases. The Body Shop is known for this, often presenting its gift ranges in tins that buyers can put to other purposes once they have used the product itself. 

5.  Create something luxurious

Clearly, product packaging for holiday, seasonal, and celebratory events must be extraordinary and special in some way. To stand out, you need a great packaging design for the products you provide (primary) and the secondary packaging so you can boost sell-through, paying attention to both the visual and tactile elements.

Luxury packaging is an art, and a custom box can be the canvas. Here are some practical tips for creating experiential packaging that keep consumers coming back for more:

  • Visual: Choose the right color! Simply put, the right color sells more. Human eyes are especially attuned to the subtle influence of color and, of course, it helps if the color you imagine during the design is the actual color that prints. Special, custom colors and finishes are a great way to give packaging a one-of-a-kind, distinctive look. Those custom colors stand out in wall of brown boxes, greens and reds and Christmas time, or the standard “natural” colors that line the shelves.

  • Tactile: The sense of touch is important, and as Vivabox has said many times before, it is usually one of the only physical touchpoints a consumer has with a brand. Human beings are wired to respond to physical touch, so the experience is important to brand recognition and loyalty. For example, because consumers are influenced by the look and feel of packaging when making purchase decisions, a well-designed custom box can be embossed (raised lettering or artwork) or it can be debossed (recessed), it can be coated in felt, RPET, papers that feel like wood or linen, and so much more.

Image: Agnotis Baby Care, 2018

Image: Agnotis Baby Care, 2018

Every consumer is influenced by packaging. It’s important to remember that the person buying your product is more than likely buying it for someone else. Since they are buying for other people, first impressions matter, mainly because many consumers consider the outside packaging to be a reflection of the quality of the product inside.

Although holidays and certain seasons can be busy, your brand and business can benefit from these packaging strategies, if planned correctly. Vivabox can help your brand meet modern packaging needs for any holiday or seasonal event.