KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE
Take some time to check out the competition. Where do they excel? Where do they miss the mark and, better yet, how can you improve on their mistakes? Maybe you can outshine them with unique shapes or a trending substrate, Dohm said. “If you’re looking at [packaging] from the retail level, it is a ‘feel me, touch me,’ type of thing, so you want to make sure the tactile side of it could come into play,” he commented. “There are decorative add-ons that you can put onto it—either raised UV or the soft-touch coatings.” Triangle Printing & Packaging Company currently offers a series of striking pattern UVs.
Understated, but uniquely branded, retail packaging that can be used across several different types of businesses is another growing trend, according to Collins. “Kraft, natural packaging and eco-friendly bags are popular with gourmet food stores, spas, organic markets and gift boutiques,” he observed. “We have also seen an increase in food packaging, which is a perfect fit for bakeries, cultural stores and catering companies.”
DON’T BE A BYSTANDER
Dohm encouraged distributors to get involved early on in the process to ensure the appropriate solution is delivered to the client. “[In terms of the package’s structural design], we, the suppliers, are the architects. When you build a house, you go to the architect first,” he explained. “Then, you go to your interior decorator, who in our business is the graphic designer, so you need to get involved early in order to help control the project—whether it has to be controlled from the standpoint of keeping it within a budget or meeting another objective.”
Include the decision makers in the conversation, Dohm added. That could be the product manager, the operations manager or the marketing team—really, anyone who has a direct influence on the project’s outcome, he said.
WORK AROUND BUDGETS
Is your client on a tight budget? The good news is that “low cost” doesn’t have to mean “low quality.” There are ways to create a dynamic packaging solution without placing an imprinted logo on the product, Collins maintained. “For example, take an affordable, simple, white or brown Kraft bag and add your choice of colored tissue,” he said. “Take it a step further, hole punch a business card and tie a vibrantly colored ribbon onto the bag for added impact.”
Advances in digital printing have created new opportunities for the packaging sector. In addition to allowing for faster speed-to-market and the ability to order in smaller quantities, digital allows distributors to coordinate the customer’s entire brand, look and feel by the other printed marketing tools with the capabilities of the packaging, Collins said. “In supporting the speed, look and feel of the customer’s ‘brand’ within this new packaging, advances in digital printing now enable other printed support materials to match up with highly consistent color and printing treatments to create a highly coordinated marketing campaign,” he noted. “From product to packaging to marketing to branding, the customer can count on [his or her] provider to deliver professional results without breaking the bank.”
Triangle Printing & Packaging Company has firsthand experience with the benefits of digital. “We had a customer that had 3,000 total units, but within those 3,000 units, there were 14 different SKUs, and each of those SKUs had a unique piece of art on it,” Dohm recalled. “So, we were able to print 3,000 cartons with unique art on 14 different pieces of art very competitively.”