Posted by: brandextenders | September 3, 2010

To Package or Not To Package; That is the Question

Which of these scenarios do you think would be more impressive?

  1. At the end of a meeting you are given an oblong gift box by one of your vendors as a way to say thank you for your business. You open the black two-piece gift box and inside is a handsome metal pen with your vendor’s logo subtly laser-engraved on the cap and nestled in a die-cut piece of black foam.
  2. At the end of a meeting you are given a cheap plastic pen with the vendor’s logo imprinted boldly on the barrel with the same thank you for your business.

Unless you have a thing about cheap plastic pens, chances are you would be much more impressed by scenario A vs. B as would most people. And yet scenario A is the exception rather than the rule.

I am just as guilty as the next promotional marketing salesperson in not up-selling some sort of packaging along with the promotional products I sell. Smart suppliers have begun to either include a gift box or other packaging as part of the price or at least offer it as an option.

I can already hear skeptics saying it’s not eco-friendly to use packaging; it adds to the landfills and creates more waste in an already wasteful world. I whole-heartedly agree which is why I suggest, when practical, to use packaging that can be recycled easily or can be put to use in another capacity. Sometimes one product can actually be the packaging vehicle for another gift.

An example of this is a gift I did for a hospital and their employees last May for National Hospital Week. As a thank you to each of their employees every year this hospital gives a lifestyle gift that is less than $10.00. The idea they choose from those we provided this year was a collapsible cooler inside of which we placed a picnic blanket with their logo embroidered in one corner. These gifts can be used together or separately and left the recipients with not only two memorable products, but no packaging to throw away as well.

I’ve seen sports bottles used to package a T-shirt; delicious food gifts packaged inside a wooden box that can be used afterwards to store pens and pencils or a lap top sleeve or tote bag used to house the hand outs and marketing materials from a trade show or other event. The products you can use for packaging are limited only by your creativity.

Tiffany’s created what some would consider the ultimate in packaging for their beautiful jewelry and other expensive bobbles. Their unique blue boxes came about in 1837 when Charles Lewis Tiffany decided all of their packaging and advertising would employ the same shade of blue. In time their luxurious boxes became as coveted as what was inside and many used them for other purposes around the house if for no other reason than to show off the fact they had received a gift from Tiffany’s.

Packaging doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but it can give a gift that cost a couple bucks the look and feel of something much more expensive. Perception is reality and the reality is a gift nicely packaged is perceived much more favorably than a gift that is not.

With 24 years in promotional marketing, Steve Woodburn works with clients to develop creative and measurable solutions that solve their marketing needs using promotional products, uniform programs, online company stores, point-of-sale initiatives and rewards and recognition. He builds long-term relationships and becomes a trusted advisor and consultant his clients can turn to for all their brand extension needs. You can reach him at:

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