Thursday, May 2, 2013

Packaging Your Story

For decades, the big guys have been successful in marketing on their name alone, touting that they are the brand generations have trusted.  Their products are proven to work and people continue to buy them because that's what they were raised on.  Your brand too can be a name they trust but that trust will first need to be developed.

There has been a notable movement towards the local and organic selections.  Organic sections in the grocery store are growing and some products are migrating to the regular isle. On the heels of movies such as Food, Inc. and King Corn people are trying to enlighten themselves on the origins of the products they buy. They're reading the labels, visiting websites, and if well earned, giving you the much coveted "thumbs up" on Facebook.

Where do you start? Your biggest marketing angle in the beginning is you.  Where did the idea first take root and how did you grow?  Where are your products made and what kind of people make them?  What kind of environment are your products produced in?  Is it a happy one? When your product is still one in a sea of many, you need to lay it all out.

Developing a loyal customer following is often similar to forging a friendship.  You need to be interesting of course. A sense of humor wouldn't hurt.  Perhaps a joke or funny quip on the label? Shopping can be a boring task so why not entertain them as their slogging through the isles? Appeal to their sensitive and empathetic nature and tug on their heart strings a bit. Do you have a charity that your company actively supports? Will a portion of proceeds go towards that charity? Encourage customers to check out your Facebook page and website. Take note from Chiquita Bananas, in 2010 they asked their customers to submit their own designs for their infamous blue banana sticker.  Customers then voted on their favorite from the 50 finalists. The campaign targeted a younger demographic and earned customer loyalty by allowing them to participate in defining their brand.

How can all this be reflected in your packaging?  You need to develop an identity.  Give them colors and a logo that will be easily recognizable for repeat visits down the isle.  Once they've spent the time getting to know you, they should be able to find you when they need to.  Think about what you believe in as a company and make sure your package and decoration reflect those beliefs.  If your product has natural or local ingredients then best to choose packaging that is locally manufactured as well.  Be transparent in all aspects. Offer company insight on the label and package it in a clear PET or glass container so your customers can see what they're getting.

Don't be afraid to let it all hang out.  Often in an attempt to tell people all the wonders of your product you forget to share why you care so much.  Your product is your passion and you worked hard to bring it to market.  Your packaging just like yourself should leave a memorable first impression.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flairosol. An Aerosol alternative

My boss set this pretty little thing on my desk last week and I've since been enamored with it.  As I've said before, I appreciate beautiful packaging but I need it to "Do" more for me.  I want it to reach a higher pedestal of packaging where it doesn't just hold the product but makes our lives easier and our world a better place to be. That might be over-shooting it a bit.  Moving on....Allow me to introduce the Flairosol!

Flairosol is a dispensing system that operates much like an aerosol can minus the harmful propellants and VOCs.  It consists of a fully recyclable bag in bottle and a reusable dispensing head.

Here's how it works:
 The liquid is drawn up through the dip tube and then brought into chamber which holds a specific amount of liquid.  The chamber is pressurized allowing for a continuous fine mist spray.  The spray lasts about 2 seconds though the packaging can be customized to hold more liquid and thus spraying for a longer period.  The consumer can also repeatedly pull the trigger to create a continuous spray comparable to the aerosol.  

Due to continuous restrictions on VOCs and propellant for aerosol cans, this offers an environmentally friendly alternative.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hitting the Border

Stepping outside of my ordinary realm of topics, I've decided this month, I will tell a packaging story that is a bit closer to home....

Several years ago longtime friends Paul Werni and Scott Davis got together and carried their passion for spirits across the border to Wisconsin.   The distillery is located near the 45th parallel (halfway between the north pole and the equator) where some believe true vodka grain is grown.  It is shared by other famous spirit producing regions including Burgundy and Bordeaux. They use only the finest grains from a local farmer and practice slow artisan distilling methods to embrace the flavor of the land.

They wanted the bottle to tell a story about the geography, distillery and the people who produce it.  To really show the product and the color, they stayed away from a label and kept the graphics to a minimum, displaying mainly the border symbol, name and a white screened strip on the bottom where they can later write the proof for each small batch.  The border symbol represents the bridge they cross everyday to work that connects the two states. The bottle itself is a traditional heavy weighted, bulge-neck whiskey style bottle manufactured in the Midwest. The leather tags are a link to the cattle which are fed the stripped mash from the distillery and are a symbol of the hard work put in at the distillery.  The hides were sourced from the local Red Wing Tannery and sent to a local artisan to craft the tags.  The bottles are all hand dipped in bottle wax melted in Paul's wife's crock pots. The wax reinforces that the whiskey is a handmade artisan product.

   Packaging Logistics, Inc.
Leather Tags
   Red Wing Tannery & Leatherworks







Thursday, June 28, 2012

Non-stick Ketchup Bottes

Extracting the last bit of ketchup from an almost empty bottle has always been a challenge.  Everyone has their own method from banging the side of the bottle to inserting a butter knife.  As soon as this additive created by MIT students goes to market, those days will be in the past.  This super slippery coating called LiquiGlide, made up of nontoxic materials makes even the most viscous liquids slip out of the container like water.  It can be applied to all sorts of food packaging--though ketchup and mayonnaise bottles will likely be their first targets.  It may seem like a narrow focus but when you think about the market size-just sauce alone is a $17 billion market.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Plastic: A life cycle in numbers

In light of earth day, I'd like to offer some information on the life cycle of plastic. What it is and what recycle symbol is stamped on the bottom.  What it is usually found in on it's first cycle as virgin material and what it can be later on after it's been recycled.  I realize I'm a little late in the game but it's something you can take with you throughout the year!

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)

Commonly used in soft drink, juice and water containers.

Picked up through most curbside recycling programs.

Recycled into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, (occasionally) new containers

PET plastic is the most common for single-use bottled beverages, because it is inexpensive, lightweight and easy to recycle. It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products. 

Recycling rates remain relatively low (around 20%), though the material is in high demand by remanufacturers.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Commonly used in opaque plastic milk and water jugs.

Recycling: Picked up through most curbside recycling programs, although some allow only those containers with necks.

Recycled into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing

HDPE is a versatile plastic with many uses, especially for packaging. It carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many goods.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or V)

Commonly used for cling wrap.

Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers.

Recycled into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats

PVC is tough and weathers well, so it is commonly used for piping, siding and similar applications. PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don't let the plastic touch food. Also never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Commonly used in grocery store bags and plastic wraps.

Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.

Recycled into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile

LDPE is a flexible plastic with many applications. Historically it has not been accepted through most American curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it.

Polypropylene (PP)

Commonly used in “cloudy” plastic containers such as baby bottles.

Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.

Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays

Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers.

Polystyrene (PS)

Commonly used in disposable cups and Styrofoam.

Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.

Recycled into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers

Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products -- in the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. 

Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists' hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle. Most places still don't accept it, though it is gradually gaining traction.


Usually polycarbonate. Commonly used in most plastic baby bottles, clear plastic sippy cups and water bottles.

Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.

Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products

A wide variety of plastic resins that don't fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Location, Location, Location!

So you found the perfect bottle for your product at the right price with no lead time!  What you didn't realize is that the bottles are stocked in New Jersey and they need to get to Portland. You were so excited to find the bottle you wanted in stock with no lead time but the transit time is looking like 5-7 business days.   Did I mention your shipping 4 pallets of glass?  That can add anywhere from $1500-$2000 depending on the day and the carrier.  This is often the last thing decision makers think about when it comes time to place an order.  

Of course, the case is not always as extreme.  Plastic is a lot lighter and therefore cheaper to ship.  Some carriers, while the distance is great, have preferred lanes and travel them frequently, reducing the cost. This is why it's important to work with several freight company's and brokers and compare rates. If you work with a packaging distributor, they offer products from a large network of manufacturers located throughout the US, Canada and other countries and are able to offer the product that meets many of your needs while keeping these pesky freight costs down.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Can Do Packaging of 2011

It's time, once again, to recognize packaging that can do more for you.  I'm looking for packaging that's not only pretty but has some special talents. With all our efforts to go green and our focus where it will end up when we're done with it, why not have a little fun with it while it's around?

Pringles Speaker Can 

Remember those Pringles commercials of the 90's with the slogan "Once you pop you can't stop"?  Kids danced around popping the pringles can open, making a beat with the noise.  This summer Pringles encouraged it's customers to take that sound to another level.  With the purchase of three pringles cans, you could get a speaker that popped onto the top and used the can to amplify the sound.  Just plug in to your ipod and you've got some free speakers.  I'd probably put this on repeat:


A Cardboard Vaccum Cleaner 

Designed by Packaging student Jake Tyler, this unique vacuum cleaner begins it's life as part of the retail box and pop into place around the motor housing.  Parts are cheaper to replace than their plastic counterparts and it's easy on the landfill.  It's design motif is also fully customisable with a few sharpies and your imagination. 

Five A Day Packaging

Sainsbury Juice is aiming to make it easier to get your five servings of fruit or veggies a day.  The transparent windows on the side allow the consumer to measure one of their five-a-day while showcasing the color and freshness of their juice.