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The Rise of the Custom PackageBy Kim Beswick General Manager, Memjet Office and Desktop Systems
Customizable packaging has gained steam over the last few years. Consider the "Share a Coke" campaign from Coca-Cola, or the "My Bud Light" campaign that encouraged consumers to personalize their own bottles. Both initiatives leveraged unique, specialized packaging to extend their brand image and engage with customers on a more meaningful and entertaining level. This engagement is no longer limited to big brands, however. Now, small and medium sized businesses can benefit from specialized packing and labels, due to the rise of digital printing technology.
Unlike previous printing technology, digital printing is capable of efficiently completed print jobs of small volumes without exorbitant costs. It also allows brands to use variable data, which means that elements such as text, graphics and images can be altered without slowing down the printing process. The smaller jobs, called short runs, with integrated variable data open the door to entirely new ways for a brand to engage with consumers. Digital printers are so effective that businesses are increasingly bringing printing in-house, purchasing tabletop digital printers that allow them to change packaging or label designs in real-time.
By lowering barriers to entry, even the most modest operations can enhance their businesses with custom, flexible packaging. Two of the most promising (and tasty!) markets are for craft donuts, and snackable chips.
Donuts Packaging That Speaks
The specialty donut craze is in full swing, and while the variety of outrageously decorated pastries seems limitless, creativity is lacking in the packaging department. While a Dunkin' Donuts may have the budget to order hundreds of thousands of National Donut Day boxes, smaller shops can't commit to similarly large orders.
However, with short-run printing, the Krispy Kremes of the world are on equal footing with your favorite Mom-and-Pop donut shop. Without a minimum order size, printing just enough National Donut Day boxes for the special occasion is just as practical of a solution as sticking with the standard packaging.
But why stop there? No occasion is too small for a little bit of custom printed TLC. Does you town's high school or university have a big game coming up this fall? You're in luck! With short-run printing, you can serve your customers delicious donuts in a box adorned with the team logo.
Chips, and Jerky, and Coffee! Oh My!
Baked goods aren't the only food item riding the custom packaging wave. Salty snacks such as chips and jerky, as well as coffee, tea and beverages can be enhanced via eye-catching, timely packaging.
Seasonal packaging is no longer reserved for the likes of Starbucks and Coke. By partnering with print shops capable of filling short-run orders, even the smallest specialty chip business can access seasonal marketing opportunities. For example, when big name brands are enhancing their packaging with images of snowmen and reindeer, the budding craft chip entrepreneurs of the world aren't left in the cold. Due to the flexibility offered by short-run printers, small businesses can commit to orders in the hundreds (far smaller than previously possible), meaning the fun doesn't have to stop when winter is over.
Spring, summer and fall receive far less attention from a marketing perspective than the reindeer and bells of winter, but that doesn't mean they are devoid of opportunity. Nothing catches consumers' eyes quite like the unexpected, and seasonal packaging is a great excuse for businesses to change things up. For example, why not give your tortilla chip bag patriotic flare in June and July, or welcome Spring with a colorful floral package?
At the end of the day, businesses are just scratching the surface when it comes to leveraging customized packaging as a marketing tool. Projections estimate digital printers to account for 20 percent of the printing market by 2018, allowing more print shops to offer short-run options. Campaigns such as "Share a Coke" are great for raising awareness of the consumer demand for personalized packages, but many small businesses are unaware of assets at their disposal. Through short-run printing, businesses of all sizes can tap into a bit of previously unattainable marketing magic, jumping on the custom packaging trend while it's hot.
This article appears courtesy of Kim Beswick, Memjet and Lewis P.R.
About Kim Beswick
Kim Beswick is a founding member of the Memjet Office Team based in Boise, Idaho. She brings 25 years of global technology experience, 18 of which have been dedicated to the imaging and printing industry. Kim has been instrumental in leading the Memjet Office business unit's marketing and business strategies. She is responsible for the group's work with global OEM and distribution partners, as well as dealer channels, to optimize disruptive Memjet technology in the office market.
Kim joined Memjet in 2006 after a dozen years with Hewlett Packard, heading up strategy for the company's global LaserJet business and working in various product marketing and marketing management roles for that business. Prior to HP, Kim worked 6 years as an IT-systems consultant for Price Waterhouse.
Kim holds an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business and a BA from Colorado College.