Seasonal packaging may seem like hard work, but there are huge benefits to it as studies have shown that customers greatly respond to this novel promotional tool. In fact, in order to stay competitive with the big brands it is essential that you adopt seasonal packaging.
But when should you use seasonal packaging and to what extent do you need to redesign? At Charlotte Packaging, we aim to answer all the nagging questions you have over this issue.
Should I be using seasonal packaging?
In complete honesty, this strongly depends on your business and your product. Some companies lend themselves to seasonal packaging much more than others – for example, business to business products won’t see the same benefits as their business to client counterparts.
Additionally, a bakery is much more likely to benefit from changing their packaging than a stationary supplier. Think about your business model, your products and your customers and then decide whether there would be a benefit to using seasonal packaging.
Cheat: Take a look at your competitors, chances are if they’re employing this marketing technique then you should be too!
When to use seasonal packaging?
Now things get interesting. There are plenty of opportunities to change your packaging for an upcoming event, although not all of them will be beneficial to you. The most common times of year to use seasonal packaging includes:
- Valentine’s day
- Company birthday
- Country specific holidays – i.e. St David’s Day, 4th July, Bonfire night, Queen’s Jubilee or Coronation
- Major events – i.e. sporting world cup, Olympics
You may find that your business and products are far more suited to certain events than others, this may take trial and error or could simply be common sense. For example, if you’re a boutique chocolate company then you’re much more likely to benefit from Valentine’s packaging than any other occasion.
How far in advance do I need to plan my packaging design?
If you have decided on changing your packaging design for an event then you cannot leave it until the last minute. This is a process that can take weeks and even months to perfect, so you want to make sure that you’ve left enough time to plan, design, test, print samples and finally put it into production.
While most good packaging suppliers will be able to turn around a design in 6-8 weeks, if there are any complications with the design or a change to the material used then the delays could result in you missing the event you’re planning for.
Ideally, you should plan any seasonal changes around 4-6 months in advance. This will give you plenty of opportunity to make any changes you need, create enough packaging material, and have your product seasonally packaged and on the shelves.
What other factors do I need to consider?
Seasonal packaging can be a bit tricky, especially as it tends to have a very limited purpose. Because of this, there are some things you should think of prior to finalising the design:
- Extend Expiry Date – think about any way that you can keep your seasonal packaging on the shelves for longer without it looking dated. For example, avoid the term ‘Christmas’ and instead focus on ‘Winter’, this way you could roll it over until New Year without it looking out of place.
- Remove the Need for Wrapping – if your product is largely bought as a gift, then why don’t you create a packaging solution that eliminates the need for gift wrap? This can draw in even more customers as they can buy a present that’s ready to go from the moment it leaves the shelf.
- Create Collectables – this works particularly well if you have a loyal customer base. Create something that your customers will want and then tweak it every year to create a collectable item. This could drastically increase your sales over the years, but it does tend to be a slow burner.
- Launch a Campaign – creating new packaging designs is great for on-the-shelf awareness, but by matching this with an advertising campaign you can add an entirely new dimension to your products. You don’t need to throw huge amounts of money into this, even a small social media campaign can help to increase awareness.
- Product to Match – if possible, why not create a festive product that matches your packaging design? This could be bringing in Christmas flavours, adding red or pink to your product around valentines or even launching a new range for a big event. This isn’t always possible, but if you are able to utilise this option then it is well worth doing.
- Consider Political Correctness – we live in a multicultural world, so you need to consider all aspect of life when designing your packaging. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is focusing on Santa and Christmas, when using the term ‘winter’ and pictures of snowmen and snowflakes can appeal to a much wider audience. Additionally, the Easter bunny will serve you a lot better as a marketing tool than a cross or other religious symbol during the spring period.
- Budget – this is something that you take into account with every aspect of business, but it is especially important with this type of packaging as you need to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment. Find a packaging supplier who offers high quality materials and finish without breaking the bank and you will be onto a winner!
There will be additional factors that you will need to consider based on your individual goals and requirements. The most important of these is basing your design on your existing strengths – this is easy enough to do if you already know how to play to your strengths but it can be difficult if you have to start from scratch.
Specific Seasonal Advice
If you’re really struggling for seasonal packaging ideas and want to take to the internet before paying for a design concept, then you’re in luck! We’ve put together a quick “to do” list for creating packaging for all the major sales events in the UK.
Christmas Packaging Ideas
Christmas is a major event for most businesses, which means that it can be very tricky to come up with a unique design idea. There are several go-to colours for this time of year ( red, green and white) but don’t be afraid to venture into gold and silver or even something completely different.
Images are an essential part of a Christmas packaging design, so make sure that you embody the festive period with gingerbread men, Christmas trees, snowflakes, snowmen, baubles, mistletoe or holly leaves. Don’t go overboard though, subtle design almost always works better than a cluttered Christmas overload.
Valentine’s Day Packaging
Not something that all companies can jump on, but if you’re in an industry that can benefit from Valentine’s Day then a seasonal design is a must! Hearts, cupid, flowers, red and pink, are all things that make for a good Valentine’s Day packaging design but getting it right is the tricky part.
You want to make sure you don’t detract from your branding, keeping away from what your competitors are doing and ensuring you have a unique design. Think about what makes your product stand out as a gift for this occasion and focus your packaging on highlighting this.
Halloween Packaging Ideas
This is one that works really well for businesses who sell sugary treats like cookies and sweets. It’s likely that you already see an increase in popularity during this time period, but by taking the time to target your product directly to this audience then you should see even greater sales.
Orange, black and lime green work particularly well for Halloween designs as does a change of font to something bold and ‘spooky’. There’s plenty of room for creative imagery here, from tombstones and zombies to spider webs and bats – this can be done to target the kids or you could use more sophistication for an adult audience.
Easter Packaging Ideas
This can be a bit of a tricky one if you’re trying to stay away from anything religious. For that reason it is always a good idea to focus on spring rather than Easter itself. Lots of green, blue and yellow is a good place to start, making sure your packaging looks sunny and cheerful. If you’re going to add in imagery then you could opt for chicks and eggs or push the boat out and go for something out of the ordinary.
Want to be really different? Why not use innovating packaging like plain block bottom paper bags with designs that can be coloured in like an Easter egg? The world really is your oyster when it comes to packaging design.
Start Planning Now
Got enough information to start planning your seasonal packaging solutions? Great! Get to the drawing board and hash away at all your ideas until you have the one that is almost guaranteed to work. If you need any help with designing or figuring out the best materials for your product then talk to Charlotte Packaging today – with 40 years of experience in the packaging industry we’ve got more than enough knowledge to help you out in any situation.