The Nuances of Promotional Packaging – A Fine Balance
Valentine’s Day. A day to show your significant other that you truly appreciate them in every way. As a collective group, we rush out to get our loved ones cards, flowers, candy or that perfect gift he or she has wanted. In the brand design world, this day is also a day where perfectly timed promotional efforts take place, and brand guidelines are stretched. Brand teams and marketers step outside of the comfort zone to create impact and intrigue.

This work begins almost a year in advance. Behind the scenes, brand teams and agencies work tirelessly to perfect the appropriate balance of the holiday or season, all while remaining true to the brand and the core equities. Placing a promotional product in the marketplace takes extensive strategic planning, concept exploration and endless collaboration to achieve the balance aforementioned. Here are four tips to help make your next seasonal or holiday packaging initiative a success.


  1. Establish the Pack Hierarchy: What’s more important? The brand or the uniqueness of the promotion? Set your core hierarchal goals and rank them from most important to least significant (i.e., brand mark, seasonal cues, messaging, offer, etc.).
  1. Deliver A Clear Message: What are you trying to say? It’s important to remain clear and concise as you begin this exploration. It’s important to remember; you are now adding another level of complexity to your package and clutter is not a word you want to hear while evaluating concepts.
  1. Leveraging Other Mediums: How far will this stretch? Whichever direction you choose for packaging, you should also consider if the final product will translate to futureline-extensions, a broader digital media strategy or future campaign. The biggest mistake we see sometimes is that a promotional product will become a massive success and then there is no strategic plan to leverage the success in the future or across other platforms.
  1. Timing: What about timing? Timing is everything! Make sure you’ve done your due diligence in regards to how much lead time you need to produce the packaging. You should have a firm plan in place and have considered what you will do to support your product launch from a digital strategy or POS activation. It’s also important to have a secondary or even tertiary back-up plan if your timeline should ever come into question due to unforeseen challenges. This may include coupon offers if the product misses the store release by a day or some other incentive in the event of an emergency.

Nicholas Heyerdahl  – Director Strategic Partnerships & Client Relations  – Design Partners

Design Partners is a brand design agency located in Racine, WI. Being a true partner is our vision and commitment as brand stewards, and it’s how we’ve run our business for over 33 years.