By brand packaging expert Howard Wright from Touchpoint (touchpointuk.com) which designs product packaging for top brands including Kellogg’s, Typhoo and Morrisons.
The countdown to the critical Christmas trading period is well under way, as retail analysts begin to assess whether this is going to be a merry Christmas for stores or a dismal December.
But as retailers focus on getting this year’s product displays right, producers and brand managers are already looking at how to maximise merchandise for next year.
Here’s Howard’s five top tips on getting Christmas packaging right, if not this year then next.
1. Start Early
Make sure you start preparation in plenty of time. Have your product ready for when people are making their decisions about what to buy, not just before Christmas when they are actually spending.
And if you’re facing the ‘dragon’s den’ of retailer buyers, the best advice is to have your product, or a representation of it, ready the Christmas before – people are much more geared to looking at Christmas when they are in the right mood.
2. Be realistic
Is your product really a Christmas product? Just putting some holly on the packaging does not make your product a desirable Christmas offering. If your product isn’t especially for Christmas can it be teamed up with something that is?
Maybe you could add to your range with a Christmas variant – a new flavour, smell, colour, pattern etc
Or is there a better annual event to tie into that is more suitable and probably less saturated.
3. Be adaptable
Make sure your offering is right. Maybe think about creating a look that embodies celebration but is not Christmas specific allowing it to be used all year round.
You don’t want to be left with stock in Christmas packaging as this dates the product and any profit you have made is lost by having to sell the excess cheaply in the January sales.
Try something that can be added to your existing offering which can be removed post celebrations.
4. Be Creative
If it is worth doing it is worth doing well. Be prepared to push the boundaries and create something unique as this will reflect on your product.
Avoid the tired over used imagery as you will blend into the Christmas background.
Put aside a budget as you would with any other campaign and consider this as much a sales drive as you would creating a brochure or an ad campaign.
5. Choose Experience
If you haven’t done this before make sure you work with a company that has.
Working 12-18 months ahead of time requires knowledge of trends. Choosing a company with experience of this is vital, what looks right now, might not next year.
Keep focused it is easy to prioritise everyday issues and forget about the long term plan.
But remember this happens every year so if you haven’t got this year's offering in place it is better to concentrate on next year and get it right.
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