One of the hot topics right now in the business world is brand engagement. Although there are differing definitions of engagement, it describes the process through which an emotional memory (or connection) is formed between the consumer and the brand of the company (the brand refers to a feature of the company that makes them unique within their space).
Successful businesses have demonstrated that engagement is the key to attracting new customers to your base while keeping current customers as loyal fans that will re-buy your current product line, along with any new items that you produce in the future.
Millions of dollars have been spent on trying to figure out the best ways to create and sustain engagement of a company’s brand. Some companies have opted for the social media route, in which they try to interact with their customers through inventive ads and campaigns that encourage participation.
Other companies have gone down the road of big data in which advertising and engagement are done on a one-to-one basis using information from the customer’s shopping habits and browsing history on major platforms. There are many more methods that have been investigated and often there are disagreements among heavy players on the best method around.
One of the most underrated methods of brand engagement that is starting to gain some recent attention is the use of branded packaging. The old model involved delivering products in boring boxes that did nothing to grab the customer’s attention. They were nothing more than a storage medium that got quickly disposed of in the garbage bin.
A couple of smaller companies literally thought outside of the box and saw an opportunity to create an interactive and highly personalized experience with their customers that keeps them happy with the product while creating that emotional bond that leads to repeat sales in the future.
Even if you are doing everything else right and your customer is satisfied with what you are selling, improving your packaging will put you one step ahead of your competition. Not only is packaging-based brand engagement lost in cost due to the shipping costs that are already accounted for, but you also create an opportunity to deliver a laser-focused marketing approach that is individualized to the customer. This results in a greater degree of loyalty from your customer and a perfect opportunity to upsell something in your store.
The best part about brand engagement through packaging is that you can start small and work your way up to more creative approaches. Here is a small collection of ideas to get you started:
1. The Handwritten Thank You Note
In the era of digital communication and information overload, we seem to have lost our personal touch. Everything seems to feel mechanical, and the emotion appears to be gone from our day to day interactions with people. Speaking to companies feels like a corporate drag, and there is no special bond that exists, so to speak. Anyone who has grown up in the previous decades can attest to the great feeling they have in their stomachs when a small mom & pop shop created something special just for them!
One of the ways to instill that kind of feeling in your customers is by sending a personally handwritten note expressing your gratitude and thanks for their purchase. Here are some tips on how to write high impact thank you letters to your customers. Make sure that your handwriting is legible, as messy writing can ruin this moment for the person reading it. Larger companies may have a harder time implementing this strategy due to the massive scale of shipping they have to deal with, so smaller businesses might use this strategy as a competitive edge.
2. Give Them the Deal of Their Lifetime
Imagine the look on your customer’s face when they open up the package to find a little coupon that gives them a discount on their next purchase. Your fan base will be more eager to purchase your products again if they know that they can save money doing so.
A neat way to approach this would be to create 5-10 different offers and randomize them among your orders. That way, every customer will get something unique. If they want to eventually get their hands on all 10 of your offers, they will have to buy your products first. It’s subtle things like this that can make a big difference over a long period of time.
3. Call to Action
Aside from your salespeople and your marketing team, your customers are going to be your best advertisers. There are fewer things that will boost your bottom line more than organic reviews from ecstatic customers that love using your product.
The only catch to this is that you might have fanatical customers who want to spread the good word but don’t know how or where they can do it. You can solve this problem by including a little slip in the package that encourages them to share their experience on social media or any other platform of your choice.
Tell them where to do so, along with a special message that should be included in their review – maybe a trending hashtag or a post that’s unique to your brand? Be creative, as customers love being a part of viral movements.
4. A Sampling of New Products
Let’s suppose that you have a prototype of a new product that’s not quite ready for the shelves but is good enough to send to a few loyal customers. Some vendors will allow you to do this for a low cost or for no cost at all. If your small sample ends up being a hit among your customers, it will get a lot of attention, and it will provide you the opportunity to upsell something alongside your existing product line. Even in the event that this strategy fails, you already have hard data to prove that your new product is an avenue that is not worth pursuing.
5. Small Tokens of Appreciation
Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that truly matter. Imagine if you opened a package that contains the product you ordered, along with a small little gift or two at no extra cost to you whatsoever. You’d be more motivated to buy from the company again, and this has been confirmed in scientific studies.
There’s nothing customers love more than getting little extra gifts. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make this happen, as things like stickers and well-designed brochures are usually enough to get the job done.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the packaging itself, as one can tell from the increasing shift toward eco-friendly packaging by major corporations. However, small businesses and online stores will need to literally think outside the box to think about what they can put into the box that will create a “WOW” customer experience. Don’t be afraid to try out different approaches until you find the one that leads to the greatest amount of brand engagement.