Product Delivery Packaging: People DO Judge a Book by its Cover


What you're looking at in the left hand corner of this blog post is what I discovered in a lovely delivery we received at Tin Shingle HQ recently.  It was nestled cozily within a box sent to us from one of our members, Jessica Bolbach of accessories company BOLBACH.  What you're also looking at is what I like to call "how to properly deliver a product".  Whether you're a multi-million dollar brand or a small mom & pop operation, whether you're sending a book, a baby product, food or simply your media kit, the way you deliver your product (the product you're spending sleepless nights sweating over getting JUST right) impacts how people perceive your brand - before they even open the package.  Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the packaging that your manufacturer (or you) uses to house and protect your product.  What I'm talking about is the way said product or sample is delivered. 

For years we've been told "don't judge a book by its cover", but in public relations, that rule goes out the window.  Instead, I encourage you to adopt the mentality, "dress your product/book/media kit for the press placement you want." Whether making a first or fifth impression, every contact a producer, editor, stylist, celebrity or retailer has with your brand is sending a nonverbal message about you and your brand.  When we received the package from BOLBACH, I opened the box to discover the above carefully wrapped package-within-our-package and immediately the office began "oohing" and "aahing" over it - before we'd even seen what was behind the lovely leopard print tissue paper.  Jess had set the stage, and we were already excited!  Not only had got us hyped, we already knew who had sent us the gift because like a good entrepreneur should, she'd labeled it with a sticker and attached her business card to it.  Slam dunk!  Now we were in a happy state of mind AND we knew who to be happy about.  This is exactly how an editor should feel! 

Now I know what many of you are thinking, "I can't afford nice packaging."  Well I won't take that for an answer.  If you're budget is bargain basement your can get 20 reems of tissue paper at the dollar store, some ribbon, some bags and use address labels you print with your logo onto it and place on your bags and packaging.  If you're an expert you can find folders at Stapes that you can dress up with your logo via sticker and spiff up with nicely made marketing material.  Spend a little time searching online and you can easily find deals on any and all sorts of packaging.  Ask around at Tin Shingle, or whatever entrepreneur group you belong to, and find out where other brands get their paper goods.  Why do I care so much?

Here's the stone cold truth:

TRUTH: Whether you're an expert, service or product based brand, you are competing against hundreds if not thousands of brands to get the attention of your targeted press/retailers/customers/celebrities/stylists/etc.

TRUTH: You are also competing against major national brands (corporate and independent) who deliver beautiful packages, some over-the-top and some understated and elegant.  You are not in a place to blow your budget and overhead on grandiose baskets full of product and samples and packaging with bells and whistles, so you best do well with what you're working with.

TRUTH: People will judge you on how you deliver things and the press will wonder  "if this is how they send it to me, HOW will they send it to my readers/viewers".

To help make your packaging planing a little easier here are a few tips:

  • Ask other entrepreneurs in a field similar to yours how they package/where they get supplies and for recommendations and tips.
  • Follow your delivery targets (editors, stylists, etc) on Twitter - they often post images of deliveries they get, and it will give you a peek into the reality of the situation.  Look at these pics again every time you debate on whether tossing your product into a used box/bag.
  • Find packaging that works for your brand - BOLBACH's leopard print tissue was a nod to their funky and fun fashion sense.
  • Be sure anything coming in a bag or box is labeled more than once with your company information.
  • Always include a busines card (or two) in your delivery.  If it's going to the press, inlcude a media kit.
  • DO NOT overspend on packaging.  As much as I'm telling you this is important, it will be a sad day if you're going over your final $2,000.00 in your bank account and you are faced with the fact that you spent $5,000.00 that year on packaging.  Be realistic about what you can and can't do.
  • Have fun with it - get creative!  Sometimes a little creativity goes a long way.

Whatever you spend long days and nights working on every week deserves lots of love and attention at every stage of your work - from conception to presentation.  Don't miss out on great opportunities because you cut corners or didn't pay too much attention in homestretch.  Take pride in the details and little touches, and let them lead you to big success!  After all, how you do anything is how you do everything, so show those receiving your packages you do it RIGHT!