Ahhhhh. Spring is in the air, birds are singing, trees are budding – it’s the time of year that thoughts turn to decorating the tree, carols and the warmth of the holiday season. Did I catch your attention? No, it is not a proofreading faux pas! Now is the time of year that you should be planning for your winter holiday or seasonal packaging. So while you are getting out the lawn furniture and lighting the grill, here are a few things to help ensure that when the winter holiday season begins, your product is ready and on the shelf.
Consider your lead time
It can’t be ignored that Christmas and the surrounding holidays represent one of the biggest sales periods of the year in almost all retail sectors. If you have created holiday or seasonal packaging, you know there is an extensive lead time that has to be factored into delivering your product on time. Typically, you need to finalize your holiday or seasonal packaging plan 6-7 months before you anticipate having product in the market. Of course, the more complex your overall program, the longer you need to implement all phases of the plan, so it is essential you define and clarify your goals.
Before going further, it is important to note that there is a subtle but key distinction between holiday and seasonal packaging. Holiday packaging tends to be targeted specifically to an event such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Valentines Day. Seasonal packaging is generic in the sense that it has a broad thematic reference to a period of time during which multiple events occur such as spring, fall, winter, hunting, football and so on. Holiday packaging poses a unique challenge, as it is both a season of the year and also a time when a variety of confluent religious celebrations occur.
Create a comprehensive budget
If you make the commitment to holiday or seasonal packaging, have a budget and a make a plan. Regardless of scope, the decision to be involved with holiday or seasonal packaging should always be designed to reach your ROI expectations. Your budget should allow for planning and management oversight, creative and design development, production, printing, distribution and logistics. By blocking out broad segments of your budget for each of these components you will have a solid picture of real versus ideal spending. This will govern how you manage the timing of the components to meet your delivery deadlines, and how you shape and direct your creative and design approach.
Begin with effective project planning
As with any undertaking, begin the project with effective planning. You know you are doing a program; you have defined the components of the program and sub-divided your budget accordingly. Are there components from previous years promotions that you want to reuse or refresh? Are there production and promotional considerations that need to be incorporated into the overall plan? Are you co-opting a program with additional partners? Are you considering utilizing a holiday or seasonal theme that will be incorporated into future packaging? Consider forecasted design and color trends and determine if it is important to be a part of the larger seasonal color palette. Information on color palettes and design trends, including the 2016/17 Color and Trend Forecast are available to guide your visual design development.
Always remain true to your brand
As you work through the visual design development for your packaging, regardless of a holiday or the season, always remain true to your brand, and make sure your consumers don’t confuse a seasonal design with a product change. Also make sure your brand standards are respected as you undertake development of your visual design, insuring brand integrity is in keeping with standard packaging protocol. With the current trends toward personalization and customization in package design, marketers are keeping a wide variety of package design changes in front of the consumer. Make your holiday or seasonal package graphics creative, engaging and fun, and be sure your designs continue to attract and connect your consumer to your brand.
If you need help creating holiday or seasonal packaging that stands out on shelf, get started by giving us a call at 920-725-4848 or email us at [email protected]. With over 60 years of creative, design and production experience in consumer packaging, we can help you create memorable packaging that works.