When it has to be Memorable…Packaging Matters


There’s a lot of head scratching this time of year when organizations are typically thinking about how to recognize the relationships that have made them successful. Fourth quarter portends the end of the year, punctuated by holidays that invoke good will, making it the perfect time to thank employees, clients, and supporting partners. But actually, I like to think about this process as creating the recipient experience as a climactic point in an overall recognition plan—like a diva’s rendition of an aria that hits glass-shattering high notes.

There’s a lot of stress involved in coming up with the perfect gift to show gratitude. You can remove at least 50% of the stress by starting now to eliminate fire drills. Save another 25% by understanding that there are no perfect one-size-fits-all gifts. A misguided notion that the only a meaningful gift is an expensive one, loses sight of gifting’s golden rule—it’s the thought that counts.

How could there be a perfect gift? People have different combinations of various values, interests, and tastes that make it impossible for any item to delight all recipients at the same level.

However, there are additional, less costly aspects that can make your gift sing.

Think presentation

There are ways to elevate the recipient experience through a thoughtful, well-crafted presentation.

Let’s look at the components to consider:

  • Packaging sets the stage, similar to creating ambience for diners at a restaurant. In creating a first impression, packaging sets a positive expectation. Dump the cardboard box in favor of a packaging that emits wow vibes. If you hear, “It’s too pretty to open,” it worked.

Packaging can add exponential impact when done right, speaking volumes about the giver. Consider a box and ribbon that coordinates with your brand colors and include a custom enclosure card with brand trim or detail. Dovetailing with your brand’s look is especially important for an unbranded gift, such as a sweet or savory treat package. The product and packaging should complement each other. Luxurious packaging on a utilitarian item is a disconnect—a bit like bait and switch.

Be sure to include the cost of packaging in your recognition/appreciation budget, and determine if it could alter the cost of the product.

Determine who will be handling this part of the process—the supplier? An outside resource? How much control over the look will you have? Is there time to add special packaging, which will increase production time and extend delivery?

  • Messaging should be as personalized as possible to win the recipient’s heart. An enclosure message should be a thoughtful sentiment that woos the recipient’s heart with a personalized touch. A computerized enclosure message feels commercial

andtherefore unlikely to elicit an emotional response that strengthens the connection between the recipient and your company. Forgreater impact, think about dressing up the card with a custom printed or colored envelope that coordinates with the card.

When possible, a handwritten note hits the right chord. Separately, if the gift requires special care or cleaning, be sure to include an insert card with care instructions.

  • Delivery is also an essential role in teeing up the recipient experience. Timing is everything. Nothing diminishes a gift’s impact more than a tardy arrival, except an address that’s not personalized with the recipient’s name. “Front desk” doesn’t cut it. Make sure your mailing list is up to date. In today’s remote or hybrid environment,assuming the office is the right address might be a miss. Know your recipients and their mailing addresses, where a package will reach them in a timely manner.

If an outside resource is handling shipping and delivery, it’s advisable to keep tabs on the supply chain. Have the manufacturer notify you when the product is sent to the packager, who should then let you know when the gifts are actually sent to recipients. Be sure the shipper adheres to the schedule.

So you can appreciate all the moving parts comprising a strategic recognition opportunity. To alleviate client decision making, we curate a small group of gifting options that fit each of our client’s recipient profiles. For companies with a larger gift list, we often create a menu of gifting options tiered by price. For group gifting, we offer an array of sweet and/or savory treat packages that meet the diverse tastes of a group. Keep in mind that whatever you choose, it’s one piece of a relationship-building strategy aligned with the company’s brand promise, values, communications plan, and other engagement practices.

If you need support orchestrating a recipient experience that wows, let’s start a conversation. Call 800-742-6800 or email today. For more information and tips for engaging stakeholders, sign up for our monthly newsletter. You can find our newsletter sign-up at askhillarys.com at the bottom right corner of the page.