Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3 Ways to Incorporate Branding in Your Packaging 

Consumers expect more from brands today than ever before. Not only does your company have to be accessible and inclusive, but it also has to be sustainable, support good causes, and help folks from all walks of life lead better, more fulfilled lifestyles.  

Meeting today’s expectations is a tall order and it’s little wonder that some brands have turned to deceitful tactics like greenwashing in an attempt to stand out from the crowd.  

However, before your company turns to the dark arts of marketing, it’s worth considering an often underutilized space: packaging.  

Benefits of Branded Packaging 

Branded packaging can strengthen your company’s brand image and improve customer loyalty. Customers have already decided to buy from you, and, in doing so, have effectively invited your brand into their homes.  

You can take advantage of this unique position by including thank you notes, freebies, and distinctly sustainable packaging, which may set your parcels apart from others. These tactics leave a lasting impression on consumers and ensure that the next time they are thinking about buying protein powder or a new t-shirt, they will remember your business and purchase from you again.  

Branding your packaging also gives you a chance to get your product in front of additional eyes. There’s nothing better than jealous neighbors eyeing up your company’s packaging, and seeing advertising material in the “real world” often stands out more than digital marketing materials. This works in your favor and is a great way to boost your company’s branding.  

Sustainable Packaging 

Being sustainable is top among many consumers’ priorities at the moment. However, as tempting as it may be, you should avoid greenwashing — a term used to falsely advertise or oversell your commitment to climate change. Inevitably, your audience will discover your true intentions and run from your business.  

A great way to prove your commitment to sustainability is to align with a packaging supplier that is authentically green and uses recycled materials for your boxing, taping, and insulation. 

Beyond using recycled materials, you can also design your packaging to be carbon neutral. Carbon neutral packaging might sound a little odd at first, but you can greatly reduce the carbon emissions needed for shipping and packaging by:  

  • Use the correct dimensions for each product in your package (cubes, telescopic, multi-height, etc.).  
  • Utilize sustainable raw materials like cardboards over plastics.
  • Partner with like-minded eco-friendly brands.
  • Remove excess layers from your packaging.
  • Try to recycle carbon-neutral packaging for future filler and tertiary packaging.  

By using recycled, carbon-neutral packaging, you show your consumers that your commitment to sustainability is authentic and a part of your entire corporate culture. This will help your climate-conscious consumers feel better about your brand the next time they’re tearing open boxes and will almost always reflect your business positively.  

Thank You Cards 

Although you should avoid filling your packaging with excess material, branded thank you cards go a long way toward improving your company’s image in the hearts and minds of your consumers.  

If you do wish to send a short “thank you” note to your consumers, it’s worth cutting out most/all of the promotional materials you usually send in packages. Not only will this reduce paper waste, but your “thank you” note won’t get lost amongst other advertising materials.   

When designing a business thank you card, try to focus on simplicity and style. Your thank you card should neatly align with your overall brand identity and should do little more than offer an authentic-sounding “thank you.” If you want, you can slip in a promotional code for future purchases to gain repeat customers, but be sure to complete a break-even analysis before you start taking a chunk out of your profit margin.  


Have you ever wondered why protein powder companies send freebies like t-shirts, shakers, and towels with their fitness product? Well, in effect, these extra goodies are free advertising and usually strengthen the company’s brand identity when worn by consumers.   

Even if your business isn’t in the fitness industry, you can still use freebies to strengthen your brand image and create greater loyalty amongst your customer base.  

The exact mechanics of how you offer freebies is largely dependent on context. You’ll need to complete a detailed cost analysis before you start shipping off expensive goods for free, and should try to target customers who are most likely to resonate with your brand image.   

Let’s stick with the fitness industry as an example of how you might use freebies:  If you sell supplements but notice that few of your customers buy your protein bars, then it may be worth packaging a free sample in every order you receive that is over $50. This approach has a few benefits. Folks who were at $48 or $49 will likely find another product to get their free protein bar, and you are more likely to sell additional products to consumers who already buy more expensive items from your business.  

This approach can work in almost any business model where you sell more than one product and is sure to get the attention of consumers. 

So, what did we learn here? We learned that packaging is often regarded as an afterthought amongst marketers and small business owners. But it shouldn’t be. Branded packaging offers an ideal advertising venue that will strengthen your brand identity and produce more repeat customers. Just remember to adjust your break-even analysis if you do go all-in on branded packaging, as you don’t want thank you cards and freebies to cut into your overall profit margin


Noah RueNoah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.

A practical marketing guide for your business

While it may seem obvious to determine your audience and goals before you begin your marketing journey, it’s a step in the process that often gets overlooked or rushed through without proper consideration.

When this happens, even the best ideas and strategies don’t achieve desired outcomes. Companies should use clear processes to help determine their audience and goals, knowing that, once these are established, the tactics will more likely achieve overall marketing objectives. 

Determine the 3 Base Factors 

An effective process requires investigations into three main areas: primary business goals, primary and secondary audiences, and available resources. To identify the primary business goals, look at both immediate and long-term aims. Based upon these objectives, determine your primary audiences and any secondary audiences you need to consider and target. With goals and audience identified, delve into what resources are available or necessary, both monetarily and in human capital, to effectively reach your targets. 

The point of this examination is simple. By determining the three main base factors of goals, audience, and resources, you can define what problem you are solving, for whom, and whether it can be solved viably. With this baseline, the ideation may begin, and a comprehensive marketing strategy unfolds—all of which leads to greater ROI. In my experience, solving to the right problem always leads to better success. 


To determine your business goals, the most important way to begin is by asking lots of good questions and listening—truly and genuinely listening. Marketing leaders often don’t ask enough questions of their team and begin to implement an approach before really understanding what problem they are solving. The art of good marketing involves asking the right questions, listening, and identifying the nuances of the problem so that a unique and effective strategy can be created. 

Example: If a donut shop comes to a marketing agency with the main goal of growing their business, some questions to ask might include: 

  • What do you mean by growing your business?   
  • Do you want to increase profits?    
  • Do you want to add stores?   
  • Do you want to increase brand awareness?    
  • Do you want more customers?    
  • How much do you want to grow?   
  • In what amount of time and with what resources?

By determining the answers to these questions, you can determine if you need to generate more sales, more profits, more customers, etc. For example, the goal might be to increase the price of each donut—or to sell more donuts to the same customer—or to attract more customers to whom you can sell more donuts, etc. Each of those possible outcomes would require a very different marketing plan. 

The important thing to remember is that goals, audience, and resources all work together, and a successful marketing strategy must take all of these factors into account. Solving solely for any single one of these factors doesn’t work because they are all interconnected, and the outcome of one thing has an effect on each of the others. 


Most business owners know that understanding their audience(s) is key to their success, but audiences often shift or evolve and it’s necessary to monitor those changes in order to reassess the primary target(s) of your business. Knowing your audience allows for more effective marketing strategies and, therefore, better outcomes. 

Example: If the donut shop wants to grow its business and it’s been established that their goal is a set financial amount within a specific time frame, then knowing their audience allows them to tailor a plan for that specific audience. For instance, if the donut shop sells to locals in the area, they might try a punch card to encourage repeat visits. On the other hand, if they sell mostly to one-time, drive-by traffic customers, they may look at ways to increase signage.   

Even with goals and audience clearly established, without a clear understanding of a business’s monetary and human resources, a strategic plan is still in the distance.  


Understanding resources is not a purely financial consideration. It’s essential to acknowledge all aspects of what makes a business successful: employees, facilities, equipment, funding, etc. The marketing strategy needs to take into consideration a client’s entire resource profile to accurately deduce how it should fit together with goals and audience. 

Example: If the concept of new customers fits into the goal profile of the donut shop and the audience is easy to attain, the question of available resources is the last piece of the puzzle. Some questions at this stage might include: 

  • Is there room in the physical space to hold the new customers? 
  • Can the owners find enough employees to keep up with the demand? 
  • Are there enough friers to keep up with the demand? 
  • Can the manager manage the growth? 

Acknowledging capacity is critical. When creating a strategic marketing plan, if all these factors aren’t considered as a whole, then the outcome may be unsustainable.   You must find solutions that not only speak to your goals, audience, and resources but, importantly, to the intersection of all three. Finding that overlap is the foundation of any successful comprehensive marketing strategy.   

Ask, Listen, Ideate, Execute  

When asking thoughtful questions, listening well, and discovering the intersection of the three base factors of your business, solutions are inherently smarter and strategies and tactics more clearly designed to create better success. 

Photo Liza Prall Eliza Prall is CEO and founder of Prall & Co., a team of marketing professionals who have mastered the art of listening to their clients to understand what they think their challenge is, and then asking enough key questions to understand their true, overarching problem before designing what always seems to be the most simply elegant solution. She can be reached at 303-588-4174 or [email protected].