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Wrapping it Up

Written by Bill Tanzer

 

Ever watch The Office, the long-running comedy on NBC? It’s a show about an ineffectual, uninspiring work environment that decreases morale and stifles productivity. Creativity rarely is a result.

Advertising Week is hosting its eighth annual event, Oct. 3 through Oct. 7 in New York City. It’s safe to say that uninspired and listless will not be attending. Leave your boring cubicle at home, please! Conferences and seminars will be held all over Manhattan featuring brand strategy, marketing to target demographics, and technological topics, among other subjects.

Speaking of which, I was watching a political pundit show the other day when someone mentioned that anyone can brand themselves in this day and mobile age. You don’t need an actual product because with social media, you are the brand. Sure. But it sort of reminded me of reality show hacks who manage to convince the public they are either experts or otherwise important. Many fade into the background after a while or become a running gag.

Or, American Idol contestants. Some go on to great success, but many crash and burn. That show has been around for 10 seasons already, but only the diehard fans will remember the runner ups or even the initial auditions. The winners who won and went on to notable careers did so because of not only talent, but consistency. The chameleons who changed every week? Do you even remember their names? The general public won’t.

As far as getting your name out there, even garbage can be advertised. Well, the process of hauling away the garbage. Bagster dumpsters, for example, proudly display the company’s name, despite it being a loaded bag of debris. Presumably, it’s so your neighbors can tell what company you are using when remodeling the upstairs bathroom and getting rid of trash.

One Other Note

I say time and time again that packaging is an integral part of branding. Without effective and inspiring packaging, how are customers looking forward to what product may be inside? How are they drawn to such a product in the first place? By chance? By magic?

No matter what, however, without a product the consumer wants, a nice wrapper is just that, an outside layer.

In addition to retail outlets and cosmetic boutiques, we have served all types of restaurants in our 60 years of existence. I can tell you confidently that most patrons don’t walk into a deli thinking about packaging. They want a nice sandwich, something good to eat for lunch. Paper take-out bags aren’t exactly mouth watering, the food is. But when packaging is not available? Woah, now that’s a problem the patron will remember.

Take a recent review on hoboken411.com. Hoboken is a mile square city across the Hudson from Manhattan. Any given day, you will see hoards of pedestrians on Washington Street, prime real estate for foot traffic. This particular reviewer called ahead for a lunch order and arrived to find his lunch in an unmarked box sitting on the counter. He needed a bag to take the meal home. Several restaurant staff had to search around for a take-out bag. Come on, that’s ridiculous. Forget customized packaging for a moment, but NO BAGS at all? This is a deli is not?

Fortunately someone found a carry-out bag in the back and the patron eventually enjoyed his meal. But his overall impression was not positive. Shoppers, especially in a pedestrian-friendly area such as Hoboken, need bags to carry purchases. Don’t give in to wasted opportunity. Wrap that sale up instead.

September 17, 2011

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