Even though marketing is a creative industry, we can sometimes be a little closed-minded when it comes to considering exactly what marketing can constitute. Whilst we take for granted all the new facets of marketing and advertising that the 21st century has thrown at us, sometimes going back to the core principles of marketing as communication with the consumer can throw up some interesting new approaches.
Many experts in marketing and branding in particular, will be keen to point out that branding doesn’t simply cover marketing materials, company logos and colour schemes and packaging design. The brand of a company is the culture of the company, and this has to run through everything the company does. This is something that large international names such as Nokia take very seriously.
In this vein of though, a lot of establishments, particularly in the catering and hospitality sectors, invest a great deal of time considering the presentation of staff and what this communicates about the company and brand. This is of great importance in catering and food services in particular, where the reputation of the cleanliness of an establishment is deduced from the appearance of staff. There is an old adage about restaurants that you need to look at how clean the bathroom is to learn about the standard of hygiene throughout the business. The same is true of the appearance of staff. Get this wrong and you’ll put potential customers off eating at your restaurant or staying at your hotel.
So maintaining good standards of presentation is an important place to start when considering the message you’re giving to customers, but the opportunity to communicate your brand through the presentation of staff doesn’t end there. Again, to use an example from the hospitality sector, if you’re running a hotel, considering where the brand of that hotel sits amongst its competitors. Is it a casual modern hotel, is it boutique, is it a corporate hotel with a lot of business and conference guests? Is the hotel traditional? The uniforms of the staff ought to reflect these choices. What is the colour scheme and can your staff uniforms match the scheme? Do your concierge staff wear traditional waistcoats, double breasted suit jackets and pleated trousers or more modern fitting slim suits and flat front trousers? Are your bar staff in shirts and aprons or in branded polo shirts? These are all possibilities to be considered, and everything your staff wear will reflect on your business. As such, many suppliers of uniforms for hotels and restaurants will reflect this variation in what different establishments require from their uniforms. The same principles of marketing and communicating your brand through the stylistic choices you make in your staff’s work wear.
So whilst there may be a great deal of value in looking closely at online marketing materials and channels, social media, viral videos and screen advertising, let’s not forget that one of the key impressions that is made on our customers and potential consumers comes from the staff they deal with, which are the point of contact with the business. Shouldn’t this also be the territory of marketeers and branding experts and not just human resources?
We present a series of articies focusing on specialist industries. Our first is the packaging industry, one which affects so many businesses.
What is contract packing?
If you’re in the early stages of setting up your own business the chances are that you’ll have started to put some thought to how you’re going to package your products as well as to your manufacturing website. The world of packaging can prove to be a minefield for the uninitiated and if you’re feeling a little daunted, hopefully this article will shed some light on the world of contract packing and packaging services.
Contract packing (or co packing) is simply a cover-all term used to describe a range of packaging services, from gift packing for special events, through to hand packing and the assembly of packaged goods into point of sale displays. Contract packing services are offered by a range of professional packing companies based throughout the UK and by knowing which types of packaging services are available; you’ll be well on the way to finding the best packaging for your product.
The services offered by contract packing companies vary hugely according to the size and scope of their operation. However, bagging services are widely offered and involve filling and then sealing pre-printed or clear bags with products such as sweets, crisps or snacks. Bagging can also be used to package a number of smaller items such as toys, safety razors or household items.
You might come across contract packing companies who offer a multi-head weighing service, designed to be used in combination with a bagging service. Highly controllable computerised weighing machines are used to fill and then weigh bags to ensure complete consistency across each bagging ‘run’.
Flow wrapping is a highly cost effective way to pack multiple products together and is often used contain and protect items for insertion in a box or rigid outer-packaging. Flow wrapping is also ideal for wrapping small items for inclusion with larger items – think of the free gifts you often find in boxes of breakfast cereals – and can also be used to package food products or cosmetics.
Shrink wrapping is a way to wrap several items together, either for display or to reduce the risk of damage in transit or from tampering. Shrink wrapping products can also be used to attach a promotional item or a free gift to another item. Overwrapping is used to protect an inner package -usually cardboard – and can help to extend the shelf-life of the product within, whilst also being an effective way to contain the smell of highly scented products or perfume.
Point of sale assembly is a service which can be used to group items together for display, either at a supermarket checkout, on the end of an aisle or mid-shelf, behind a bar or on a counter or customer-service desk. The most widely used form of point of sale packaging is clip-stripping where bagged items are suspended from a plastic strip, ready for sale.
This article covers just some of the wide range of contract packing services available in the UK. If you would like further advice on the most appropriate packaging for your product, why not get in touch with a contract packing company near you? http://www.marsdenpackaging.com offer a nationwide service.