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Opportunities Incorporated is proud to be a member of The Association for Contract Packagers & Manufacturers. Through our membership to this trade organization we are able to gain useful industry insights to allow us to better serve you, our customer.

It can be a big deal when deciding to outsource work to a contract packager. A lot of questions can come up right from the beginning, such as What level of quality can be provided? Can they meet our turn times? Who do we choose? Where do we even start?

To help get you started, The Association for Contract Packagers & Manufacturers came up with a list of reasons you may want to consider selecting a contract packager:

- No available in-house equipment or expertise for a particular job

- Geographically separated facilities could serve the product better for national distribution

- Non-standard packaging requiring special machinery or labor intensive work is specified

- Product may more economically be shipped in bulk to a distant market, then unit packed locally

- Short-term requirement that may be better served by specific experience or equipment you don't have

- There's a warehouse full of a product that needs re-working to make it saleable

- There's a corporate downsizing in personnel, facilities or both

This is a great list that you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to consider selecting your next contract packager.

Please visit https://www.contractpackaging.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3287 to see the article this list originally appeared in. CLICK HERE for more content related to contract packaging or HERE to request a quote.

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Opportunities, Incorporated has been fortunate to have served our state agencies' battery needs in Wisconsin for a little over a year through the State Use Program. This program allows Opportunities, Incorporated to be the exclusive alkaline battery supplier for all state agencies throughout Wisconsin. These agencies include the Department of Corrections, Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources and many more.

The program is truly special because it provides another means to meet our mission of serving individuals with barriers by providing training opportunities. Over the past year the State Use Battery program has allowed us to create jobs for three to five Wisconsin Citizens with disabilities per week. These individuals have been able to receive an average of 15 hours of training per week through the Battery program.

Powering Wisconsin

Over the past year, Opportunities, Incorporated has served our state by shipping out more than 97,000 co-branded Rayovac batteries in twelve packs to numerous customers throughout Wisconsin. The State Use Battery program has also allowed our organization to serve Wisconsin Citizens while meeting the needs of state and municipal customers in Wisconsin who believe in our mission.

 Total Battery Cells Shipped to Date -  97,944
pinterestYour product packaging says a lot about what the consumer should expect. According to Industrial Packaging there are three common packaging fails that you should avoid.

   1.   Mixed Messaging - Your packaging should tell a consumer exactly what your product is and what it does. Labels and designs should be easy to understand at a glance.

   2.   Over-packaging - Avoid using packaging that is so secure it is impossible to open. If a consumer has trouble opening and using your product, chances are they likely won’t be buying it again.

   3.   Change for the sake of change - “if it ain’t broke…” meaning don’t change something that is working.

The packaging is the first thing that a consumer sees when they walk through a store. Their eyes may catch a bright color, or a cool new design. However, they may also be looking for the same old packaging that have come to know and trust. This dilemma can put your company in quite the bind, now more than ever.

PepsiCo made a “change for the sake of change” mistake with its packaging redesign of Tropicana’s orange juice carton. The New York Times notes the changes made and how it affected the small group of extremely loyal customers.  Arnell, part of Omnicom Group reported to PepsiCo, the change in packaging driven by focus groups, “was exactly what they should be doing.” However, the extremely loyal instantly responded with negative comments. Consumers reached out with the following criticisms, “ugly” “stupid,” and resembling “a generic bargain brand” or a “store brand” says The New York Times.
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Brands used to rely on focus groups understand what their consumers thought about new ideas and products. Hand written letters or emails eventually arrived as the main channels of feedback. Consumers today are now more connected than ever and feedback is instantaneous and very public through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

The Facebook “Terms of Use” controversy that took place in February 2009 is a good example of instantaneous consumer feedback. While this specific case in not directly related to packaging, it does show how quickly word can spread through social media. According to Wikipedia, the change to the “Terms of Use” was found on February 15. Due to the constant and instant backlash, Facebook reverted to its old “Terms of Use Policy” by February 16 while it could write up a completely new one. This shows how quickly negative perception can be spread about anything.

Both of these cases show how quickly word can spread when even a well thought out, but poorly accepted change is made. Consider and test new designs and products extensively. No brand is immune to real-time, honest, public feedback when it comes to customer perception in this era of social media. 

To read the full articles mentioned in this blog please head to:

Industrial Packaging "3 common packaging fails and how to avoid them"

New York Times "Tropicana discovers some buyers are passionate about packaging"

Wikipedia "Facebook"

 

It is always beneficial to keep track of trends in various industries as a way to plan for the future. At Opportunities Inc. we posted a blog regarding the projected growth of contract packaging in August 2016, as well as the main factors driving that growth. The main trend for growth was sustainability in packaging products. So what does 2017 look like taking this into account? Will the growth factors be similar? Is sustainability still key?

As we get further into 2017 and closer to spring, we decided to take a look at some of the trends that we have already seen and what else can be expected throughout the year for the packaging industry. We compiled information from a variety of blogs to share 2017 design trends locally and globally for the packaging industry.

Design

99designs.com has a great list of trends to expect throughout 2017 for packaging design. Let’s take a look at their list and go over some ways to incorporate them into your products!
Be simple, bold and clear

“Stick to the essentials and make sure they help the buyer make a more informed decision; a clean-cut design can convey information and make a product shine using simplicity.” -99designs.com

Embrace custom lettering

More emphasis on hand-written lettering. Something that makes the customer feel some sort of connection to the product. Lettering that can separate your design from the digital standard text.

Go wild with color

As the title says, go wild! If you’re not sure what colors to choose, take a look back at our packaging color blog. There you’ll find out what colors to choose to ensure your product packaging lines up with your company’s values.

Repeat a pattern

“Although the idea of repetitive shapes might seem simple, the technique can be dynamic and compelling when used correctly.” -99 designs.com

Use illustration as narrative

Let the imagery on your package tell a story about your brand or your product.

Imagine ingenious die cut

“Creating a window in your packaging can show the product in a meaningful or clever way, making a buyer stop and take notice.” -99designs.com

Find vintage inspiration

Create nostalgia

Explore eco-friendly packaging

Similar to 2016, sustainability will continue to push packaging growth!

Put in mail

Growth in e-commerce sites and stores means packaging designs need to be mailable. Make sure your packaging design stands out when consumers’ open it at home!


Global

Mintel.com came up with a great list of trends that are expected to be seen throughout the global packaging industry. Some of these trends are seen through the packaging design itself, and have already been mentioned. 
Global Trends Key trends for 2017 to be on the lookout for:
    - The [Re] Union of Package Structure and Branding
    - The Face and Role of Packaging Online
    - Packaging Gets Smart, Active and Intelligent
    - The Experience of Packaging
    - Extend My Brand

As you can see online packaging is going to be an absolute force in 2017. We are going to see more company’s shying away from multiple brick and mortar stores. Billing and shipping information will continue shifting to online systems. Packaging will also see more quoting and ordering online as well.

United States

Brandpackaging.com and Outlookgroup.com have a great list of trends that are expected to be seen in the US. As mentioned earlier, some of these may be repeats from design and global trends. Again, pay close attention to these in 2017.

CREATIVE CONCEPT

The Outlookgroup.com highlighted the following trends:

    - Focus on digital printing and interactive, intelligent packaging technologies
    - Further growth in flexible packaging
    - Increased demand for graphic design and pre-press talent to implement new nutrition facts panel
    - More focus on food safety, reductions of food waste and sustainability in packaging
    - Increased demand for standardized packaging containers to accommodate shipping in e-commerce

Brandpackaging.com noted the following trends:

    - Establishing a “one size fits all” e-commerce model
    - Prioritizing food safety and the reduction of food waste with new packaging technologies and processes
    - Commercialization of packaging innovations
    - Holistic packaging becoming the “new normal”

A major push for sustainability in packaging will continue globally and e-commerce is mentioned on both of these lists as well. Brand Packaging and Outlook Group put emphasis on a standard e-commerce “one size fits all” model for packaging, a trend which appears throughout all of these lists.

If you would like to see the full lists and descriptions the links are listed below:
Outlook Group Top 5 Trends to Watch in 2017
99 Designs 9 Inspirational Packaging Design Trends for 2017
Mintel Global Packaging Trends 2017
Brand Packaging Top Packaging Trends for 2017

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