It’s What’s Outside That Counts: The Packaging

We are now more than halfway through the rebrand of #ahasmember Handcrafted HoneyBee. Once again, we welcome Robert and Stacia Guzzo, founders of Handcrafted HoneyBee to the blog. This energetic #ahasmember business team has generously offered to share their recent, dramatic rebranding journey with our community. Here is Part 6, as told by Robert.

The entire series can be found here:
read the prologue here
Part 1 (where they talk about their need to change) here

Part 2 (why it takes awhile to get a rebrand right)
Part 3 (what it's like finding a designer)

Part 4 (creating compelling content)
Part 5 (creating and using your brand guide)

Part 6 (creating compelling packaging)
Part 7 (juggling two brands at once)

Part 8 (building a homepage)
Part 9 (launching their new site)
Epilogue (why going through a rebrand helps you love your brand more)
AND read their designer's advice on getting better with graphic design here

When I was young, my family received a Whitman’s Sampler candy box, and I’ll never forget it. 

Have you ever had an “assorted chocolate” candy box? When you’re a kid, the typical assortment breaks down into 25% awesome, 25% pretty good and 50% blecccchh. 

But since everything is covered in chocolate, there’s no way for a child to know which is which. It’s a total crap shoot. Like Forrest Gump says, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

But the Whitman’s Sampler solved that problem by providing a handy candy map, printed right on the inside cover of the box! With one simple touch, they transformed a completely random selection into a voyage of discovery.

I was fascinated. I would carefully consider all of the many possibilities, reading exotic words like “nougat” and “quince” before making my selection. For the first time in my young life, I was in complete control of my candy destiny, and it felt good.

And though many years have passed since I have even seen one, I could describe every detail of that Whitman’s Sampler box.

That’s the kind of customer experience we wanted for our brand’s box of goodies.

Crafting the Experience for Two Different Customers

The packaging design project ran concurrently with the development of the logo and visual style. As with any design project, we began with a discussion of goals and content.

Our top goal was packaging that could speak for itself. Previously, our products would sell when we were there in person to speak with the customers. But we didn’t have packaging that could sell a product on a shelf or on a website.

Our second goal was to provide a great customer experience from the moment she saw the box all through the kit creation process. We knew that cohesively branded, well designed packaging could contribute to that goal.

Both of these goals were complicated by the fact that we have two customers, not one. From point of contact onward, we needed to connect with both the buyer (aka the grown-up) and the kit creator (aka the girl)

We needed the grown-up to feel like we were delivering on the educational content, and the girl to feel like we were delivering on the fun. 

Fortunately, because we had spent so much prep time honing in on our brand, we knew just how to blend the educational and fun aspects in a way that was consistent with the brand. And it all rested on guiding the customer on a journey with an amazing unboxing experience.

The Customer Journey

As part of the content we provided our designer Sarah, we outlined the sequence of feelings we wanted our girls–and the grown-up looking over her shoulder–to experience. 

  1. Curiosity
  2. Anticipation
  3. Interest
  4. Excitement
  5. Delight
  6. Fascination
  7. Exploration
  8. Inspiration
  9. Accomplishment

The experience begins from the moment a girl sees the box in a store or on our site. It continues as she pulls off the outer packaging, opens up the box & sees all the goodies and surprises contained inside. As she follows the instructions, she begins to gain confidence, feeling a sense of satisfaction with what she has accomplished. 

To be clear, we weren’t asking our designer to carry the load all by herself. We knew that well-planned, well-written copy was crucial if we wanted to guide a girl through that journey. But design absolutely played its part as well.

All the Other Parts & Pieces

What other content did we need to provide our designer before she could get to work creating killer designs for our packaging? What parameters, constraints & guidelines did she need to produce effective physical deliverables?

  • Packaging materials, type, size & use
  • Label dimensions
  • Labeling requirements & regulations including:
    – Primary display panel
    – Volume/weight listing
    – Location/size of UPC barcode
    – Required manufacturer information
  • List of product components requiring labels:
    – Outer box sleeve
    – Box exterior
    – Instruction booklet
    – Box packing material
    – Ingredient containers
    – Auxiliary materials (“About the Makers” postcard, stickers, etc)

Oh, by the way…we needed labeling for pre-made skin care products too, with their own rules & regulations for information, placement & proportion!

From Content to Design

Sarah set to work. As you might expect, the packaging design needed to align with the the overall design for the rebrand. We also sent samples of all of our containers, boxes & bags for Sarah to hold in her hands. 

And boy did she deliver! 

We could tell that her designs would help us accomplish our goals. But just to make sure that everything would resonate with our target customer, we created a test group.

We sent kits to two dozen moms and girls for them to use, enjoy & evaluate. The feedback that we got from both daughters and moms confirmed that we had absolutely hit the mark.

We were all dressed up & ready to go…but would we have an audience when it came time to launch?

Next Time: You can have the slickest design, the coolest website & the bestest customer experience. But if no one knows you exist, then no one will ever see any of it. I’ll rewind the story (yet again) to show you the content marketing we were publishing both before, during, and after the rebrand.

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