Branding & Product Development for Subscription Boxes

Jesse from Cratejoy’s SubscriptionSchool.com walks you through the importance of branding and how to apply simple principles to your business and its products.

What is branding? How does it relate to product development for your subscription box? In this short video, Jesse walks us through the basics of branding and how to apply it to your subscription box.

Branding & Product Development for Subscription Boxes: Transcript

Consider this: You interact with dozens, if not hundreds, of brands every day. And these aren’t just logos or products. They’re a type of personality realized at the intersection of psychology and commerce. They’re a promise and “friend” embodied by a company rather than a person. These brands can outlive products, and strong branding inspire a lasting, powerful connection with customers. So what about yours?

Branding has become ubiquitous over the last 100 years. And with the rise of mass media, the modern means of mass production, and the “world-flattening” effect of the internet, it has become even more powerful. Today, you can kickstart a brand, build a business, and reach out to consumers in incredible new ways in just a matter of a few weeks.

But let’s get real: this is tough work. Branding needs to be compelling, and more importantly, it needs to be cohesive with what you’re offering to customers. It’s natural to ask: Where do I start?

First, we’ve got to understand WHAT a brand is. It’s not simply a company, it’s not simply a logo, and  it’s not simply a product. A brand is an IDENTITY. It’s an EXPERIENCE. A brand is HOW the CUSTOMER PERCEIVES YOU.

When thinking about how this applies to your business, reflect on these few defining points and reasons why strong branding is so important. Ask yourself, how does my brand stand up?

We sat down with Matthew Prindle, professional creative and subscription box entrepreneur about what makes a great brand. Here’s what he had to say:

Matt:  We are emotional creatures. our brains are filters that need to connect to other emotional things. Great brands are personal, they stand out from the crowd, they allow their customers to connect with them and ultimately establish trust.

Now that we understand what a brand is, we can apply that to our product, and the place this can be most pronounced is in the packaging. For your subscription service, this is your physical box, the wrapper of your product offering and the visual storyboard of your brand.

It may seem like a stretch goal, but developing custom packaging is one the best ways to make your service iconic, recognizable, and ultimately, more successful. Here, it’s about taking that character we learned about earlier and applying it to an image. It’s about visually infusing personality into your brand. Here are some tips to consider when thinking about your brand in packaging.

This is Northwest Paper Boxx, who we visited in our first video. They’re a great choice for custom packaging, offering tons fo different solutions. You can customize your design in just about any way, and they offer storage, so you can buy it as you need it. This makes it easy for even the freshest startup to make the leap to custom packaging.

Now you may be asking yourself, “Do I have to? Do I HAVE TO? DO I HAVE TO? BLAH!”

And the answer is no. There are other tools at your disposal when it comes to packaging, like stickers and stamps. But they too have pros and cons:

Beyond packaging, you also need to think about the marriage between your brand to the brands inside your subscription box. Here, there must exist an continuity between you and your featured products. That’s what makes your brand authentic. For example, if your box is all about great pet products, you should only include the best, healthiest pet products.  For more information on procuring the perfect box, be sure to check out our other video:

Branding also deals a lot into product development and customer experience inside your box. Beyond your brand partners, this deal withs things like packing material, presentation, and ultimately the aesthetic, feel, and experience you want your customers to have when engaging with your product

Consider how your “brand” would package things. Would there be packing material or tissue paper? What color would they be? How would the products be arranged? This can vary a lot depending on your product, and you should spend time thinking about how your personality is best expressed in this element of design.

Design is often an iterative process. Rinse, repeat, and revisit your ideas as much as possible while avoiding over thinking anything. So ask yourself, will you be the big brand of tomorrow? Until next time, this is Jesse with Subscription School.

About Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson is an author, educator and co-founder of several successful subscription businesses. He focuses on building engaging communities and has been described as "insanely customer centric." Find him in the Subscription School group or at his blog.

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