The “Ritual of Unpacking” Your Brand

00364_00211Chances are that you own a product made by Apple, as about 63 percent of those between the ages 18 and 49 own at least one Apple product, based on a survey completed by CNBC. Apple doesn’t have to worry about that growth slowing either, as those homes with at least one Apple product actually own three devices total on average.

How does Apple do it?

In my opinion, they focus on two key elements – simplicity and elegance. Additionally, they incorporate these two characteristics into every detail. Finally, I also believe that every company – no matter your industry – can learn something from the success of Apple.

As you may know, I own an order fulfillment company ( that focuses on providing logistical solutions to brand conscious companies. Applying some of Apple’s vision to my own company has unlocked potential and pushed me to place even more attention on finding new ways to incorporate their principles.

For me, it starts with focus – focus on what we are good at, focus on the details, focus on our customers. Although, probably the most unique thing I’ve learned and applied from Apple is this: Branding starts with packaging.

Better than any company I’ve experienced, Apple’s focus on packaging changes the buying experience for their customers. I can tell you exactly where every box for every Apple device that I own is. I can’t say that about any other company or any other device or product that I own.

Here is a crazy thought: the level of excitement that I’ve seen from people (whether posting pictures on Facebook, repeatedly talking about it, or beyond) receiving Apple products is rival to a new car, though at 1/100th of the cost.

Why is that?

In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs
, famous Apple designer (lead designer of iPod, iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Pro) Jonathan Ive said: “I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theatre, it can create a story.”

Does your packaging make your customer feel special?

Does opening your box or receiving your service make your customer feel like they are part of “theatre” or a story?

Packaging creates a story by invoking all five senses, through incorporating something memorable.  Packaging describes the level of quality of your product; it tells your customers that what they purchased matters and was worth every penny.  It can create mystery, provide pleasure, and build expectations.

While the boxes that leave our facility on their way to the buyers of our customers’ products don’t necessarily resemble that of an iPad, we do aim to create experiences, provide some sort of “wow.”  To a certain extent, our customers’ branding decisions (and budgets) determine the opportunities we have to provide this experience.  However, clean and simple packaging can apply to almost any brand.  With each order that we ship, we want our customer to feel like the box that we selected was made for the product(s) that that they purchased.  And at all times, if we can’t enhance the experience, we definitely don’t want to detract from it.

The results are amazing, and I’m in the mindset that we only hear about a fraction of the “wows” that we actually help create.  What is fun about this all is that each story that we interact with pushes to be more creative and to find even better ways to represent our customers’ unique brands.  We are in a unique position in that we have nothing to do with product design, affecting the customers buying decisions, or charging a fair price.  What we do affect, we take very seriously and we know it matters – aiming for our packages to experience a “ritual of unpacking” when they arrive.

Just ask an Apple customer – that is probably you.