Unpacking the unboxing phenomenon: Vista Australia

Bhavani Lee, art director at Vista Australia explains how small businesses can build brand impact and connection through strategic packaging and the power of social media. 

Gone are the days when we had to wait for birthdays and special occasions to experience the excitement and anticipation of unwrapping a gift. Thanks to skyrocketing online orders, the thrill of opening a package is now just a ‘place order’ click away any day of the year. 

Welcome to the unboxing phenomenon – the little thrill we all get when we open a parcel, and the need many of us feel to share our experience with others, especially on social media.  

Unboxing has created a big opportunity for small businesses. If you can make a big splash with your packaging, you get the ripple effects that follow, from greater loyalty and advocacy from happy customers, to brand awareness from unboxing videos shared on social media. 

Creating the experience  

Building brand awareness through unboxing starts with the packaging. But it’s not about delivering a box, it’s about delivering an experience. The ultimate goal is to try and spark a moment of connection and joy, because when a customer feels good about an experience, they feel good about the business that created it. Consider also incorporating authentic personal touches and gentle reminders of your brand in the packaging, inside and out.  

Branding the experience 

Your approach to branding here can scale over time, and in line with both your aesthetic and your budget. For example, branded stickers are a simple, clean and effective way to add your logo to any parcel for instant recognition and to build the brand experience in a clear and consistent way. Going a step further, a custom-designed mailer box can really elevate your brand and kick-start the unboxing excitement, even before the package is opened. 

Many savvy businesses today look beyond just using logos when branding packaging, often incorporating graphic illustrations, cool typography and quotes that reflect their brand voice to build impact and interest. 

Including loose branded stickers inside a parcel is also an easy way to create brand exposure wherever customers place them, while traditional marketing materials like business cards and postcards are inexpensive, versatile assets that can be inserted to thank customers for their order or encourage them to share their experience on social. 

Social psychology’s ‘law of reciprocity’ applies here. When someone does something nice for us, we want to do something nice in return. Make your customer feel valued by including a thank you card and they just might share their positive experience with others, even without you asking them to. 

You can also entice customers with an incentive on the card insert to encourage customers to share, tag and post. Free shipping or a discount on their next order might be all that’s needed to get your product on their socials. Make sure to include your social account handles so they can tag you in their posts. 

Sharing the experience  

You don’t need to rely on customers’ social channels. You can tap into the unboxing phenomenon on your own social media too. 

For example, you can give customers a glimpse behind the scenes by sharing videos of orders being packed, and of your own unboxing with your suppliers to show customers you care about the product too. 

When a customer tags you, share their content on your social channels. Encourage other customers to follow suit by creating a regular story or post that puts your customers in the spotlight, like a Friday Shout Out to thank and engage followers and build your relationship with them.  

Building a consistent experience 

Building brand awareness by leveraging the unboxing trend is within reach of small businesses, with end-to-end packaging solutions available across all budgets. 

At Vista, we are seeing more small businesses taking an end-to-end approach, from creating packaging to surprise and delight moments through VistaPrint, to elevating social content with simple animations and templates via VistaCreate.  

Whatever your approach, consistency is key. The look you create should flow across all branded elements, but you don’t need an in-house design department to achieve that. Using design templates and budget-friendly graphic design services like 99designs can ensure unboxing assets are on point. 

Packaging and social media are a dynamic duo when it comes to building brand recognition in the unboxing era, so remember to link the two and help your customers become your biggest advocates online.  

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