Align Your Packaging with Your Brand Refresh

Align Your Packaging with Your Brand Refresh

Posted By on Jun 13th 2024

EcoEnclose partners with brands of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to small online stores. With over 50,000 brands served, we have found that they share a commitment to sustainability and need high-performance packaging.

The EcoAlly Experience offers a comprehensive sustainable packaging partnership. So, when you've decided to start a brand refresh, know that EcoEnclose is ready to support your packaging rebrand from start to finish. We look forward to working with you on your sustainable packaging journey.

A Helpful Guide to Aligning Your Packaging with Your New Brand Look

Companies refresh their brands every few years. EcoEnclose refreshes our EcoAllies' packaging brands several times a month. If you're embarking on a brand or packaging refresh, let's collaborate to ensure the success of your project.

A brand refresh, or rebrand, is a strategy for companies looking to evolve their identity, stay relevant, and align with changing market dynamics or new business goals.

Brand refreshes can involve updating logos, product design, brand colors, messaging, and core values. However, one critical element of this process too often becomes an afterthought: packaging.

As we've worked with brands undergoing a refresh, we've noticed that the discussion about packaging—especially shipping packaging—comes late or at the last minute. A team might redevelop their brand, update the logo and color palette, revamp the website, complete advertising and marketing creatives, and upgrade product labels. Then, someone asks, "What about the packaging?"

But packaging shouldn't be left to the last minute. It's not just a protective layer for your products; it's a powerful touchpoint for your brand and a vital component of elevating your rebranding.

eco-friendly packaging

Why Is Packaging Important?

Packaging plays a multifaceted role in your brand refresh:

  • First Impressions: Your packaging is often the first physical interaction customers have with your brand. It sets the tone for their entire experience.
  • Brand Consistency: Packaging that aligns with your rebrand ensures consistency across all customer touchpoints and reinforces your new brand strategy.
  • Customer Engagement: Innovative and attractive packaging can enhance the unboxing experience, making it memorable and shareable.
  • Sustainability Messaging: Modern consumers value eco-friendly practices. Packaging is a tangible way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
  • Competitive Edge: Unique, well-designed packaging can differentiate your products from competitors on retail shelves and online marketplaces.

Why Is Packaging Often Overlooked?

Despite its importance, packaging is frequently an afterthought in the rebranding process. This oversight can occur because:

  • Focus on Digital Presence: Many brands prioritize updating their website, social media, and digital marketing materials.
  • Complex Logistics: Redesigning packaging involves coordination with suppliers, printers, and sometimes regulatory bodies, making it a complex task.
  • Cost Considerations: Packaging updates can be perceived as costly, leading some brands to delay or minimize changes.

These factors are all real and can be challenging to balance. We know you're juggling many projects under the umbrella of a brand refresh. And we're here to help make your packaging update a success!

How to Successfully Update Your Packaging During a Rebrand or Brand Refresh

While updating your packaging can seem daunting, with careful planning and consideration, it can be a smooth and rewarding process.

Here are some practical tips we've used to help make our EcoAllies' packaging updates successful.

Tip 1: Know Your Goals and Decision Criteria

"What does success look like for this packaging project?"

Whether you're still in the early stages of a rebrand or wrapping things up, it's critical to consider the specifics of your packaging refresh.

Defining your goals and priorities will help you avoid wasting time and energy trying to figure things out as you go. It will also give you a result more closely aligned with your brand vision.

You can discuss your goals alone, with other project team members, or with a business mentor. If you need help figuring out where to start, we'll help you identify the best path forward for your packaging update.

Here are some examples of decision criteria your brand may consider:

  • Rebrand Purpose: Identify the core motivation of your rebrand/brand refresh. For example, are you modernizing? Moving to a new or expanded market? Going more natural? Once you've solidified the purpose, consider what packaging strategies will best support it.
  • Brand Aesthetic: Get a clear picture of your desired brand image and aesthetic. What are your new brand colors/fonts, and how do you want them to appear in your packaging? When customers engage with your refreshed brand, how do you want their unboxing experience to look and feel?
  • Sustainability: Revisit your brand's specific sustainability values and goals. What impact are you striving for? What does your customer base prioritize in terms of sustainability? For example, are they looking for plastic-free, zero-waste, low carbon footprint, etc.?
  • Budget: Define your brand's per-unit packaging budget. Do you have specific budgets for retail vs shipping packaging? Are you looking for a premium solution or the most cost-effective option?
  • Lead Times: Determine the timeline for packaging for your relaunch. How quickly do you need your new packaging? What kind of lead times do you need in the long term? How do you prioritize lead times vs cost per unit?
  • Operational Alignment: Consider your brand's unique operational needs. Do you have copackers with specific requirements? Do you need to hit particular filling or fulfillment times with your packaging? Do you need to hit shipping rates? Does your product need to be palletized in a certain way?
  • Performance and Protection: Identify requirements for how your packaging performs on the shelf or in transit. Do you ship fragile items that require additional cushioning or anti-bend structures? Do you need water resistance? Does your brand perform drop or stress testing?
  • Risk Tolerance: Decide your willingness to try new options during your rebrand. For most of our brands, their #1 priority during a brand refresh is "no surprises" in their packaging. They want to ensure the packaging arrives on time and delivers the desired experience. Once the relaunch is completed, these brands may have more appetite to take risks on sustainability innovations in the future.

Example: Brand Decision Criteria

Rebrand Goals Background on brand refresh: Brand refresh is focused on moving from mid-market to a luxury, premium product and brand. Moving colors to a darker palette: Black and silver as key colors. Moving to Lato font. Working with two breakout celebrities as brand advocates to help convey luxury / premium feel. Updating website to a super sleek, minimalist experience.

Implications for packaging:

  • Flood coated black will be important for many packaging applications
  • Looking for silver foil for accents
  • Sleek, minimalist packaging design - thin fonts, minimal copy
  • Eliminate transparency (i.e. get rid of windows, move from transparent to opaque bottles, etc)
  • Where possible, use boxes for shipping versus mailers - to enable a layered, luxury delivery experience

Important for the retail box to have a unique shelf presence - one that really stands out from competitors (based on design, sizing, and material).

Consistency - want every piece of packaging to have elements of consistency and tie together.

Budget Fully loaded unit cost - looking for premium feel.
  • Retail cartons are under $X for 8 oz, under $Y for 12 oz.
  • Shipping boxes are under $X for small (single unit) box, under $Y for large (double unit) box.


All packaging will undergo aggressive drop testing and full ISTA testing before it is approved to explore further.
Sustainability All curbside recyclable by 2025 (Glass, paperboard, #1 and #2 plastics; all packaging over 2” on all dimensions).

Maximum PCW possible. Post industrial waste when recycled isn’t possible.

Consider algae ink - not essential but nice to have.

Lead Times Brand relaunch is in 16 weeks so tight turnaround is needed.
Operations 2 of our 3PLs will require mailers (won’t use boxes). Other 3 are fine with boxes.
Risk Tolerance Will prioritize solutions with no risk - avoid innovative formats, designs and materials during this update.

Once you've determined your goals and decision criteria, EcoEnclose will match you to the packaging solutions that best suit your needs.

recycled packaging

Tip 2: Expect and Understand Tradeoffs Between Goals

"What will we prioritize when conflicting issues come up?"

During a packaging update, you may encounter difficult decisions. Don't give up. Instead, recognize that this is simply part of the process. Finding a workable solution that aligns with your priorities is almost always possible, and we're here to help you evaluate your options.

Here's an example to show you how you might work through a tradeoff:

Recently, we worked with a brand looking for a high-end experience and a premium packaging look that required a white mailer. They encountered two obstacles during their packaging refresh and had to navigate tradeoffs.

First tradeoff: The white mailer they wanted could not be made with 100% recycled material due to challenges with recycled content and pure white coloring. The brand decided this was an acceptable compromise and tested the 80% recycled white mailer.

Second tradeoff: After further research, they discovered that the white mailer was 20% more expensive. Ultimately, cost became a key factor for them. They decided to return to the 100% recycled kraft mailer, and we helped them design compatible custom prints.

For another example of navigating tradeoffs, dig into this EcoAlly case study.

Tip 3: Take Advantage of Samples and Prototyping

"What do we need to have hands-on experience with before ordering packaging?"

Packaging prototypes can be a tremendous help as you execute your brand refresh.

Getting samples in your hands lets you visualize your packaging and how customers will perceive it. Physical prototypes can make decision-making much more manageable when working with multiple stakeholders!

It's important to note that samples and prototypes often have some limitations. Since your sample is generally handmade or die-cut, printed digitally, and hand-converted, it's difficult to print and produce a perfect replica of your final product. We will work with you to understand the differences between your physical sample and your actual delivered packaging.

Tip 4: Don't Forget the Details

"Does this have the consistent look, feel, and function we want?"

We know you have many factors to consider as you work on a brand refresh, from managing stakeholder input to coordinating with your operational team.

Amidst all this, don't let the details fall through the cracks! The "small things," like color matching and font selection, tie your packaging together.

Color matching may seem simple, but updating your packaging can take time and effort. And since color is critical, we have a system to get this right! You're working with various printing methods and substrates when you have multiple packaging solutions, such as mailers, retail boxes, or bottles. For example, color comes out differently in digital vs. flexographic printing.

As you finalize your packaging, we recommend getting swatches across your substrates and printing methodologies to ensure your colors, fonts, and designs come to life.

Tip 5: Don't Forget to Consider Sustainability

"How do our new packaging solutions align with our impact goals?"

As you make decisions, keep sight of sustainability!

Even if sustainability and circularity aren't core to your company values or brand refresh, every brand will benefit from considering them.

Sustainability is a significant factor for almost every discerning consumer today, and it is a growing topic among retailers and legislators. Striving to have a positive impact with your packaging can also create an internal win for employees and boost engagement and morale.

We help you maximize your packaging's sustainability by prioritizing recycled content, recyclability, and circularity. We can also identify ways to reduce the materials you use and minimize your carbon footprint. As we help you navigate sustainability, we ensure we're still achieving your other goals.

To see how packaging decisions affect your brand's impact, explore our EcoSavings calculator here.

spoonflower recycled mailer

Your Brand Refresh Driven Packaging Update With EcoEnclose

EcoEnclose specializes in helping brands navigate the complex packaging landscape during a rebrand.

We understand the critical role packaging plays in communicating your new brand identity and are committed to providing sustainable, high-quality solutions tailored to your needs.

How EcoEnclose Supports Your Rebrand:

  • Goal Definition and Success Criteria: We assist you in defining clear goals and decision criteria for your packaging update, ensuring alignment with your overall rebranding strategy.
  • Propose Options that Meet Your Needs: Once we know what you need, we'll propose solutions within our solution set that best achieve your goals and meet your requirements.
  • Navigating Tradeoffs: Our team helps you understand and manage tradeoffs between goals, such as sustainability versus cost or lead times versus design complexity.
  • Attention to Detail: From color matching to material selection, we ensure every detail of your packaging aligns with your new brand look.
  • Prototyping and Samples: We provide samples and prototypes, allowing you to visualize and test your packaging before final production.
  • Sustainability Focus: We prioritize eco-friendly solutions, helping you reduce your carbon footprint and meet your sustainability goals without compromising quality or aesthetics.

Ready to Transform Your Packaging?

As you embark on your brand refresh journey, EcoEnclose is your trusted partner. We help ensure your updated packaging meets and exceeds your expectations and creates a memorable customer experience.

Get in touch today, and we'll help you create a custom roadmap to make your packaging refresh successful.