Archive for the 'Feature Article' Category

Feb 16 2012 Packaging Marketplace Moves Out of Beta, Enabling the Packaging Supply Chain

World’s leading sourcing marketplace expands their commitment to helping product manufacturing companies get their products to market faster and at the best value

The Packaging Diva partner, and creator of the packaging platform is proud to announce that they are taking the packaging marketplace out of beta. After months of rigorous testing, is elated to officially launch its proprietary packaging marketplace.  It is available immediately at, for all manufacturers in the packaging ecosystem.

The packaging marketplace is the only online platform that gives those who have a packaging need the on-demand tools to automatically discover and collaborate with the right suppliers, securely submit RFQs and receive quotes in an online, easy-to-compare format.  For packaging suppliers, the marketplace is the most powerful lead generation tool available, providing a steady stream of prospective customers from a variety of channels.

“We basically make a $1.3 trillion dollar industry that is complex and highly fragmented much easier to navigate,” said Mitch Free, Founder and CEO of, “We have had a lot of positive feedback and have worked diligently to get the packaging marketplace to this huge milestone and are pleased to be moving it officially out of beta.” is the global leader in online marketplaces for mechanical parts, textiles & apparel and now packaging.  87% of the Fortune 100 Manufacturing companies and hundreds of thousands of small & medium sized manufacturing businesses already use  With over 200,000 members in 50 countries, launching a packaging marketplace was a natural progression.

“We continue to be laser focused on helping product manufacturing companies get their products to market faster and at the best value. Almost everything that is manufactured needs to be packaged and finding the right supplier that will deliver on-time, under budget and to your rigorous quality standards can be a challenge,” said Free, “The packaging marketplace brings years of expertise in making these vial connections in diverse manufacturing industries.”

“I am honored to have been involved in the launch of this game-changing marketplace,” said JoAnn Hines, an industry expert branded the “Packaging Diva”, “A place where you can go to find qualified and rated suppliers based on your precise specifications and receive easily comparable quotes in real-time online was unheard of…until now. People come to me every day and ask for recommendations on where to find qualified packaging manufacturers. Now, the whole sourcing process is extremely streamlined. Making your packaging requirements become a reality is priceless in this ever-changing, complex industry.”

Go to to register for your free account.

About is the largest online marketplace for the global manufacturing industry.’s platform enables companies to intelligently connect, source, collaborate and perform due diligence with transparency and intellectual property protection. It supports virtually all manufacturing processes and industrial components, is in seven major languages, more than 50 currencies and has more than 200,000 contract manufacturers and members on five continents. is based in Atlanta and has offices in Shanghai and Paris. For more information: &

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Feb 13 2012

The Right Packaging Counts!

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What do I want for valentines? It’s sure not a tiger footed hoodie from Pajamagrams.

If you are looking to impress me or her the right packaging can make a difference.

Will it be the traditional candy in a box like this?


According to Packaging Digest U.S. sales of chocolate are expected to exceed $19 billion in 2014, up from $16 billion in 2006, according to Rockville, MD-based Packaged Facts, a market research group. Of that, premium chocolate will account for 25 percent of sales in 2011, up from 17 percent five years earlier.

I’m a chocoholic so this might work.

But even better this truly fits the bill. (Still waiting for my packaging review sample)
Add this to my wish list for anytime giving.

Diva Vodka

Or what about a complete pizza dinner in a box along with a proposal (I’m married thank you).


Or even something handmade from the heart?


With so many great options out there how do you choose what’s right for her?
It’s all in the packaging: Marrying the right product with the right message in superlative packaging.
So whatever gift you choose be sure it fits her and her personality and what she really wants.
It doesn’t have to be pink or even red as long as it connects with her on a core level.
The right packaging can make it possible before she even opens your gift.

In case you thought I forgot, your man needs a Valentine too.


Just kidding!

But this will warm the cockles of any man’s heart (women too)


Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.

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Jan 30 2012

Bubble Wrap Branding

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I’m always seeking fun and creative ways to market my clients, and myself so I just couldn’t overlook this opportunity. Chase’s Calendar of Events has chosen January 30 as this year’s day when Americans should stop and appreciate the uniqueness and versatility of Bubble Wrap®.

Even more interesting is that Bubble Wrap® was invented as plastic wallpaper with a paper backing. After the plastic wallpaper failed to take off in the consumer market, the inventors realized that their invention could be used as a packaging material. Look where it is today, a mainstream of modern life. We can all aspire to having our product become a household word. Wouldn’t it be great if the first person someone thinks of when they have a problem to resolve or needs a solution were you and your product?

The point of this trivial information is to send home the message that your success is all about branding. It is vital to brand yourself. That means build an image in someone’s mind that pops (no pun intended) to the forefront when they need a particular product, service or expertise. Branding yourself doesn’t happen overnight. First, you have to compete with the awareness factor. (Do they even know that you exist?) Next, you have to overcome the credibility factor. (They know who you are, but do they know what you can do for them?) Finally, you have to tackle accessibility or availability (Can they reach you when they need to? Do they know where and how to get in touch with you?)

Think again about Bubble Wrap® and all of its unlikely applications. People never seem to throw it away. They save it for future uses or because it’s cool and works as a definite de-stressor. That is how you want your clients/customers to think of you. They save your info for when the need arises and remember the infinite ways that they can use your services.

So what lesson can we learn from Bubble Wrap®? Sometimes our marketing efforts might move in unpredictable ways. Ways we could not have conceived when we thought of the original idea. However, no idea, no matter how bizarre it may seem should be discarded. The secret lies in capturing those ideas when they arise and using them as a platform to focus on bigger and better opportunities.  So get out of your bubble and begin a strategy that concentrates on branding yourself.

Need to know who’s got the latest concepts in packaging innovation? I know, that’s what I do-track packaging trends and innovation and how it is going to impact your business. I’ll share how I BubbleWrap® branded myself too.

Get connected with me the #1 connected person in packaging JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva for: Answers, Advice, Results!

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Jan 16 2012

Packaging Blog Basics

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Even though packaging is the third largest industry in the US is always been behind the scenes and not in the forefront of the media especially on the social scene. The media and consumers are finally paying attention so the time for a successful and interesting packaging blog is now.

Because of renewed interest in packaging a lot of companies are creating packaging blogs. Every day new blogs surface. The way it works for most companies someone is assigned the task to blog about packaging without a serious understanding what blogging is all about.

I’ve been studying the packaging blogosphere for quite some time and there are really some superlative examples out there, especially in the realm of packaging design and packaging sustainability. I’ve created what I consider the most extensive list of packaging blogs at my own blogroll @

Before you get all huffy because you are not on my packaging blogroll list I’ll explain why.

The majority of packaging blogs are BORING! They simply don’t have a clue about how to blog or what to blog about. They are either collections of current news archives, directories of other packaging web sites or in the worst case scenario self serving sales promotions for the company. Who cares? Seriously people, provide some meaningful information. I’m not going to follow you (nor will any one else) if all you do is pitch products or showcase uninteresting product descriptions and I really don’t care who you just hired.

There is a whole world of exciting information on packaging available. That’s the whole secret behind successful blogging: compelling content, information or insights that people want to know. I don’t want to see a bunch of pages telling me what you are selling, I already know that. I want you to tell me how I can do my job better as a packaging professional, fix my packaging problems, be more cost effective, showcase the latest packaging innovations or stay in tune with the latest packaging trends.

What are the latest packaging trends?
Five Global Packaging Trends That Could Change Your Life @
Tell me what you know, help me find some answers.
Ten Packaging Resolutions You Can Keep @
At the very least let me come away with some insights that will make me successful.
Does Your Packaging Speak Human? @

Prove to me that packaging is as interesting to the world as it is to you and your company. Learn these packaging blog basics and you will have a winning packaging blog kid will want follow and recommend to others.

Why listen to me? I’m the most influential packaging person in social media.  So follow me on Twitter as @packagingdiva and I’ll teach you how you can influential too.

Got a blog you want me to look at just comment here and I’ll take a peek.

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Jan 03 2012

Packaging Resolutions You CAN Keep

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Take a moment to reflect on the past year from a packaging perspective. There were lots of stories in the news about the role packaging plays in our society — from less packaging to “wrap rage.” One thing we have learned is “negative” packaging gets lots of press and in most cases “good” packaging gets none.

Let’s think about how we can positively promote our industry and your products in the minds of the consumer for 2012. Set your sights on a few resolutions to create a more lasting impression with the ultimate market for your products: the consumer.

1. First, learn to think like the customer. At one time or another, we all shop. Think critically from that side of the aisle. What annoys you in product packaging? “Wrap-rage” dominates the news during the holidays.

WrapRage over packaging

but what if all the products came damaged and broken? Would those same consumers decry the lack of or improper packaging? You bet! People love to rail about packaging failures.

2. You may not think “less” packaging is good but what about the consumer? Do they really want less or has this “green” issue been created by the media? I know a lot of companies are jumping on the green bandwagon but are consumers willing to pay the price and do they truly care? It’s something to consider before making a wholesale leap into the “green” space.

I heard a great quote at the Sustainable Plastics Packaging conference: “The consumer knows just enough on sustainability to get them through a cocktail party” so what do they really think about your packaging?

3. Step back and think about what product packaging attributes you personally like and why. Recently, I was interviewed about why marketers insist on changing well-defined and successful product packaging. Consumers don’t like when trusted brands have a new look in packaging. So don’t get caught up in change for change’s sake. Listen to what the customer says about what they want changed in the package or work to fulfill an unmet need.

Here’s a great packaging example with a multitude of purposes.  Fulfilling a need.

Oneglass™ Wine

4. Try to more clearly think like and understand your target market. Whether it’s women, men, boomers or a younger generation it’s important to understand what the consumer expects from your product packaging. We always hear about packaging that doesn’t work, but what about the packaging that does?  How can you take successful packaging innovation and integrate that into your brand? Or could your packaging the brand itself?

We’ve see some great examples emerge this year like this.

LifeBox the box is the brand.

via Inhabitat
Here’s another example

via eBay

5. Does your packaging connect with the consumer in a meaningful way? Here is an example of what I mean by connecting. We all know Elizabeth Taylor and the upscale image she portrays. Remember her White Diamonds campaign?  Well, someone persuaded her to endorse a new cologne, Daytona 500. Duh! She went from Diamonds to NASCAR. No consumer can make that leap regardless how well the product is packaged.

Do you get these perfume/cologne packages? I don’t:

Orwell Perfume

via Packaging Of The World

Konvict Cologne (You’re kidding right?)

6. Learn from bad packaging examples. There are a plenty of good ideas that went bad for a number of reasons. It could be something totally unexpected.

Think about what happened to Tropicana

and SunChips compostable packaging.

Interestingly enough both of these examples cam from the same parent company. No names of course.

What looks like a good marketing angle turns out to have negative consumer repercussions. Look out for watch dog groups that might be on the attack against your latest marketing concept. You think it’s creative — they think it’s bad marketing or at the worst inappropriate marketing.

7. Learn from good packaging examples. There are so many good examples it’s hard to select just a few so I decided to use some from a “hot” packaging category. Liquor. Liquor packaging has undergone a transformation along with the new product offerings. It’s not uncommon to find designer packaging along with designer prices. I’ll mention two. Diva Vodka complimented with Swarovski Crystals and other precious gemstones and Gold Flakes Vodka care to guess what’s inside?

I think they should send me a bottle as the Packaging Diva.

Diva Vodka

The point is they have created a distinct point of differentiation through their product packaging. That is the message you need to consider for your products.

8. Create brand extensions through innovation not simply by adding a so-called new and improved packaged product. Here are examples of two packaging innovations that have crossed over through innovation. Wishbone Salad Dressing typically marketed in a pourable bottle. It has moved into a spray pump application. Spritz a little dressing on your salad. The product fulfills a consumer need to have an easier way for calorie control. Another example is Laughing Cow Cheese in the traditional foil wrapped wedges has moved into a squeeze bottle application to make it easier for portion control and also easier to spread.

9. Stay on top of industry trends. Every January I predict packaging trends for the coming year so your work is done for you. Review these and incorporate them into your marketing strategy.

10. Think big picture. One of the most surprising things I read this week was about the most popular web searches on the Internet. Despite the obvious media “superstars” that are popular some of the other “hottest” inquires for name brands are not American. Yes, I know we are brainwashed into thinking that the US is the center of the universe, but this is changing and your packaging better keep up.

The bottom line is whatever the resolution you make for your product packaging remember the consumer is king or queen. Their packaging concerns should resonate with your brand. If they demand things as to your product packaging, resolve to listen to them.

Good packaging resolutions are easy to keep and will reinforce your brand in the eyes of the consumer.

Need to know whose got the latest concepts in packaging innovation? I know that’s what I do-track packaging trends and innovation and how it is going to impact your business. Get connected with me JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva at my web site or by phone 1-678-594-6872.

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