‘There’s something that isn’t quite right’, I said to my friend, who I was visiting over Christmas, ‘not sure what it is though’.
‘I know what you mean. I wonder what it is?’
‘Actually, I think it might be the fact that we don’t have a BOX of chocolates!’
‘What? We’ve got loads of chocolate!’
‘Yes, but it’s not in a box!’
It was true. We had lots of bars of chocolate and very nice stuff at that. But we didn’t have a box. So on Boxing Day (no pun intended!) on our way to a lovely walk up by Tarn Hows in the Lake District, we stopped at a garage and bought ourselves a beautiful box of chocolates.
Later that day, some friends came by for an evening of game playing. They brought a huge box of chocolates which they’d already opened, but there were lots left. Lucky us, now two boxes!
‘Oh no!’ said Jenny, as the new box fell to the carpet and all the chocolates fell out. ‘I didn’t realize it was already open. Well, I’ll just get a bowl and put them all in that’.
And that’s how we discovered that chocolates need to be in a box. Because what had looked lovely before in their special display packaging, looked very ordinary indeed in the bowl. Not particularly appetizing looking, we couldn’t see the nice little decoration on top of each chocolate, and they clearly needed the packaging to set them off.
‘Oh my goodness! We really are paying for the packaging, and even when we know that, when it’s so obviously demonstrated, we don’t mind! We actually WANT the chocolates in a box! Perhaps not for every day, but definitely for a special occasion’.
And how often do we complain about the packaging, and having to pay for it?
This reminded me of the importance of a great frame to complement a good painting. I’m aware of this in particular because I was brought up by two artists, so I have an eye for this kind of thing. So often a lovely picture is ruined because the mount and/or the frame are not bringing out the full potential of the painting.
And that reminds me of why it’s important to package what you offer in an attractive manner. If you’re running a business, packaging is essential even if it’s for a service. But you could just be talking about your self – why else do you pay attention to how you dress when you want to make an impression?
Actually we pay attention to appearances all the time – you spruce up your home when someone comes visiting or you’re preparing to sell; you clean your car before your mother in law comes to visit; you clean up the kitchen at the end of the day because you like it to look fresh and welcoming first thing in the morning. But it’s particularly prevalent when it comes to selling anything.
Whether we like it or not, even when we realize we are paying for packaging, sometimes that is exactly what is needed in order to present our wares in the most attractive and tempting manner possible. Even when the buyer knows this is what is going on, they are still willing to pay for that, especially when for whatever reason, it’s a special occasion.
So – think about the packaging of what you’re offering in the next situation when it’s appropriate. Do you want to give the chocolates in a box? In a bowl? Or just a bar of chocolate? They all have their place – but what do YOU want to be offering?