Today it’s like the entire world has shrunk down to Instagram. Amongst the crowd of people, many Brands and Businesses have found themselves a safe space there to run and breathe free, across and regardless of borders and languages.
Instagram as a Business Platform
Many, almost all, brands started identifying Instagram as a medium to reach their target audience then and with the availability and increasing additions of business-supportive policies and tools and now the ‘shop’ feature, Instagram has successfully gained a second identity of being a ‘business platform’. Further with the rise of the Influencer Culture and its fast-paced ongoing growth (even as we speak), brands of all sizes, and throughout the globe, have transformed Instagram into a giant billboard. I mean we all have a bunch (or loads) of influencers on our feeds and explore sections regardless of what fields or topics may we be interested in or keep track of. And we haven’t possibly not seen an ‘Unboxing Video’ or stories/posts/reels saying “So this came in the mail today” or reading “PR/Gifted*”.
Up until now, it’s all well and good. Influencer marketing not only allows brands to tap, attract and entice micro target audiences but also offers a stream of income or goodies to many (influencers). Brands send in their products, and these creators show it to their following, simple!
So now where does the problem actually lay?
While it’s all been all good for all heretofore, the matter of concern turns out to be the packaging. Yes, sounds about right, a concern. And one that’s not much acted upon and even less recognized
The often over-the-top grandeur boxes, filled in and dolled up with all the glitz and glam, frills and confetti, which by the way often carry the tiniest of the goods, may be good for the ‘gram but not so much for the world outside.
Now no doubt that Influencer Marketing and sending PR packages are the present of marketing. They help reach micro audiences, corroborate the brand’s identity and promises, promote credibility and so much more. With this endless list of benefits that accompany Influencer marketing, it’s important to do it right, better than others and simply stand out in this overly saturated ‘gram world. But is OTT packaging really the trick to pull? Well, not quite and here’s why.
It’s where these huge PR boxes, with excess and unnecessary cardboard, plastics, thermocol, bubble wraps, paper, ribbons, confetti, packing peanuts come in, sustainability and healthy mother earth takes a leave!
- Often, at large, in practice is a bunch of non-bio degradable, non-recyclable, simply hazardous stuff that’s used to create the very cute and pretty PR packages you see on your feed. When ideally these shouldn’t be part of the parcel at all, these are used rather excessively to merely create something that looks aesthetic to the eyes and serves absolutely no purpose.
- Now even if the packaging material is replaced with a more sustainable one, it would still continue to harm and be pointless if the usage isn’t brought under control. Excess use and wastage of even the most environment friendly goods negates the point of being sustainable.
This may come as a shocker but neither ever nor every time (or at all) does an influencer appreciate the PR packages. With the growing consciousness and dialogue on sustainability, many influencers/bloggers have turned to their platform to openly request, clearly reject, and have sometimes even called out big and small brands and this celebrated culture of sending small/handful of products in colossal boxes packed more extra than with love. Primarily because it takes up space, like a lot of it, and is hard to dispose.
Now, bigger steps to change the scenario may be a little too much to begin with, but the following two steps can be a pretty good start! They are doable (also immediately required) and will surely lead us closer to betterment:
- Ditch and Switch: Ditch any material that’s not less-to-zero percent harmful for the environment. Switch to what isn’t difficult to dispose, can be upcycled, and is as sustainable as it can be.
Hey, small business owners slash readers, this ain’t as hard and expensive as it may seem. If and when you open your eyes to the world full of sustainable choices, you’ll find various and very cool alternatives and inventions. For starters, have a look at some here:
- Keep It Less: Even after you switch on to better choices, always keep ‘Less is More’ the main mantra. Reduce the material that goes on into every package. Keep each minimalistic.
With the digital world and its infinite possibilities, there are many ways to create amazing, eye-catching, engaging experiences than merely a fancy unboxing video!
So put on the creative gloves, and explore and play around them more. Further, overall, limit the PR packages or product gifts. Mindfully sending out packages, and preferably post discussion with the concerned influencers/creators about their preferences, usage, apt shade or size etc is another major way on reducing wastage.
Considering the already not so nice condition of our beloved environment, the least we all, together, can do is not contribute to its deteriorating health. We are past the preventive stage, and now all that we can possibly ever do is restore/ repair and try and save what’s left.
While this may seem a little disheartening, I urge you to choose to look at it as an opportunity to take measure and bring change. We have a planet to care for and these (PR) boxes to begin with!