The Lunchbox Renaissance

h_100137-001Bringing leftovers to work used to be a dull nod to a frugal lifestyle, with lunch options that generally left us with a choice of bologna sandwich or day-old wilted salad.  But fortunately for those office workers that are comfortable planning and preparing some of the extensive choices of robust meal options, the lunchbox gear has become much more cool.

A good example is the Japanese-styled bento box.  A far cry from the sweating Tupperware container or a cheap soft-side cooler, when the noon office meal is packed in one of these single-portion modern boxes, the packed lunch becomes reason for lunch envy from your office mates.

From its humble beginnings, appearing in the 16th century to feed people under military commander Oda Nobunaga, it has taken many forms today from the simple to the complex – sometimes even taking the shape of comic book characters or flowers, animals and plants.  But regardless of what design it takes, it never strays too far from its origins of ease and convenience.  In fact, “Bento” is derived from the Southern Song Dynasty term biàndāng, meaning convenient.

Corporate wellness programs can benefit from incorporating a branded bento box, or similar cleverly styled lunch container, into the mix.  Employees and customers will be inspired to cook a little extra the night before to eat better the next day, all while saving the time and money it takes to buy lunch from the nearby sandwich vendor.



The Power Of The Paw

paw printThere’s an emotional bond between pets and their owners, and it’s that bond that drives over $55 billion in sales of pet-related products.  Nine in ten pet owners see their pet as part of the family, and according to the American Pet Products Association today more than 62% of Americans own pets.  Companies within the pet industry as well as those in non-pet industries are paying attention to this data and are seeing a big opportunity for their brands.  Charitable walks, hotels and resorts, car brands and car rental companies, and even software developers are some of the industries that purchase pet-related branded products to enhance their marketing efforts.

Today’s pets travel and exercise with us, have their own social-media accounts, require stimulating day care, eat organic food, and nap on luxury fabrics.  To reach those pampering pet owners, marketers need to connect their brand to activities people do with their pets.  There are many ways to do this and lots of products to support those efforts. Below are a few ideas:

  1. Sponsor a community event that is aimed at animal welfare, such as the popular Bark in the Park and Yappy Hour events.
  2. Distribute branded giveaways aimed at pets:  dog treats at a drive-up window; dog-safe flyers at the company picnic; light-up waste bag dispenser in a safety program; or pet emergency decals as part of the wellness program packet.
  3. Companies that cater to the travel industry (hotels, car rental agencies, airlines), and want to connect with the people who travel with their pets, should pay attention to the pet amenities with gift bags that include useful animal care items like a collapsible water bowl or pet-paw soft wipes.

It may be the unquestioning loyalty owners get from their pets, or possibly the health benefits of lower stress and anxiety that come with pet ownership, but whatever the reason, trends show that pets are one of the most meaningful ways to engage consumers.  So consider the power of the paw when your team is brainstorming the next new marketing approach.






Marketing To The Yogi

Fifteen million people practice yoga in the United States.  77.4% are college graduates and 44% earn more than $75,000 annually, with 24% earning more than $100,000 annually (  Considering the weight of these statistics, it seems likely that at some point some of the branded merchandise aimed at the corporate customers during any given campaign will end up in the hands of a yoga enthusiast.  So why not consider a marketing theme and associated products that are aimed directly at this health-conscious audience?

Offering a branded yoga mat, hydration bottle or bamboo towel as part of a wellness campaign, employee motivation program, or gift-with-purchase giveaway are all perfect opportunities to reinforce your company’s support of healthy lifestyle choices.  Presenting the gift in eco-friendly branded packaging materials maintains a consistent message that will radiate out to your audience. Even the most casual exercise buff will recognize the value of the gift, and associate the giver with positive feelings of health and well-being.

With the many health benefits that come with the bending, stretching and deep breathing exercises taught in every yoga class, it is likely that this ancient form of low impact exercise will continue to attract growing numbers of followers.  Marketing to those yogis may also help grow the corporate client base.