In order to help your self-adhesive labels be competitive in the retail marketplace, this section of the Label Learning Hub is intended to help you consider broad marketing aspects of labels and label design.
This is not specific marketing information for your individual products or markets, rather it is an overview of best practices and key things to keep in mind when developing your labels. Packaging is absolutely critical to how well your products perform in the retail marketplace.
Of course we are not marketing your products for you, but we always want to see our clients and partners continue to succeed. Some sections may be too basic for established companies, but this information is often overlooked or just completely new to start ups and newer businesses.
You can find up-to-date marketing information available for specific industries in our ebook series. Check out the Label Design section of the Label Learning Hub for an up to date list of our free ebooks.
Ultimately, your self adhesive labels should be a part of your overall sales and marketing efforts. That means your logo, your website, your business cards, your advertising, and your packaging should share some common elements or theme. The sum total of all your sales and marketing efforts is known as your brand.
You want as many people as possible to encounter your brand and be exposed to it. By synchronizing all the different elements of your business operations, you greatly increase the chance that your brand will be recalled by consumers when it's time to make a purchase. Loyal, repeat customers are the ultimate goal of brand owners.
This is a greatly simplified explanation of branding, and one you are probably intimately familiar with as a business owner. However, when it comes to labels and packaging, it's worth repeating. The rule of thumb is 8 seconds or less. That's how long you have to capture a shopper's attention and convince them to pick up your product.
If you think of your labels as a salesperson on a retail shelf, these are the 5 characteristics you want your labels to convey:
Clearly labeled products will outperform confusing or mislabeled products. You may beat the 8 second clock with an outlandish image by catching a consumer's eye, but if the result of their lingering glance is mere confusion, what's the point? It's possible you may intrigue them or inspire them to solve the mystery of your oddball label, but the majority of shoppers will not take the extra time necessary to understand a confusing label.
A clearly labeled product is a great start, but the next step is to make it stand out from the competition. Of course to do that, you really need to know what the competition looks like. That means standing in front of a crowded retail shelf and looking for themes and patterns. What stands out, what doesn't? What design angle or concept would set you apart from the crowd? Even if you only sell your products online, you need to research the packaging designs of competitive products to ensure you do not blend in with everyone else.
Being unique is great, so being extremely unique is even better, right? Perhaps, though not necessarily or universally. Certain products and product categories have long standing "rules." Or, to think of it another way, the tens of thousands of products that came before yours probably learned the hard way what works and what doesn't. It may seem contrary to point 2, "Be Unique," but your products should also look like they belong in the category. For example, it's easy to tell the difference between children's breakfast cereal and adult cereal, right?
Bucking convention is often a winning strategy, but keeping in mind your label packaging is just one piece of your brand, how far can you go before there's no longer a connection? Your labels are the one advertisement for your product 100% of your customers will see, so keep in mind your labels could be defining your total brand in a consumer's mind.
It sounds like a contradiction, but the perfect balance is achieved by being unique and standing out while simultaneously presenting a product that does not look completely out of place in it's segment.
Few consumers enjoy a bait and switch. As with point 1, "Identification," it's important to present your product for what it is. If your product labeling is misleading it will create an expectation in the consumer the contents do not fulfill. This is the last thing you want. Have you ever taken a drink expecting the glass or bottle to contain one thing, only to be shocked to discover it was something else entirely? Even if the "something else" was a drink you would ordinarily enjoy, the experience is typically not a pleasant one.
Shoppers are buying your product largely based on the expectation created by the label. If you've misrepresented or oversold the experience, you will invariably create disappointment. Don't expect repeat business.
Examples of expectations set by packaging include common product characteristics like price, quality, flavor, etc...
Congratulations, they noticed your label. They might even buy your product. Either way, you need them to remember it.
A lot of labels look alike. Even if you have created a unique, informative design that stands out yet still fits your product category, there's no guarantee it will be remembered.
Strong visuals like type and imagery can make a lasting impression. Clever and bold logos can help. Find the balance, and as with every other step do your research. When researching the marketplace, which products can you recall an hour later, or two days later? Why?
Nothing kills a good word or phrase like overuse. The words on this list are not inherently bad, but they have been hijacked by big business and completely diluted by years of cynical marketing.
When should you order your labels, and what preparations need to be made before you do? All too often, packaging is an afterthought.
Your brand is everything and your brand image should be supported by your label packaging. For too long now, paper labels have only been expected to last a few hours under the harsh conditions of refrigeration or ice water submersion.
We’re sure you’ve noticed those cool-looking, mysterious black and white square barcodes appearing more and more often on food and beverage labels, on signs, in magazines – virtually everywhere.
Your label printer is a business partner crucial to ensuring the quality of your final product. Your label determines your shelf appeal and reinforces your brand, and you shouldn’t trust just anyone with this responsibility. Just like any business partnership, do your research to find the label printer that’s right for you.