Conversely, in the case of labels where inks and substrates are vulnerable to the elements, labels can convey a negative image. Case in point: I recently used a naturopathic product that had been manufactured for decades and has been highly recommended. However, when minimal handling of the label caused it to smear badly, it made me question the company’s commitment to ingredient quality as well.
Grammar and spelling mistakes also confound credibility. While many consumers don’t notice such mistakes, those who do may scratch their head about quality control of the product itself. In nutraceuticals, particularly, this can make the difference between a purchase and moving on to a competitor.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make labels a powerful marketing tool to punch up awareness and interest in products. Possibilities include:
1. Make it collectible. Everything from contemporary art to historical declarations can add label appeal and provide an additional reason to purchase. In the past, wineries have reproduced artwork. To add an air of exclusivity, variable data printing enables these to be numbered easily, much like limited edition prints.
Noteworthy events and trends also present ways to create collectible decorative labels. For example, Colorado’s new recreational marijuana industry offers an historic opportunity for developing a variety of collectible labels around everything from the chronological progression of a unique marketplace to artwork that reflects edible product contents.
2. Enhance credibility. Labels offer a canvas to promote a variety of credibility-building aspects of a product, manufacturing processes and the manufacturer itself. Highlighting legitimate certifications around organic, kosher and other currently popular standards is one way to build trust in and comfort with a product. Also, with green practices and social consciousness gaining traction, new avenues for product marketing have opened up. Promoting awards and including endorsements – from average consumers and high-profile personalities alike – are other popular ways to build credibility. Branding images, featuring everything from a manufacturing facility to icons tied to the company are fair game.
3. Conduct a contest. Contests are a great way to generate buzz, build brand awareness and entertain – all important elements of successful marketing. Decorative labels promoting these contests can be an effective, high-profile tool to heighten presence.
Options and opportunities are limited only by the imagination. Crowdsourcing, which enlists ideas and contributions from “the masses” for design, branding, messaging and the like also can be employed to conduct contests.
For example, let’s say a cosmeceuticals manufacturer wants to create a dramatic new design for product promotion and packaging. They can put out a call for entries to the marketplace, publicize the promotion, feature finalists on actual product labels, then use the winning entry(ies) on labels and packaging going forward. In contrast to relatively staid cosmetics products situated nearby on shelves (both virtual and brick-and-mortar), this can breathe new life into a product and give it a dynamic appearance next to its competitors.
4. Be charitable. It is important to understand how to make labels that can make a difference. From feeding hungry kids to fighting disease, a product label can promote a manufacturer’s charitable commitments and contributions. Besides casting the company in a positive light, always a strong marketing asset, these labels also can educate the public about a particular cause, showing a level of care too often missing in corporate America.
5. Convey company personality. As company and product transparency and authenticity become increasingly important in the marketplace, sharing compelling and/or entertaining information about a product manufacturer on a label can add dramatic marketing impact.
Short quotes or messages from employees, vendors, customers and other stakeholders can speak to company core values and provide another avenue for generating positive marketing buzz. Including photos of real people, in stark contrast to stock photography so often deployed these days, will increase the appearance of authenticity as well as the effectiveness of your labels for product marketing.
With printing technologies offering many dynamic and cost effective product-decorating options, labels can become powerful, cost-effective marketing tools.
Tammie MacLachlan contributed to this report.
Mark Lusky is a marketing communications professional who has worked with Lightning Labels since 2008. Tammie MacLachlan is the customer service manager of Lightning Labels, an all-digital custom label printer in Denver, CO, USA. She has been in the printing industry for 19 years and with Lightning Labels for more than seven years. Find Lightning Labels on Facebook for special offers and label printing news.