Why the label is your most important outbound marketing tool

The humble label that sets your product aside from all the others on the shelf is your most important marketing tool. Judging by the amount of effort that goes into the decisions that many businesses make about labels you would not think so but consider the following:

Identity

The label identifies your product as yours. Your entire business identity is carried on the small space that enables a consumer to select your product rather than someone else’s. If every label in the supermarket was simply plain white with the words jam, cornflakes, washing powder on it, how would anyone know which one they had used last time. Wanting to use it again, they will be unable to choose.

Your label is a lot more than a product identifier. It is business brand, your corporate identity and the model by which your customer identifies with you. In fact, your label will determine how the market responds to you. If you are seeking to identify with a high income, financially discerning group of customers, then your label is more likely to be more staid with a classic look. If you’re appealing to parents and children, no doubt it will be filled with colours, possibly cartoon characters and certainly even different shapes for alternative product lines.

Undoubtedly what most businesses want is for their clients to be able to spot them in a crowd. So, when designing your label make sure that it doesn’t blend in with or look too similar to those of your competition. It’s easy to accidentally purchase the wrong thing when all the labels look very similar.

Variation

Having designed your label, your regular loyal brand customers will remember and recognise the label as it will be what they are looking for in their minds. Think about your favourite products. When going into the supermarket to look for your favourite peanut butter brand, you already know what it looks like. When you get to the shelf stocking the peanut butter, the brand that you are loyal to is almost certainly the first brand you will notice. This is not only because the peanut butter tastes so good. It is also because you identify with the label. Your mind is trained how to differentiate your favourite brand from all the others. You will want to ensure that your customers will do the same.

Colour

Believe it or not a lot of research has gone into how colour affects a consumer’s spending behaviour. While certain colours are believed to encourage more spending and others less, the science is a little more complicated. We experience different emotions when using differing products. Some products are part of something exciting in our lives. Others are associated with calm. Snacks are eaten quickly; main meals are eaten in a more leisurely fashion. Toys are meant to be fun. Books are a more serious item requiring concentration. The colours on your label will relate to your brand identity and should maintain a sense of continuity from an already established visibility. If your company colours are red and yellow, producing labels designed in blue will have to be for an exceptionally good marketing reason.

Shape

Shape is the first feature that is going to make the label stand out for your customer. If you are producing apple jam, it is a really good idea that your label is shaped like an apple. However, if your immediate competition is already doing that, there are very sound reasons not to duplicate their design. Instead consider an apple tree. Or two different coloured apples together. Once your loyal following starts to grow, you are going to want them to see your product while still walking down the aisle before they even get to the shelf. If it looks too much like the one standing next to it, you risk losing your product identity to your competitors.

Finish

Is the label glossy? Does it have a smooth finish or is embossed? There are a lot of things to consider when producing a label because touch is a sensory experience that embeds itself in the subconscious mind very quickly. You may even want to emboss some braille on your label to make it easier for the blind or partially sighted to identify the brand.

Every aspect of your label production will impact on your overall business success. It must integrate with your branding. It will need to appeal to your customers and if to them it becomes more than just a label you will know that you have achieved your objective.

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