If you look at the work that technology giant Google has applied to its various operating systems, you will notice that a certain design sensibility is shared across Android, Chrome OS, and the next-generation Fuchsia, which is still under development. This style, which is formally known as Google Material Design, has been around since 2014, and it aims to translate the visual appeal of real paper items such as cards, pages, and labels.
The reason Google created Material Design and based it on human interaction with paper goes beyond simple familiarity. Real materials have shapes, colors, and textures that we tend to respond to very positively. We like using cards and labels for shipping, organizing, marking, and various other purposes. A product label printed on paper may seem like a low-tech means of getting things done, but it is effective to the point that the user interface developers at Google decided to emulate them for their operating systems.
We tend to take labels for granted; we see them more as a functional item that enables certain business processes, and we forget about their potential for brand messaging and awareness. Based on Google’s implementation of digital labels as UI elements on Android and Chrome OS, we should be thinking about paper labels as more than just being a part of the packaging process.
In the age of e-commerce, product and shipping labels have become more crucial than ever, and they are moving at the pace of information technology. Modern labels have bar codes and quick-response (QR) codes that incorporate metadata meant to be scanned in order to make supply chain processes more efficient. In the near future, labels will feature technologies such as Near-Field Communications (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RIF) through the use of micro-components that can provide valuable analytics for improvement of logistics, marketing, and overall sales.
Before we get into what makes labels valuable in terms of marketing and brand awareness, let’s review some of the modern basics of labeling.
What Kind of Labels Does Your Business Need?
All labels provide some sort of information, but not all are the same:
- Informative labels are the most common kind; they can be used for shipping, compliance, instructions, security, and more.
- Brand labels serve as a visual aid that people can see and relate to your company. Wine labels tend to be pretty strong in terms of branding, and the same can be said about cosmetics.
- Descriptive labels are the kind that go deeper than their informative counterparts; to this effect, they may include information about ingredients, nutritional values, garment care, and more.
- Grade labels may be affixed for compliance purposes or to inform consumers about the quality of products. The ubiquitous Energy Star label on electronics such as television sets is an example of grade labels; the same can be said about Grade A beef certified by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Unless you are bound by commerce rules, you may be able to combine two or more label functions into a single label. An example of this strategy would be a food product label that includes ingredients and nutritional values. A more high-tech example would be a food product label that incorporates a QR code consumers can scan with their smartphones so that they can pull up a special recipe on a mobile browser.
Features and Uses of Labels
Depending on the storage, handling and shipping conditions of products, labels can be made with special materials to make them:
- Weather resistant
- Chemical resistant
- Easily removable
The multiple uses of labels can be applied in a variety of situations that range from offices to warehouses and from stores to households. Labels can help you keep an inventory, and they can also be part of automated counting processes if they are printed with bar codes. If you need to organize supplies, products, or equipment, labels are your friends. If you need to package and ship products, you will rely on labels to get the logistics processes started.
Brand Awareness Through Labels
Think about all the branding elements you can print on labels for the purpose of promoting your products and services: Logos, slogans, branded messages, contact information, and interactive invitations enabled through QR codes. One of the principles of branding consists of trying to place your marketing images and messages in as many places as possible, preferably in situations that are part of your business processes. Product and shipping labels allow you to put this branding right in front of consumers. The advantage here is that an immediate association between products and brands can be automatically established with the right label.
Easy Advertising Through Labeling
We do not give labels the credit they deserve with regard to advertising. When you see products placed on supermarket shelves, you may have noticed that some of them include advertising lines such as “New and Improved,” “Special Offer,” “Recommended by Dentists,” and so on; these are all clear examples of front-and-center advertising. When you think about it, the marketing printed on product labels is in very close proximity to consumers, and it does not cost too much to produce. If your label advertising includes a call-to-action element such as inviting shoppers to visit a landing page, the return on investment you can get from labels would be exponential.
It is important to remember that marketing and advertising do not have to be confined to media channels such as radio, television, and social networks; we should not forget about the display advertising opportunities provided by product labels.
How Labels Can Promote Brand Loyalty
It is the dream of every brand manager to have loyal customers who will shun competing brands no matter what. The process of fostering brand loyalty starts with visually appealing communications, and this is when you can take maximum advantage of labels. For the most part, consumers will react positively to eye-catching labels adorned with unique designs; this is the first step towards being able to visually identify brands, and it can go a long way towards achieving brand loyalty.
There needs to be an association made by consumers with regard to brands before they can become loyal to them. This loyalty comes from a decision process that is almost unconscious, and you can guide prospective customers along the way so that they feel they have enough information to make a decision. Some consumers will make this association almost immediately, but the majority will need to be exposed to more branding in order to reach this point.
Key Product Information
Consumers who appreciate the information provided by brands will be more likely to develop brand loyalty out of sheer appreciation. Informative labels are always valuable, but they do not always present enough space to print all the information you wish to convey. When this happens, you can either print a QR code or print a web address consumers can visit so that they can see the rest of the information.
QR codes are easy to generate and print on product and shipping labels; the hard part is to make them worthwhile for consumers. Instead of sending consumers to the homepage of the company that either manufactures or distributes products, it is better to program the URL of a landing page into the QR code. The landing page should include more than just information; it should also contain sufficient marketing to get prospective customers interested in the brand.
Labels Can Make Products More Attractive
A wine bottle without an attractive label is bound to sit on store shelves and gather dust for a long time; it would be virtually invisible to shoppers who are either attracted to unique labels or who think a winery should make a better effort to gain their attention.
It is easy to see how labels have the power to make products appear more attractive. In the four decades we have been providing packaging supplies to brands operating in various industries, we have notice a strong correlation between attractive product labels and successful sales figures.
Product Labels from Mid-Atlantic Premier Packaging
Our online catalog of labels are perfect for sales and merchandising. Sales labels come in four styles to denote pricing, product model, and clearance status. Merchandise labels are like rectangular cards that you can design and print for multiple purposes. For more information about our packaging supplies or about the ordering process, please feel free to get in touch with our office at your earliest convenience.