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Make labels do more to inform, inspire customers.

With the evolution of technology and transparency, labels are becoming ever-more robust and informative. Amid all this excitement, however, is the day-to-day routine that can stifle creativity and initiative.

When you're seeking ways to supercharge your branding, consider using labels to help make it happen. Following are a few ideas to spur some brainstorming. Bear in mind that while label changes/enhancements themselves may be relatively mainstream (e.g., complying with new government regulations), the ability to use this as a platform for media exposure and marketplace buzz can also generate a branding boost. As an example, ideas below tie to published/shared articles. In your quest for new ideas, get creative in-house, get input from trusted advisors and scan headlines from online searches that offer up intriguing, innovative or inspiring ideas.

Promote product safety on steroids. Fast Company published an intriguing article a few years ago about a new way to notify consumers about food expiration status. The article points out, "There are several reasons why you might want to design a new type of food expiration label... Solveiga Pakstaite came up with a strange new alternative: labels created using a 'bio-reactive' substance. Bump Marks, as she calls them, are made of gelatin that degrades at the same rate as the food inside a package. When the gelatin becomes runny, it reveals a ridge underneath, indicating that the food is on its way out." Takeaway: Think about ways to make your labels do more in ways competitors aren't.

Connect with nature. reported last summer that "Frisco, Colorado-based Outer Range Brewing Co. is now including extended content label trail maps on its microbrews. This novel use of extended content labeling is proving highly popular and is creating substantial buzz among consumers and industry colleagues." Takeaway: Get creative with your labels, and the hills will come alive with media coverage.

Educate about the environment and safety. European headlines weigh in on these two important issues. The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "Sweden soon will require climate-change labels on gas pumps. These 'warming labels' do more than remind drivers that burning fossil fuel contributes to climate change. They draw attention to the difference in climate impacts among fuel choices. Warming labels would also be good for California." Then, there's The European Council, which announced new tire labeling designed to inform consumers about both safety and environmental issues: "Cleaner, safer, quieter tyres [European spelling]: labels to become more visible for consumers... The labels will be displayed more visibly for consumers and include information on snow and ice grip... The new rules will benefit customers, who can make an informed choice on the safety and fuel efficiency of their tyres. They will also contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the road sector..." Back here in the states, Food Dive reports on recent Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recommendations: "FDA needs to make sure 'food labels are truthful, not misleading,' says CSPI head... Changing how the Food and Drug Administration regulates food labeling claims would go a long way toward cutting down on consumer confusion and may even reduce diet-related diseases, according to a paper published February 21 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine." Takeaway: Look at how to beef up your labels to make them more informative, noteworthy and newsworthy.

Engage your aesthetic side. According to the North Hollywood News,"The Georges Duboeuf Artist Label Competition is seeking professional artists to submit original creations for their Nouveau Label Contest. The top prize is the chance to have their art featured as the label for the 2019 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau wines... Emerging abstract artist Chloe Meyer... won the 2018 Duboeuf Competition. Her original oil called 'Foolish Pleasure' is a rich and vivid painting that features layered hues of fuchsia and violet that seem to dance across the canvas, reminding judges of the vibrant tones of freshly made Beaujolais Nouveau." Takeaway: Develop and publicize a contest to transform your labels into newsworthy, aesthetically-pleasing works of art.

Labels can do much more than sit on a shelf. Dust yours off and see what fresh, new energy can be infused to boost branding and your bottom line.

By Mark Lusky

Mark Lusky is a marketing communications professional who has worked with Lightning Labels, an all-digital custom label printer in Denver, CO, USA, since 2008. Find Lightning Labels on Facebook for special offers and label printing news.
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Title Annotation:CUSTOMER Service
Author:Lusky, Mark
Publication:Label & Narrow Web
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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