Jet Label President and Chief Executive Officer Darrell Friesen provides a reason to refresh rather than rebrand via labelling options.
Like any marketing tool, a time comes when updates or adjustments must be made to labels. This helps to revitalize brand potency and enhance the impact it has on consumers. These label changes help reflect customer trends and evolving industry needs. Technological advances create further opportunities – and with it demand – for enhancements to labelling materials and design elements.
Undergoing a complete brand overhaul can be complicated, expensive and risky. Chief among potential rebranding pitfalls is a “culture shock” erosion of customer loyalty. If an extreme label change is done, fewer customers may recognize or identify with their favourite brands or products, resulting in diminished sales.
So before a drastic rebrand, consider a milder refresh.
Any manufacturer considering labelling changes must consider both sides of shelf impact – both good and bad. Though a differentiated product will, in theory, stand out among competitors and yield greater sales success, straying too far from an established brand risks alienating certain customers.
Choosing a smaller-scale brand refresh over a total brand transformation can effectively toe this line without crossing it. Choosing the right option between a total rebrand and a lower-key refresh is crucial to a company’s marketing direction.
REASON: DOWNTREND IN SALES
Pain can be a highly motivating change agent. Not surprisingly, a prominent reason customers seek labeling changes is sluggish sales performance. Refreshing the outward appearance of labels and providing a modern update to a familiar label can grab consumers’ eyes. A slight modification of label appearance can increase sales without confusing loyal customers’ abilities to identify brands.
REASON: EVOLVING REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS
Legal implications also have an influence on the demand for brand refreshes. Most notably, adjustments to food nutrition labels are scheduled in both the United States (2020) and Canada (2021). The new requirements provide an opportunity to synchronize other aspects of a brand refresh in regards to label changes. Viewing this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance can revitalize brand recognition.
REASON: CONSUMER TRENDS
The customers are always right… and always evolving in their point of purchase decision-making process. Your labels are among your brand’s best chances to espouse benefits that align with your target audience’s values. Most prominently, increased eco-consciousness has driven the incorporation of eco-friendly/sustainable materials in labelling applications. Meanwhile, growing emphasis on nutrition and health have prompted food product providers to showcase distinctions such as “Gluten-Free” and “Vegan Friendly.”
Still, there is usually little reason to blow up the brand and start from scratch. Minor modifications in a label’s design can allow for more space to denote various trends. You can modernize a look while more effectively appealing to current consumers.
REASON: AVAILABILITY OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES
The steady march of technological advances also has profound influence on demands for brand updates. As new capabilities emerge, more options for brand impact are available.
Most notably, of course, advances in digital printing continue to offer broader labeling design options and, through them, brand identity and marketing tactics. Connecting with customers on a personal level through print has never been so easy thanks to technology. Using variable printing, for example, is a great way to connect with consumers. A label can even become a completely unique piece of abstract art. Additionally, advances in technological capabilities can result in products’ greater impact while maintaining cost effectiveness. For example, the ability to print 16 colours on labels ensures a bigger bang for your buck.
Let’s explore a few examples of successful brand refreshes – as opposed to total rebrands.
- A Canadian specialty foods company had the same label for over a decade and wanted to update its labels. They chose to alter the logo, colours and label material. However, they kept key design elements from its legacy logo to avoid throwing customers off. This provided a balanced blend of modernity and continuity in their products’ look. Customers could still find its product on busy store shelves.
- A meat processing company had the same label since the 1970s. When considering a change, they decided it was literally better to work around the edges than start from scratch. While comparing their labels to the competitors’, they noticed a similarity. All the labels had the same shape as one another. They decided to incorporate a custom die that helped the brand stand out from competitors while retaining valuable brand consistency.
- A specialty meats company wanted to update its look and to help its product stand out amongst competitors. The decision was made to hire a photographer to showcase the company’s actual product on labels instead of stock photos. The photo could be swapped out to update the look of the label at any time. And they still maintain brand consistency.
- A Canadian manufacturer of packaged, ready-to-eat foods updated its labels with a button clearly stating “PEANUT FREE”. Even though the product was always peanut-free, parents could now trust this brand above competitors – sales surged.
- When gluten-free became a household term, many companies added “GLUTEN FREE” to their packaging. Many of these products were already naturally gluten-free, but shoppers chose products with clear “gluten-free” on the label. This gave consumers peace of mind.
There are many factors that could contribute to undertaking a label change. Understanding these motivations is crucial in determining whether companies need a true rebrand or just a brand refresh. A simple brand refresh in the form of a label modification may be a valid solution.
The continually evolving landscape of the printing and labelling industries provide room for growth with a brand refresh. The hassle and expense of a complete label rebrand is overshadowed by the simplicity and tactfulness of a brand refresh. The results can be higher sales, heightened consumer awareness and increased brand visibility.