- July 23, 2013, Mark Lusky
Mention custom labels, and most people immediately envision their use as a way to describe and brand a product. Labels also can be a powerful communications channel with far-reaching PR value and impact on the marketplace.
Opportunities involve both message content and constituent parts of the label itself. For example, label material, inks, and even adhesives can communicate a “going green” message. Following are ways to use labels to expand and reinforce communication:
- Promote social responsibility and environmental awareness. This is one area where materials used in label printing can say volumes. Did you know there are labels made from corn and even stone that don’t deplete forests? Many labels now can be recycled, providing a valuable conservation edge. And, some can be composted or otherwise disposed of in a way that doesn’t adversely impact the environment. There are now a variety of non-toxic, environmentally friendly adhesives and soy-based inks. All together, these demonstrate a company’s commitment to protecting the environment at the same time they’re promoting products.
- Tell compelling stories about the company and its products, or a strongly felt sentiment. This, of course, will be limited by space commitments/considerations on the labels themselves. Given that a “picture tells a thousand words,” think about ways to convey the message through a photo or other graphic element versus trying to cram too much content into small spaces.
- Boost a charitable cause. There are many valuable events, activities. and organizations accustomed to spreading the word and generating support via digital media. But, as recent trends back toward direct mail and print collateral demonstrate, print is not dead, and labels can provide extremely valuable print exposure for worthwhile causes. One way is to help locate missing persons via label exposure. This is essentially a variable of the time-tested milk carton campaigns started decades ago. According to Yahoo News: “…in the 1980s, many kids spent their mornings slurping their cereal while staring at the faces of missing kids on the sides of milk cartons.” For product manufacturers placing a high value on this type of contribution, dedicating valuable label real estate can demonstrate strong community support, encouraging the community to support the product in return.
- Publicize noteworthy customers and/or employees. Labels can provide a complementary avenue to social and digital media to provide recognition of heroic, notable acts of everyday people who work for a company or buy its products. Costco makes a practice of promoting extraordinary customers in its magazine, "Costco Connection." Labels provide another medium to communicate the message.
- Spread the word about company accomplishments, accolades, and awards. Often, companies will list awards or other accomplishments on their websites, and even as part of e-mail signatures. Labels are another excellent way to publicize these positive developments. Product labels offer an excellent canvas on which to paint compelling messages that can bolster a company’s reputation now and for years to come.
Mark Lusky is president of Lusky Enterprises Inc., a marketing communications and content development company. Since 2008, he has worked with Lightning Labels, a Denver-based all-digital custom label printing company, as a content developer specializing in expert advice articles. Lusky presents common-sense ideas grounded in doing what’s real and right for managing and enhancing public image.