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Labels – most important interface between product and consumer

Labels – most important interface between product and consumer

Labels, the images and information on packaging that entice consumers to select one product over another, are on the cusp of significant new trends in marketing and merchandising. Labels will become more comprehensive, more attractive, more informative, and eventually more interactive, according to a South African company who is behind the labeling of many of the popular products on Namibian shelves.

In an overview of the latest trends in labeling and packaging, South African industry leader Pyrotec stated this week there are five discernible traits that will find their way into labeling, many as soon as this year.

Looking at versions and variations of labeling, Pyrotec quotes experts who predict that there will be a growing demand for pack and product personalisation and customisation in 2017. “Many leading brands are making their labels and on-pack communication more personalised to create an emotional and meaningful connection with each consumer. Coca-Cola was one of the first brands to offer customised labels, giving each fan a chance to buy a Coke with his or her name on it. Marmite and Nutella have launched similar campaigns” stated Pyrotec.

Pointing out how important rebranding and new visual representations are, they said companies that approach 2017 with a ‘labels as usual’ approach may find themselves playing catch-up as the world of on-pack communication possibilities grows. This year, visionary brands are expected to add more ‘wow factor’ to their labels and packaging. One way to achieve this is to include an on-pack communication device that adds extra dimension to the product packaging. For instance, glitter, foil and screen printing as well as a scent and possibly even smart technology that activates a mobile campaign or loyalty programme, can all be added to packaging through smart technology.

Regarding digital disruption, Pyrotec said consumers, with the internet at their fingertips, are a lot more educated today than they were in the past. In this environment, brands that offer their target markets more in-depth information come across as more appealing. “Whether your customers want to know exactly what you put into your products, where your products are made or how best to utilise them, you can now include all this information on your label with a multi-page booklet label,” they said.

Labels also need to convince the consumer of the sustainability of both products and manufacturing processes. Waste reduction continues to be a key trend in labeling and packaging.

In addition to less packaging waste, manufacturers are looking at ways of using only labels instead of labels plus primary packaging. Other waste reducers are to reduce the thickness and weight of glass and cardboard containers, to replace loose insets with innovative multi-page labels, or to replace packaging entirely by changing the merchandising solution. This is already seen in some products that are hung on rails instead of stacked. This also uses shelf space optimally.

, firms can also cut costs and effort by optimising their packaging. This could involve using only labels instead of labels plus primary packaging, reducing the thickness and weight of glass and cardboard containers, and possibly even replacing loose inserts with innovative multi-page labels. Another way to decrease the amount of packaging materials that you use is to opt for an innovative merchandising solution such as a hang tab device, which allows you to display more in less space. You’ll also grab attention by hanging your product vertically and face-forward anywhere in the retail environment.

Pyrotec interprets events in Europe and the USA as indicating that there may be a popular revolt against globalisation. For companies that market their products in several countries, multi-lingual labels are the way to go. This last aspect of merchandising is clearly seen in Namibia where many popular products have started using English and Portuguese on their labels to serve the local as well as the Angolan market.

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