Ready to engage4 March 2019
Clever labels offer brands a sweet spot where practicality meets design – without heavy investment in bespoke packaging. By creating appealing and informative labels, brands can display their USP and make sure consumers know what they need to know, quickly. Emma-Jane Batey speaks to brand-owners and label experts to learn more.
The ever-increasing expectations of consumers are seeing an impact on the packaging industry; greater understanding of the responsibility of the products we choose means that the look and feel of packaging represents consumers' beliefs now more than ever. While the material and core shape of the packaging will always be the major element of the product, the secondary elements are able to influence the overall aesthetic more than ever before.
Labels present brands with the opportunity to quickly, effectively and cheaply say something about its brand – their values and their personality. One company that has truly taken this idea and run with it is the deliciously quirky Domaine Jones. A vineyard in the South of France owned and run by Katie Jones, Domaine Jones has managed to shake up the fiercely traditional wine world by producing high quality, single variety wines that have a unique style – in how they look and how they taste.
“I'd worked for a wine producer in the craggy, remote region of Fitou for nearly 20 years when I decided to sell practically everything I had to buy my own vineyard. I now own several small plots of vines that had almost been abandoned because they were considered by locals to be too much hard work for very low yields,” says Katie Jones. “In fact, they thought I was crazy, but I could see an excellent opportunity to create something incredible; when I say I look for vineyards that no-one else wants, it's only a slight exaggeration.”
Stand out and deliver
To harness the differentiator of Jones being a British woman making exceptional single grape wines in the South of France, she has taken her story and turned it into fantastic labels that manage to balance premium and whimsical. Jones continues, “It's an interesting combination; old wines and a comic strip-style label. It is like a new type of blogging. My labels have definitely got people talking, and have been featured across the wine press. I've used my story labels as a way to process what's happened in my vineyard too, as it's not been easy. I suppose my labels have been a brazen way to handle the situation, which has been a positive spin on a tricky time. The labels are different, and have really helped Domaine Jones stand out.”
For world-leading adhesive company UK-based Beardow Adams, its unrivaled understanding of adhesives and labels means that it is able to continue to offer a competitive advantage to its customers. Committed to innovation since the company launched in 1977, Beardow Adams' adhesives are trusted by over 10,000 companies worldwide across a variety of applications including packaging, bookbinding and the converting industry.
Eric Coveney, head of strategy at Beardow Adams, is vocal about the company's ability to stay ahead of the emerging trends that impact on the industries in which it is active. “Efficiency is as prevalent today as ever in today's manufacturing processes and this is felt right along most supply chains; adhesives are the unsung hero in many processes,” says Coveney. “Our customers are asking more from our adhesives, from the performance that's required, to extra certification and the benefits it can bring their product.”
Coveney goes on to explain how the aim for gaining a competitive advantage can go hand in hand with innovative labels and labelling, with cost reduction initiatives always in demand even though it is important to keep the overall consumer experience in sight.
“Awareness in plastic packaging and sustainability as a whole is increasingly at the forefront of people's minds – consumers and businesses.” Coveney continues. “Reducing packaging waste is also a hot topic. Beardow Adams is addresses these trends by being more proactive with our product development; it's a balance between addressing our future and current customer needs. We are already able to offer bio-based adhesives for most labelling applications, and are also working towards addressing biodegradable hot melt adhesives.”
Coveney believes that there will be 'a whole paradigm shift around the way at PET and plastics are used and handled' over the next few years. Beardow Adams is planning for this by appreciating that adhesives and labels should be as unique as the companies that use them. Coveney continues, “Our adhesives can play a key role in the changing bottle labelling industry for example, as they should disperse readily in their wash cycles, creating a fresh surface to be adhered to again and thus contributing positively to a closed loop. I would also expect to see a reduction in plastic label usage and an increase in paper label product development.”
Do look now
Let's not forget the visual appeal that labels offer. Labels are quick and affordable, and have almost unlimited design potential. For smaller brands, labels give a flexibility and freedom that is not always easy to come by when they are creating eye-catching packaging, particularly when the aim is premium differentiation without the premium price tag.
The powerful force that is the place where innovation meets excellence is evident across start-up brands. Consumers love to wear their views on their sleeves, with eco-responsible packaging a clear way to show what is important to them – with compromising on taste, efficacy or availability. Take growing London-based skincare brand Made By Coopers Apothecary, whose products promise to nourish the skin and soul thanks to natural ingredients inspired by ancient Indian Ayurvedic rituals.
Of course, the packaging is a key reflection of the brands promise, with founder Clare Cooper explaining how clever use of labels has enabled its products to look and feel exactly as she imagined. “We have recently rebranded our packaging for a more eco-look that really shows
what we're about,” says Cooper. “The natural tones reflect the nature of our ingredients inside the products so hopefully that's what people see. We had some initial challenges with the adhesives and labels we chose as the glue kept unsticking, which didn't give the luxury look we wanted. After much research and sourcing, we now actually design and print our own labels on a Primera printer; our glass and cardboard packaging offers a stylish product that gives a clear message to our eco-credentials.”
New on the block
A totally new labelling solution to recently hit the market has been produced by well-known European glass and plastic packaging manufacture Pont Europe. In a bid to create a high-quality, low-cost label that lets brands gain the desirable embossed glass style without the associated costs, Pont has created 3D adhesive labels which can be applied to plain glass bottles.
With 14 offices and warehouses across Europe, Pont famously grew from its roots as a glass manufacturer, so its knowledge of this specific material and its advantages and challenges is second to none. Marketing director Ulric Lonfils says, “The clear advantage of our innovative 3D labels is that they allow brand owners to give volume to their logo without having to support a heavy tooling adaptation cost. Anyone can have 3D labels, as it is ideal for brewers, food manufacturers, sauce producers, juice producers... and coupled with our beautiful glass carafes, it's a perfect match.”
“3D labels from Pont let brand owners release their creativity and produce more attractive labels. We're seeing that many major brands are starting to engage with customers through interactive labels, using QR codes, NFC, and RFID. Pont's 3D labels are part of that journey by offering the opportunity for an exclusive experience before, during and after the consumption of the product.”
With engagement, a buzz word that is more than just a trend, and now a basic requirement for brands to appeal to customers. It makes sense that labels can play an integral role in the relationship between product and consumer. From how it looks to what it tells you, the label needs to be model and teacher – without costing the earth.