Labeling: More than just putting a sticker on a bottle

You’ve gone through great lengths to develop your product — from conceptualizing and researching to crafting and then testing and improving it. Now, you’re finally ready to design its packaging, so you’re looking for a company that can handle your labeling needs.

If a potential provider assures you that they’ll provide you with great-looking “stickers,” then run as far away from them as possible. Product labels are so much more than just stickers. Anyone who calls labels “stickers” likely doesn’t understand the crucial role that labels play in selling products.

What are the differences between stickers and labels?

Some labeling services providers, especially those that are new to the industry, may use the terms “stickers” and “labels” — pressure-sensitive labels (PS labels), in particular — interchangeably since they share some things in common:

  • Consist of three basic layers: the first layer is the material where the design is applied, followed by a sticky adhesive layer, and the last layer is a liner that protects the adhesive
  • Can be applied with another layer, a topcoat — often a laminate or varnish — to modify and/or improve their look, feel, and durability
  • Can either have a permanent or removable adhesive
  • Can sometimes be printed using similar pieces of equipment
  • Are applied using pressure — no need for water, solvent, or heat — onto surfaces

Despite these commonalities, stickers and labels are not the same. First of all, not all labels are sticky. A shrink sleeve label, for example, isn’t attached onto surfaces using an adhesive. Instead, it is slipped over a container and applied with heat so it would conform to the shape of the container.

Even PS labels (i.e., self-adhesive labels) and stickers have significant differences in their real-life applications. Stickers are often handed out individually to promote a brand, organization, cause, or a person. For example, customers get a free Apple sticker along with their purchase of an iPhone or Mac laptop.

Stickers are also used to decorate scrapbooks, notebooks, lunchboxes, cars, and laptops, among many others. They can also be used in sticker bombing, a form of graffiti art wherein stickers are used to cover an entire surface, such as a wall or the hood of a car. Stickers can be used as temporary name tags for events as well.

A PS label, on the other hand, has either written or printed information about a product and is applied onto that product’s container.

Why do we need to use labels on products?

There are many reasons for utilizing product labels:

1. Know what the packaging contains

Imagine opening your kitchen cabinets and seeing all the labels of your canned goods have been removed. You would likely have no clue what each can contains! Even the differences in the cans’ shapes and sizes would do little to indicate their contents. Labels help people identify products.

2. Market the product

Once your product reaches retail shelves, its label can make or break a sale. A dull-looking label may not grab people’s attention. What’s more, if the label’s aesthetics aren’t aligned with your target consumer’s preferences, they won’t catch your target market’s eye. 

Labels also help with brand recognition and recall. A label that looks too similar to your competitors’ will prevent your product from standing out. Even your fans may be unable to spot your product if you use a label with design elements that are not consistent with your brand.

Moreover, in the absence of samples, shoppers tend to judge products by their labels. If your label looks amateurish, shoppers may think the same of your product as well. Ultimately, your label plays a crucial role in convincing shoppers to take home your product. 

3. Feature promotions

Labels can help highlight products with ongoing promos, such as those that:

  • Are brand new or recently improved 
  • Have discounted prices or redeemable coupons
  • Are available for only a limited time or have shorter runs
  • Are part of an ongoing contest, raffle, or giveaway
  • Are included in a rewards program 

4. Show information required by the industry and state or federal government

Most products have labeling requirements that differ depending on the product’s type, industry, and target consumer and where it is sold. 

Consumer electronics, for example, must have a label that includes the following information:

  • How to safely use and dispose of the product
  • Where the components were manufactured 
  • What substances the product contains
  • Proof of authenticity
  • Compliance certifications with quality standards and environmental regulations 

Labels of health and beauty products should display information such as:

  • What ingredients the product contains
  • How to use the product: how much product to use, how to apply it, and how often
  • How to store the product (e.g., keep away from direct sunlight, store below a certain temperature)
  • What to do when certain things happen due to product use (e.g, discontinue use and consult a doctor in case of irritation or suspected allergic reaction) 
  • When the product will expire
  • How to dispose of the product

Food and beverage labels must disclose ingredients and list possible allergens such as nuts, gluten, or soy. Their nutritional information must also follow a very specific format and font size. 

Hazardous products, such as poisons and flammable liquids, are required by law to have warning labels.

Child safety and THC warning information must be present in labels of cannabis products. In fact, each state has its own labeling requirements for cannabis products. California, for example, mandates that labels must use at least six-point font and show the net weight or volume in both metric and US customary units

Partner with a labeling services provider that can help you move your product

When you work with Pro-Motion Industries, we won’t provide you with just “stickers.” Instead, we will help you succeed by delivering labels that meet both your functional and budgetary needs​. We’ll make sure your product labels embody your brand identity, last long, and deliver maximum value. 

Consult with our labeling experts at 856-809-0040 today!

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