Santa Gives LL Employees Time Off, Puts Customers on ‘Nice’ List

Holiday closings - Lightning Labels

MEMO

To:  Lightning Labels

From:  Santa Claus

Date:   December 22, 2011

Subject:  Holiday Gifts

First of all, I would like to commend you on the high quality of the toy labels you printed for my workshop at the North Pole. The elves still can’t get over the fact that they passed every test in our Toy Packaging Laboratory … with flying colors, HO-HO-HO!

Next, I have noticed you have been working hard to become more environmentally friendly. Your recently expanded line of eco friendly label materials is wonderful, with BioStone being my favorite. A water-resistant, compostable label made from rocks! You rolled out other unique products like Satin Cloth labels this year, and you know how I love creativity. My notes also indicate that you have been generous to your customers this year by lowering your minimum order, offering free ground shipping, and helping them save money. As a small token of my appreciation, I have made it possible for your employees to take some time off to enjoy the holidays this year.

Holiday Closings

Friday, Dec. 23, 2011

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011

Monday, Jan. 2, 2012

I also have a surprise gift for your customers this year, a special holiday discount. I had to cash in some favors, but it was worth it. Look what they’re getting for Christmas this year! Continue reading “Santa Gives LL Employees Time Off, Puts Customers on ‘Nice’ List” »

Label Your Way to Brand Loyalty

Have you ever heard of the Box Tops for Education program? It’s a fundraising initiative that product manufacturers can support by printing specified information on the top flaps of their product boxes. After consumers use up the products in these boxes, they raise money for the school of their choice by turning the box top flaps in.

Box Tops for Education allows participating manufacturers to contribute to a worthy cause. As an added benefit, it builds up the value of their brands by positioning them as companies who positively impact the communities where their products are sold. Since consumers are more likely to trust companies who demonstrate that they care about people, not just profits, this is a great way for manufacturers to increase brand loyalty.

Savvy product manufacturers can increase brand loyalty and give them an edge over their competition in a similar fashion. The premise of these types of programs (or campaigns if you prefer to call them) is to give buyers reasons to hold onto product labels even after they have recycled or otherwise discarded the rest of the packaging. They essentially find ways to increase the value of the product labels themselves. Although Lightning Labels always encourages manufacturers to give something back to the communities that keep them in business, brand loyalty programs don’t necessarily have to focus on charitable causes to be effective. Continue reading “Label Your Way to Brand Loyalty” »

The Importance of Promoting “Made in the USA”

flagWith many people who want to work unable to find jobs, consumers are more aware than ever of the importance of buying products that put Americans to work. For companies that manufacture  products in the United States, it is important to include labeling on each item that shows potential customers their commitment to building the American economy.

The phrase “tough economic times” has been overused in recent years to describe the economic downturn that has caused so many Americans to become unemployed. Overused or not, however, these are indeed tough economic times for those who can no longer pay their bills because of the shrinking job market. As a result, many Americans are consciously choosing to spend disposable income on products that contribute to a stronger American economy.

For this very practical economic reason, a country of origin label makes sense. This type of label is easier than ever to product thanks to the availability of online label printing services.

While the US has been making goods since, well, 1776, country of origin labeling legislation only came about with the Tariff Act of 1930, which required most imports to indicate country of origin. Continue reading “The Importance of Promoting “Made in the USA”” »

How to Get the Most Out of Your Product Labels

Many companies view labels as advertising tools — they help the brands encourage customers to choose their products over the competition. However, businesses that use labels solely for this purpose may be missing other opportunities as well.

Nowadays, new technology enables brands to leverage product labels in ways that engage consumers beyond first glance. For example, quick-response codes could be pasted on the front or reverse sides of labels to give consumers more information on products or special discounts.

Meanwhile, other brands have instituted reward or loyalty programs for collecting product labels, further encouraging customers to purchase their goods. Continue reading “How to Get the Most Out of Your Product Labels” »

Healthy Food Product Labels: How Healthy Are Their Claims?

Increasingly health-conscious consumers have spurred a revolution in product labeling, but who decides what terms like “low fat” and “natural” mean on food product labels? The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration regulate the use of some terms, but not others.

AllNaturalFood giant General Mills is facing a lawsuit from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit private watchdog group, over the company’s claims that their processed fruit snacks are healthy foods. While specific phrases on the packages are accurate — the snacks are indeed low in calories, fortified with vitamin C and gluten-free — the CSPI contends that these statements don’t accurately reflect the nature of the pre-packaged snacks. Compared to a piece of fruit with its low sugar, high fiber and rich supply of vitamins, processed fruit sheets fall short, the group claims.

General Mills may be disguising the less healthy aspects of their fruit snacks behind prominent displays of their virtues, but they aren’t making things up. Yet this kind of fudging may become a thing of the past as food product labels come under closer FDA scrutiny. While all fats were once lumped together on the label, the administration now requires manufacturers to break those fat grams into percentages of total fat, trans fat and saturated fat. Any fat labeled “partially hydrogenated” is a trans fat, a processed oil that underwent chemical alteration to turn it into a shelf-stable, solid fat. A similar push is underway to separate total sugar content into high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose and other sugars. Continue reading “Healthy Food Product Labels: How Healthy Are Their Claims?” »

How Design Crowdsourcing Websites Can Save You Money

While the economy is slowly bouncing back, many businesses are being forced to cut costs wherever they can. This thrifty mindset extends to every business activity, ranging from marketing to actual production. Businesses looking to save on expensive graphic design costs may also consider leveraging design crowdsourcing websites such as MycroBurst and 99designs.

Let me be clear. When it comes to designing and creating new labels, hiring a local graphic designer is the best way to create high-quality label designs that match your packaging, products, and brand perfectly. But if you can’t afford to do this, utilizing design crowdsourcing websites may very well be your next-best option.

If you choose to use one of these websites, they will help you host a design contest. You will answer several questions about the the type of label design you need and how much you are willing to pay for it. Most websites like this require you to pay for your design upfront. Some design crowdsourcing websites such as 99designs offer combo packages that save you money if you have multiple design projects, and a few even offer money-back guarantees if you aren’t presented with a suitable design.

Once your label design contest launches, graphic designers will submit their design concepts for your consideration. You can post feedback on the designs, which may or may not inspire some designers to tweak their original submission in hopes of winning the contest (and the payment that comes with it). Some websites allow you to invite friends and colleagues to vote on their favorite designs or rank them in order of preference. Ultimately, though, you make the final decision.

This strategy can be very effective for two reasons. First, it’s cost efficient. Rather than paying one artist a high price, companies get multiple designers to compete for the same job. Second, it gives you more options — rather than being limited to a single artist’s creative mind, you can choose from several different designers who each view the world uniquely.

Once the label design has been finalized and you have the rights to use it, you can then send it to a custom label printing company such as Lightning Labels to be produced.

A World Without Full Color Labels

We tend to take the full spectrum of colors for granted.

Let’s take a look at some of the companies whose products or brands would suffer without the benefit of a full color label.

Popsicle

Popsicle Brand - Color LabelPopsicle - Grayscale label

Before, we have a box of glisteningly sweet, cold, refreshing, fruit-flavored frozen delicacies. After, we have… what? A McCarthy-era warning about the feared superiority of Soviet nuclear missiles? Turn-of-the-century, retro-futuristic depictions of 21st century buildings (named after fruits, for some reason)? Whatever it is, on first glance, I certainly don’t want my children sucking on them. Full color labels help make subtle promises to the consumer like the relief of an impossibly-colored frozen treat on a hot summer day. It appears that sweet things are especially dependent on vibrant colors to sell.

Google

Google - Color LogoGoogle - Grayscale Logo

The world’s most popular search engine has undergone many changes over the years. Google’s full color logo features primary colors, softening their tech-y image to be more friendly and familiar to its users. Looking at the logo after we drain out its friendly colors, Google’s eye looks more like an Orwellian horror—the all-seeing eye of the Internet, copying your every keystroke and compiling your profile to more efficiently target you. Actually, now that you put it that way…

Toy R’ Us

Toys 'R' Us - Color logoToys 'R' Us - Grayscale logo

Toys R’ Us, the toy superstore whose star rose, fell, and rose again over the period of 20-odd years, has undergone a number of redesigns during its rollercoaster of a life. Like Google, we see the friendly use of primary colors. The Toys R’ Us logo takes its softening efforts even further with its logo with rounded edges and a friendly, bouncy text. While the effect isn’t completely lost when you suck out its colors, it’s safe to say the Toys R’ Us doesn’t appear quite as kid-friendly as before.

American Flag

American Flag - ColorAmerican flag - Grayscale

Even with the colors drained, the flag’s too iconic to lose its meaning. It’s almost as if my eyes are filling in the colors where they ought to be. Still, I wouldn’t want to go slapping an American flag on my products without the bright red, white and blue. Just doesn’t seem right.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake label - ColorStrawberry shortcake label - Grayscale

Once again, we have a “sweet” logo drained of its sweetness without color, only this time, it’s a doll. Strawberry Shortcake doesn’t look quite as friendly without her ginger locks, and her strawberries look more like shrunken heads from a cheap 80’s voodoo horror film. Our minds are tuned to expect color in some situations; blacks and grays in the place of pinks and reds can feel “wrong,” “off,” “off-putting,” or plain “scary.” Is that a glint of malice I see in the B&W Shortcake doll’s eyes?

I suppose the point of all of this is to demonstrate the importance of full color labels in many situations. While it’s true that some products’ labels don’t require color, many of our favorite brands and products would have a hard time coming off the shelf if they chose black and white labels.

Lightning Labels Minimizes Cost of Reaching for the Stars

Minimum Order Reduced from 100 to 50 Labels per Version

Ladder to the Stars - Lightning LabelsIf you’re a business owner, you know you need to take chances — lots of them — to be successful. Unfortunately, taking chances can become quite pricey.

Thankfully, though, we’ve just lowered our minimum order from 100 to 50 labels per version. This is great news because it gives your business more opportunities to control costs and save money. Money you can use to start chasing your dreams (for real this time.)

Ordering small quantities of labels allows you to manage your product label inventory more efficiently by minimizing storage space, reducing waste, and controlling purchasing costs. With our quick turnaround time (2 to 3 days following proof approval), you can order labels as you need them. This is good news not only for start-ups, but for any product manufacturer that could benefit from the ability to order 50 labels at a time. Health, beauty, and specialty food product makers come to mind since they have a large number of SKUs. Continue reading “Lightning Labels Minimizes Cost of Reaching for the Stars” »

How to Drive Brand Engagement with RFID Tags

Thanks to advances in technology, labels can be so much more than simple stickers used to differentiate products at retail.

For example, many product manufacturers are now using near field communication radio frequency ID (RFID) tags with their labels to further engage consumers. When consumers approach products that use this technology, special messages can be relayed to their phones.

If product manufacturers are trying to boost sales, they may set their labels to broadcast coupons. Or they could simply send messages asserting the value of buying that product over another. Some companies even use the tags to encourage customers to sign up for email newsletters or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

RFID tags don’t need to be limited to promotions, either. For example, recycling information or user manuals could also be conveyed through the technology.

There are all sorts of considerations that can improve the performance of labels at retail. You should consult a professional labeling company such as Lightning Labels for more information.

Chocolate Crisis Center Relieves Suffering Caused by Widespread Condition

LL Gets CCC to Open Up About Chocolate Crisis Condition,
Fails to Obtain Dr. Hottie’s Number

This month’s Customer Spotlight is on the Denver-based chocolate purveyor Chocolate Crisis Center (CCC). Lightning Labels conducted the following interview with Will M. Bellish, Top Flack of the CCC’s Public Relations Department.

Daily Dose labels - CCCWhat is the “Chocolate Crisis Condition”?
The condition manifests itself as a tendency for sufferers to employ chocolate as a way of coping with intense nonspecific cravings, unfocused mental meanderings, bizarre interactions with coworkers and family, fantasies of torturing superiors, and the stress of expensive and pointless psychotherapy sessions. Chocolate has been shown to have immediate positive effects on the Prefrontal Choco-Cortex, Cacao Nibulum, Left Cerebral Chocosphere, Reptilian Craving Complex and other areas of the brain related to ecstatic enjoyment and immediate gratification. Research continues at the Center to find new treatments for sufferers.

Dr. Ernst Angst is credited with identified the Chocolate Crisis ConditionWhat types of treatments does the CCC offer its patients?
Dr. Ernst Angst, the discoverer of the condition and founder of the Chocolate Crisis Center, learned that he could achieve the same or better results for most of his patients by administering quality Belgian chocolate at the beginning of therapy sessions, then ending the session immediately so everyone had another 55 minutes to do something constructive. He has since developed a full line of chocolate bars, truffles, caramels, fruits and nuts that can achieve the same results in under a minute. Needless to say, session work has dropped off considerably. Continue reading “Chocolate Crisis Center Relieves Suffering Caused by Widespread Condition” »