Monthly Archives: August 2016

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    It's Wine Harvest Season: Time to Think about Wine Labels

    From the Vine to Store Shelves

    From August to October, it's harvest time for vineyards in the Northern Hemisphere. That means it's time to think about putting those grapes on store shelves as wine. A refresh of label design could make the bottles more likely to appeal to customers, and there are plenty of great custom wine bottle labels out there for vintners interested in the market. If your find yourself in this situation, it's time to consider whether a new labeling strategy will breathe life into your wines' look and appeal.

    Win Shoppers' Eyes with Customized Wine Bottle Labels

    It's a great time to be a consumer of wine, as vineyards around the world are putting great products on shelves every year. Standing out among these offerings is a challenge, and the label may be the deciding factor that influences a shopper. This means that it's a mistake to take packaging for granted. Even if a vineyard has an age-old look that it's keen to preserve, there is room to select a new label material or adopt a new printing process to ensure the classic logo looks sharper and more appealing than ever before.

    Custom wine labels can be tuned to suit a vineyard's particular character. Maybe one type of wine is meant to have a classical, refined old-world appeal. An earthy, weathered label style could give this elegant impression and attract buyers with developed palates. Or perhaps your vineyard is more interested in appealing to young customers who are interested in fast-paced nights out and fun times with friends. A bright and contemporary set of wine bottle labels could be just what it takes to solidify that impression.

    Harvest Time is Time to Plan Ahead

    What kinds of bottles will best express the character of this year's grapes? It's time to think about it. No matter how soon you want to begin bottling and packaging your harvest, it's not too late. Lightning Labels, true to its name, enables lightning-fast turnaround times. There's no need to stick with branding that is less than optimal. There is a new, exciting all-digital alternative waiting to take your appeal to the next level.

    You can even use the vineyard itself as an effective component of your new labeling strategy. Gathering the grapes from the vines is likely a photo-friendly moment, and when you order custom wine labels from Lightning Labels, the high-definition digital printing process, those pictures can come across clearly and beautifully, giving customers an appetite-enhancing view of where the grapes came from.

  • Custom Vinyl Stickers for a Multitude of Uses

    Make a Bright Statement with Custom Vinyl Stickers

    No matter what message your brand, organization or club is trying to send, custom vinyl stickers are one possible answer. When you work with an industry-leading printing partner, your creativity can take over. Whether you want a bold, futuristic or elegant look that conjures up the past, there is an option available. Digital printing methods are extremely versatile, and imagery of all kinds looks great. Durable vinyl stickers can get a logo or message seen, and you can choose from a variety of ways to deploy them.

    Many Uses for Custom Made Stickers

    Stickers are good for internal or external purposes. Either stick them to your own items or hand them out and spread a message wherever the recipients go. Tough vinyl stickers can hold up even when exposed to the elements, and no matter the type of organization you're looking to promote, they can help. Here are a few of their prominent uses:

    • Political campaign stickers: A candidate's name and logo will look great on a durable vinyl sticker. Alternatively, if you're hoping to get people to support or reject a piece of legislation, saying so in bold text on a vinyl sticker should help the cause. When you're promoting a campaign, going with vinyl sticker printing instead of settling for less tough materials is a can ensure the message stays vibrant until election day.
    • Business promotional stickers: Are you opening a new retail location? Having a sale? Want to promote your website or social media account? Handing out stickers is a great way to spread any one of these messages. Throw these items in for free when people buy from you, pass them out at community events or partner with other local brands to attach your logo to another campaign - you'll love seeing your company's name around town.
    • Fun stickers for kids: Maybe you don't have a political campaign to promote or a company to boost, perhaps just some kids to educate or entertain. Custom stickers help here, too. In classroom settings or places where a sticker might be a proud sign of good behavior - such as a doctor or dentist's office - tough vinyl stickers are a top choice.

    Small Order Sizes Available

    Even if you think your project doesn't need enough stickers to justify professional printing, chances are actually eligible. Lightning Labels can handle small or large batches of custom vinyl stickers, so whether you want a few of a large number of designs, a limited run of stickers for a special event or a huge print run to last for years, you can find what you're looking for.

  • More Shifts In Consumer Preference Of, Regulation For Food Labels

    American consumers are becoming more health-conscious by the day, effectively forcing food manufacturers to be diligent and descriptive in their labeling practices. What's more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been highly active throughout 2016 in overhauling its regulations related to food labeling standards and provisions. Any company that produces food or beverages will need to remain agile in its labeling practices, and work to stay a step ahead of trends when it comes to meeting the demands of the modern consumer. 

    Although the regulations that have been released in the past few months are not going to take effect for more than a year, they are meant to fit the expectations of customers today. This means that trying to get the job done on labeling overhauls today can help companies get a step ahead of competitors that might be holding off on their own strategic changes until they are legally expected to do so. One of the biggest stories of this year in the food labeling arena has been added sugar disclosure. 

    Not Sitting Well
    Tree Hugger recently reported that the FDA's May announcement that all food and beverage manufacturers would have to begin noting the amount of added sugar on labels has raised some debate from certain industries. For example, the source pointed out that the Sugar Association has called the legislative move an affront, arguing that the decision would actually set a "dangerous precedent" that could end up defying goals to improve the population's health in the United States. This argument was refuted by a nutritionist in a column for Scientific American shortly thereafter. 

    "The Association argues, correctly, that the sugars that occur naturally in fruits are biochemically identical to those added in manufacturing," Marion Nestle wrote, according to the news provider. "But this argument misses how added sugars dilute the nutritional value of food products. Much research supports the health benefits of eating fruit, whereas added sugars raise risks for obesity and other chronic conditions. The Sugar Association does not really care about science. It cares about what will happen to sales if people read labels and reject products with added sugars. This, of course, is one of the purposes of Added Sugars on food labels."

    Regardless of how this debate goes in the coming 16 months or so, though, the FDA seems galvanized in its plans to begin enforcing the rule by 2018. 

    Lightning Labels Keeps You Up With The Times
    Food and beverage manufacturers will be hurting their revenue-earning potential if they try to go against the grain with respect to expanded nutrition label contents. Consumers are very clearly demanding these changes be made, and have already begun to favor products that have accurate, comprehensive dietary information posted right on the packaging. By taking a proactive approach to getting these new items included on food and beverage labels, manufacturers can avoid a range of issues today and in the coming years. 

  • Window Decals: Ideal for Retail Locations

    Spread Brand Messages through Vibrant Decals

    Your retail business should be as bright and compelling to look at as possible. People walking by should be immediately interested and want to see more. This means mastering signage and creating a great-looking facade. But there's one part of your storefront you may be missing - the windows. With high-quality window decals, you can show off your logo or send out other information. You can also purchase custom decals for automotive use - stick them to the windows of your vehicle fleet or hand them out to customers as an alternative to bumper stickers.

    Windows that Tell a Story

    What kind of information can be conveyed by a window sticker? These can contain small versions of your business's logo, show off particular merchandise you sell, or even state your membership in local retail groups or organizations. If you want to show off how many different payment methods you accept, window decals can help with that, as well. You can also add new and vibrant spins to old standbys such as signs that display the business's hours. Instead of taping up a cardboard sign, go with a custom decal that looks at home with the rest of your branded signage.

    Beyond these evergreen uses, you can also use seasonal or promotion-based stickers. Window decal printing can give you a bright new look that highlights either the time of year or the particular items being discounted. By going with custom window stickers instead of creating a makeshift sign, you gain a level of professionalism in the presentation that audiences will appreciate. Retail shoppers browsing down Main Street will know that your company is competent and reliable, with compelling branding extending from your main signs down to the labels promoting every particular element of the shop and item for sale.

    Cars Carry the Message

    Instead of limiting your branded appeal to your own storefront, you can print window decals intended for car use. Sell them in your shop, hand them out with orders of a certain amount or distribute them at local events. These have the same impact as bumper stickers, and people may be more willing to use them, as a decal stuck to a window is much more removable than a conventional sticker. This is a great way to get your message out in your geographic region and beyond. Putting your Web address on the stickers can also encourage viewers to check your store out even if they don't physically visit.

    Time to Get Underway

    There's no need to wait to get any of these types of stickers - you can begin in a hurry with Lightning Labels. Quick turnaround times ensure that your project is fast-tracked. This is important in retail: When you get a good idea to make your storefront more compelling, you want to see the results right away instead of waiting. This is what a new order of window stickers can deliver. What kind of message do you want to send to passersby? Think about it, then make the order, and your stickers will be there soon.

  • Personalizing Product Labels for Better Value and Engagement

    Building Consumer Connections Through Customization

    Digital technologies have significantly transformed the way marketers reach, engage and connect with target audiences. The rapid proliferation of mobile devices, increased reliance on connectivity and prominent rise of the Internet of Things have made it so businesses are now presented with enormous amounts of data - information they can collect, organize and analyze to gain enhanced insight and information on their customers.

    This advanced visibility leads to sellers making more informed and strategic decisions about their products. They are able to fine-tune virtually all aspects of the production and selling process in a way that gives shoppers a better, more personalized experience. The more brands know about their audiences, the better able they are deliver the goods and services they need - using the strategies and channels they are most likely to respond to.

    In this highly digital environment, brands have to compete, perhaps more than ever, with other companies to gain the attention of consumers. This is why so much attention is being paid to the packaging and labeling designs of products. The way the goods are presented online or on the shelf can make or break whether or not a shopper notices an item, let alone purchases it.

    As technology and software become more sophisticated, the expectations consumers have are increasing. Digital developments have made it so the shopping experience of today's customers is all about convenience and customization. It is imperative that brands are able to leverage unique and creative ways to create custom labels and packages that not only stand out to shoppers, but are able to establish a connection with them in some way. And this is why personalized packaging is becoming such a staple among marketers today.

    Earlier this year, Packaging Digest named personalization as one of the top and fastest-emerging packaging trends right now, due in large part to the way it allows brands to reach consumers on a personal level and meet a lot of their growing expectations.

    Benefits of Personalized Packaging and Labeling

    Print Week recently reported that personalized marketing increases customer loyalty and generates 31 percent more profits than other types of marketing materials. Thanks to digital printing technologies, adding this kind of value to marketing campaigns has become easier than ever before - and is why it has become a strategy used by companies across a wide range of industries, particularly those in the food and beverage market.

    As Print Week pointed out, the use of personalization in labels and packages is incredibly versatile. This method can be used to not only grab the attention of shoppers - say, for example, by printing names on the product like Coca Cola Company does with its soda cans - but also to promote or generate buzz about a particular product or event, gain brand exposure or spread awareness. Adding to the attractiveness of the personalized packaging strategy is the wide range of content that can be printed on the label, as well as how the campaign is run. For example, a company could print the logo of different NFL football teams during the fall based on the city or state the item is being sold in. During the holidays, businesses could allow customers to go online and upload their own images or messages to print on a product label and give as a gift.

    Another way personalized marketing is being used to benefit sellers today is that it allows them to further gain insight into consumer shopping and purchasing patterns. Print Week explained that the more consumers interact and engage with a product, especially if it is with a smartphone or via social media, the more a company is able to learn about their preferences and tastes and, therefore, further customize and target customers based on that information.

    Mastering the Art of Customized Marketing

    At the end of the day, the real driver of personalized packaging and labeling is that it is based on relevance. To be perceived as relevant and thereby valuable to shoppers today, brands must be strategic about their customization efforts. Personalized marketing materials are still in their infancy and it is a trend that will likely continue to gain traction among companies.

    However, to ensure a successful campaign of this nature - whether it be for a limited edition line of products or a long-term strategy - marketers must be able to operate quickly and efficiently. This is why it is imperative that sellers that want to offer personalized products work with a printing provider that allows them to adapt and edit labels and packages in real time on an as-needed basis. They must also be able to ensure a quick turnaround on the print ordering and delivery process.

    By partnering with a digital labeling print company that uses best-in-class technologies, brands will be better equipped to adapt their personalized campaigns in tandem with emerging trends and specific needs of their consumers.

  • It's Not Too Early to Get Your Labels Ready for the Holidays

    Now's the Time to Plan Ahead

    The air is still warm and in many places school isn't back in session - but it's still a great time to think ahead to the winter holidays. If you have products to sell, your holiday sales numbers can get a serious boost from creating a plan well beforehand, ensuring that the strategy is robust and complete rather than a last-minute afterthought. Packaging concerns are one possible element that can be squared away now. Getting your holiday labels printed well in advance ensures that the specially marked goods will be on the shelves for the entirety of the festive season.

    Catch Eyes This Year

    People shopping for gifts - or for themselves - in November and December may be won over by colorful and appealing labels incorporating seasonal imagery. Christmas labels or designs promoting other winter occasions can add a little flair to your lineup and even serve as a reminder that customers should be making extra effort to buy perfect presents for their friends and family members.

    Whether you've employed seasonal packaging strategies before or are adding it to your strategy for the first time this year, it's never too early to think about holiday label printing. Throughout the whole holiday season, customers from digital early birds to last-minute retail shoppers will be happy to see products that emphasize the season. There are plenty of great images you can employ, and a lot of variety based on the region your company is based in, the types of items you sell and the holidays your customer base celebrates.

    If your product line leans heavily on mail-order and delivery than in-person sales, even the packages you use to dispatch goods can be made more festive - consider holiday address labels that show customers you're feeling the spirit of the season. These are an especially great type of label to buy early, as individuals who receive orders in September, October or November that mention the winter holidays on the return address label may be inspired to buy presents and end-of-year bargains from you as well. These stickers show your brand's flair while also serving as good reminders to shop.

    Be Ready To Go

    Taking early action on holiday labels is a great idea from a strategy perspective. True to its name, Lightning Labels can turn around orders in lightning-fast times, but that doesn't mean you should refrain from placing an order until the last minute. Having your holiday-labeled products ready to go from now until the end of the year enables you to launch your seasonal plans at the drop of a hat.

    So, while it's still beach weather, it pays to have your mind on the holidays. You know the importance of the end of the year from a revenue perspective, which means it's impossible to put too much thought or effort into maximizing its effectiveness. Great designs printed on high-quality labels will attract attention and can subtly let customers know that the season is upon them and it's time to shop. It's time to have a great holiday season - then think about next year!

  • Should Your Product Labels Include QR Codes?

    Utilizing Digital Technologies For Packaging and Labeling

    The use of QR, or quick response, codes in product labeling and packaging has gained significant traction over the years. There are many benefits to printing QR codes on labels. This scannable technology allows shoppers to use their smartphones and mobile devices to learn more about an item. The codes can also be leveraged as a promotional and/or marketing tool. For manufacturers and marketers, it offers a solution for minimizing the amount of information they print directly on the package while still providing consumers with the necessary information the brands either want or need to disclose.

    When designing custom labels, sellers have a very limited space to work with. And because the packaging and labeling of products plays such an important role in grabbing the attention of shoppers, it is essential to make sure that every inch of the space is used strategically. Many people struggle with deciding which elements they should include, with an obvious concern being that the label will look too crowded or cluttered. However, determining whether or not a QR code would be an effective use of label space can be difficult - and there is no one simple answer. Generally, though, it depends largely on the type of good it is, as well as what industry it exists within.

    For example, a lot of the QR code's recent popularity can be attributed to the increased demand for more transparency in food and beverage labels. As Food Dive pointed out, one of the biggest initiatives that have fueled the use of scannable label technology is SmartLabel, a proposed solution to mandatory labeling regulations, such as the new GMO law, that makes it so companies let consumers know all the ingredients and sourcing information they may want to know without directly printing it on the product package. There have been mixed feelings about this strategy, with some arguing that using QR codes is unfair and inefficient because it favors only the shoppers who have smartphones. It's safe to assume that the SmartLabel advocates, which represent a large portion of food and beverage companies, prefer this method because having to disclose the use of certain ingredients or materials in a product may imply it isn't a healthy option, therefore hurting sales.

    QR Code Controversy

    The benefits of using QR codes and other digital technology in labels are easy to see when you consider how complicated and complex the regulatory environment can be. For example, according to Computerworld, wine makers can legally add as much as 200 ingredients to their wine products without disclosing the use of them on the label.

    However, when it comes to deciding whether or not to print QR codes on your labels, there is another important question to consider: Will consumers actually use them? Food Dive reported that, in 2014, 34 percent of consumers in the U.S. had used QR codes while they shopped and that, between 2014 and 2015, the number of scans made per person increased an average of 7.5 percent. Furthermore, the source noted, Hershey conducted research on SmartLabels and found that the general consensus among participants was that the QR codes are valuable when they provide information that the shopper wants to know, rather than a promotional video or marketing content.

    On the other hand, The Center for Food Integrity released research report findings that showed only about 8 percent to 9 percent of consumers prefer to receive food information from QR codes. Most preferred instead to have this information available on the product label or package, especially if it relates to the health or safety of the item.

    "When we did qualitative work, how consumers want to access information is almost as diverse as the number of consumers, which creates both an opportunity and a challenge," CFI CEO Charlie Arnot explained to Food Dive.

    Important Factors To Consider

    The important takeaway from the research findings is that, if you are going to include a QR code in the design of product labels, it is crucial to make sure that it is one that provides the consumer with valuable information. Furthermore, in order to determine this, it is necessary to first gain a sound understanding of what exactly your audience and potential customers find meaningful in regard to the type of item you're selling. For example, if it is food or beverages, using the QR code to offer them detailed listings of the ingredients and nutritional values may be a good idea.

    Another key factor to consider is whether or not your target audience uses smartphones and, if so, how. Understanding not only the technology-related activity but the purchasing behavior and patterns of your ideal customers is necessary in determining whether QR codes make sense for your product labels.

    When you're creating custom labels, you need to make the most of the space you have to work with. If there is a lot of important information that you know some shoppers may be interested in learning about, a QR code can be an effective tool in offering that without making the design look too cluttered.

  • August is National Immunization Awareness Month

    Stickers Can Raise Awareness of Vaccinations' Importance

    Modern medicine has eliminated many of the diseases that once ravaged the population. This is an astounding fact that may be a bit overlooked, due to the very fact that people no longer have to deal with sicknesses such as measles or polio and thus forget about them. Every August is set aside to recognize the role immunization plays in keeping the world healthy. National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is a great time to offer up reminders of vaccines' role, and remind people who may be behind on their immunizations to go in.

    Custom Stickers Raise Vaccines' Profile

    Stickers and labels are highly effective ways to draw attention to a cause. If you work in the health care field, you can take advantage of these items during NIAM to ask important questions, such as "Are your vaccines up to date?" These reminders can relate to kids, who are set to have their immunizations for the first time, or adults, who may be behind on theirs. In either case, custom printed stickers are a great way to get the message out.

    Handing out stickers to people who have visited a doctor's office is one way to spread the message, as is putting them up on surfaces in the health care facility itself. Customized stickers made by a quality-conscious printer are bold and eye-catching and can incorporate highly legible text and brightly colored imagery. Causes that may have been forgotten or fallen by the wayside can immediately spring back into people's consciousness when they see a well-made and well-placed sticker.

    It's Not Too Late

    You may be thinking that as August is already underway, it's too late for custom sticker printing. However, that's not true. Lightning Labels is capable of quick turnaround times, so whether you need a few stickers for a single NIAM event or a large amount to hand out over the remainder of the month, you can get your order in with time to spare.

    Diseases that were once major scourges to the population have been reduced to fringe concerns or bad memories thanks to vaccination. Celebrating this medical breakthrough and its continued importance is a great cause, one that can save more lives by increasing awareness. It's not too late to make such an effort via custom stickers. Then, once August is over, it's time to look ahead to calendar-based medical events taking place in the months ahead. New sticker runs can raise awareness of these in turn.

  • August is National Sandwich Month

    Attract Customers to Your Sandwich Lineup with Bold Stickers

    The humble sandwich can go under the radar, despite surely being one of the most convenient and well-loved food categories. August is the time when this changes, and sandwiches of all types take center stage - it's National Sandwich Month. If you operate in the food manufacturing or retail sector, you can take advantage of this special event to add a new appeal to your sandwiches or ingredients. You can make a great impression and draw attention from customers by putting reminders about National Sandwich Month on custom food labels.

    Influencing Shoppers with Custom Food Labels

    A shake-up in packaging can exert a great influence on grocery buyers' purchase decisions. When they are walking the aisles, people are looking for interesting and delicious new foods to try, and custom food stickers can guide them in the right direction. August is the right time to put promotional muscle behind any and all sandwich-related items, whether this means pre-made sandwiches or the bread, meat, cheese and condiments that act as ingredients. If you make or sell these items, customized stickers and labels can help you stoke interest and appetites.

    No matter the shape or size of container your product comes in, there are custom food labels that will work for you. Apply stickers to the wrappers of pre-made sandwiches, debut new labels on meats or cheeses, stick a unique design on ketchup or mustard - the options go on. Even produce can get in on the action, as what's a BLT without lettuce or tomato?

    Individuals shopping for ingredients or sandwiches may not have their minds made up, and could be looking to try something new. This means there is ample opportunity for bold imagery and and colorful branding to win items a second look and, hopefully, a purchase. Keeping things fresh and reacting to events such as National Sandwich Month could be what it takes to get this type of attention. Competing brands that look the same as always, or aren't using much imagery in their labels and stickers at all, may pale in comparison to your strong designs and seasonal appeal.

    It's Not Too Late

    While August is already underway, you still have the chance to reach out to consumers and win them over. Printers such as Lightning Labels can turn around orders of custom food stickers and labels in a hurry to transform your offerings and attract a few extra eyes. In the months ahead, you can surely find new ways to stoke interest, but for now, National Sandwich Month is a golden opportunity that can launch a whole new look for your food products.

    Whether you're a big brand or a small one - or just want labels for a single one-off event - Lightning Labels has the custom food labels for you. Orders can be small or large, and turnaround times are short, allowing you to seize the chance while National Sandwich Month is underway. Your customers will learn that this is a time of year to salute the humble sandwich and, in the process, develop an appetite.

  • Water Bottle Labels Help Celebrate National Clean Water Month

    Celebrating Clean Water in August

    August has been set aside to address the issue of water quality. The nation's rivers, lakes, streams and ponds are vital natural resources, and it's appropriate to have a time to celebrate keeping them clean. Your bottled water brand can, in turn, draw attention to National Clean Water Month through custom beverage labels that incorporate colorful imagery and pertinent details.

    Bottled Water Promotes Conservation

    August is a great time to align your product line with the noble cause of water conservation. The benefits of this decision flow both ways - with more awareness going to cleaning and protecting water sources, as well as a positive connection forming in consumers' minds, as they now associate the brand with environmental preservation. The pictures associated with National Clean Water Month - sparkling lakes and rivers - make great elements of water bottle labels, and can do much to draw eyes to your offerings on store shelves.

    Whatever angle you take on water conservation, you can make the connection via your packaging. If your company is regional, you can potentially gain even more attention by finding a local water feature to tie your campaign to. Is there a river or lake that gives your part of the country its identity? If so, buyers may react strongly to messages about keeping it sparkling.

    By becoming an advocate for clean water sources, you can improve the image of your bottled water brand. Summer is a key time for water sales, with individuals seeking out these products for outdoor activities. You can catch eyes with your promotional messages for National Clean Water Month, and create an association between your company and conservation that may stick with buyers long after the month and season have passed. It helps that the link is so easy to make, with custom bottle labels being readily available to transform water packaging into a space to spread a vital message.

    The Time Is Now

    Of course, making the connection with National Clean Water Month is a time-sensitive activity. After August, the window closes. Fortunately, there is still time to get the bottle labels you need. Lightning Labels is equipped for quick turnaround times, even for compelling labels with bright, full-color imagery. Starting a new campaign is easy and fast, meaning the opportunity remains to advocate for water sources in this month set aside for them.

    This is a valid strategy, no matter the size of your company. Whether you are a small distributor or a major source, Lightning Labels offers a batch size that will help you. In fact, small orders are available, meaning that a one-off party or other event can be organized in honor of National Clean Water Month, with striking bottle labels available at just that gathering. The scale of the promotion is up to you, as well as whether there is an explicit connection to August's message or a more general tone of conservation. You are free to make the ideal choice for your particular needs.

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