Monthly Archives: September 2016

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    Prepare for Charitable Events and Awareness Campaigns with Custom Labels and Stickers

    In October and Beyond, Custom Labels and Stickers Promote Good Causes

    Philanthropy and supporting charity are year-round endeavors, but some months of the calendar are set aside for certain areas of focus. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, among other health-related causes. If you plan to run a fundraising effort, now is the time to think about setting up charitable event stickers and labels. Depending on your own background, there are many different products you can use to spread this charitable effort. Manufacturers and retailers can customize the labels of products while nonprofits can hand out bumper stickers that will last long after the month has ended, keeping awareness high.

    Visibility on the Rise

    You've no doubt seen some of the larger and more expensive awareness-raising promotions relating to breast cancer treatment. When sports leagues are inundated by pink ribbons and equipment in October, that's a huge campaign that millions will see.

    When it comes to promoting awareness and fundraising in your own community, you can harness similar imagery and apply it to custom stickers. If you're raising money, you can pass out "I donated" stickers to everyone who gives. Alternately, if your goal is to spread a message - such as encouraging more women to schedule breast cancer screenings - free stickers can get the word out.

    Tying a product or whole brand in with charitable and health awareness events is a great way to use visibility for a good cause, and it can create positive associations for the company. If you make or distribute merchandise, you can use custom charitable event labels on your goods, highlighting causes during their designated months and encouraging buyers to get involved.

    Health Campaigns Are Better With Stickers

    Safeguarding the health of a community is one of the most important efforts you can become involved in. Whether this takes the form of raising money for research into cures or increasing public awareness of the need for preemptive testing, any campaign can become more visually vibrant with the help of stickers and labels.

    Lightning Labels can be a partner for these efforts, producing tough and visually bold custom bumper stickers, specialized product labels and more. October's multiple public health campaigns can benefit from these items, and with quick turnaround times and a cost-effective all-digital process, you can get the materials you need with time to spare. Other months will bring new causes into the spotlight, and Lightning Labels can remain a valuable partner, helping you promote awareness of and raise funds for those efforts, too.

  • Evoking Emotion Through Custom Labels

    What Is Emotional Marketing?

    Digital technologies are changing the game of marketing. With more tools and processes available than ever before, sellers are able to capitalize on a vast array of strategies and solutions for customizing packaging and labeling materials. But when it comes to appealing to their target audiences, few tactics have proved more effective than tapping into their emotions.

    Emotional marketing has been used by some of the biggest and most successful brands across the globe for many years. And with good reason: Consumers tend to base their brand decisions on their emotions, not logical information. According to Buffer, research has shown that marketing campaigns that use emotional content tend to outperform those that use rational content by about double. Part of the reason it is so effective is that it can help build brand awareness and exposure. For example, psychologists have learned that when something makes a person happy, that individual is more likely to want to share it - hence why cute videos of animals tend to go viral often.

    The source also referenced a wheel of emotions that can help explain how certain feelings can tap into others. For example, admiration is often associated with trust. Therefore, if you put a positive message on your product label, it could lead to shoppers viewing your brand as being more trustworthy. Put simply, emotion influences motivation, which drives action.

    Creating an Emotional Connection

    Custom labels serve many different purposes and are an invaluable tool for marketers to use to their advantage - allowing them to differentiate their products from others on the shelves, deliver a meaningful message, demonstrate brand identity and create a lasting impression. And they are also a great way to establish an emotional connection.

    For example, right now many consumers are excited about it being football season. By changing product labels to include the logo of the local sports teams, you will not only fuel loyalty but also facilitate a sense of comradery. Suddenly, it becomes less about the product and more about showing support for the team and associating with a business that shares the same values.

    The effectiveness and benefits of using custom labels to appeal to people's emotions aren't just something businesses can leverage, either. Emotion is something that can - and should - be used for personal situations as well. Let's say you have an event coming up that you plan to need decorations and/or party favors for. Designing and printing personalized labels for it is a great idea. Adding the date of the event or matching it to the theme of the celebration can immediately transform otherwise boring souvenirs into sentimental mementos that are more meaningful and personal. Whether it is a wedding, anniversary, graduation or some other important event, custom labels can be used to tap into the emotions of guests and make it so the products can be kept and used as reminders of the special occasion.

    Another demonstration of the power personalized labels can have in creating an emotional experience occurs when they are used to make an important announcement. For example, earlier this month, the Today Show shared a video that was going viral in which a son revealed to his mother that she was about to be a grandmother by handing her a bottle of wine she was cooking. On the wine label was a picture of the sonogram. This has also become a popular approach brides employ to ask their family and friends to be in their bridal party.

    Labels can play a useful and important role in life's milestones and important moments. However, the key is figuring out which emotion you are trying to evoke.

    Tips for Designing Labels

    Before creating the custom label, you must first determine what kind of effect or emotional response you want the label to have. For example, should it make the person feel excited? Sentimental? Understanding this is the first step in establishing what design elements should be used. Then, in order to ensure the final product meets your expectations, you need to choose the right digital label printing company to work with.

  • Create Fun, 'Spooktacular' Stickers for Halloween

    Creepy or Cute, Fun or Frightening, Stickers are Great for Halloween

    Are you planning a party this Halloween? Do you have kids who are going trick-or-treating? Is your company planning to use the holiday as a chance to promote your offerings? If any of those situations apply, you've got a great opportunity to use custom Halloween stickers. These can be bold, colorful and perfectly in tune with the spirit of the holiday. High-quality digital printing can bring the orange and black look of Halloween to life, with classic spooky imagery adding fun to your party.

    Lots of Uses

    When you're wondering whether to order Halloween stickers this year, take a moment to think about the many surfaces crying out for the extra bit of flair that a tough, digitally printed sticker can impart. You can hand stickers out, stick them up in a business or classroom setting to get people excited about the season, or use them to turn year-round items into autumn specialties. Here are a few ways to make a statement with stickers:

    • Trick or treat bags: When kids come to your home in search of treats, why not hand out several candies at once, bagged up and sealed with a custom Halloween sticker? This adds some visual interest, and is more in tune with the spirit of the season than just handing out fun-size candy bars with no extra adornment. And when your own kids go out trick-or-treating, they can decorate their bags with the same fun stickers.
    • Party decorations: Teachers who plan to celebrate Halloween in their classrooms or members of office party planning committees, take note: Stickers are a great way to turn a normal room into a spooky space that's perfect for the season. Hand extra stickers out to guests, or tuck a few away for next year - it'll be here before you know it!
    • Seasonal retail: When your retail store or product brand has a possible connection to the season - for instance, if you produce or sell candy, a little change in packaging can get customers excited for ghosts, ghouls and all things scary. Halloween labels for relevant products or simply a few stickers on top of year-round packages can make a real difference and reach shoppers who love the holiday.

    Time to Order

    September is flying by, so you may be wondering whether it's too late to design and print good-looking and tough stickers for Halloween. If you work with Lightning Labels, the answer is an emphatic no. A combination of all-digital printing processes ensures that turnaround times are lightning-fast and quality is high. When you can get an order in days instead or weeks or months, it's possible to make any holiday more fun on short notice.

    Another advantage of all-digital printing processes is the financial ease of ordering small batches of stickers or labels. There are no engraved plates involved, so changes and personalization are possible, and there's no need for high minimum orders. This means that whether you're getting stickers for a business or your own party, there's an option that will suit you.

  • It's Baby Safety Month: Are Your Products Properly Labeled?

    Are Your Products Labeled for Safety?

    Some products shouldn't be used around children, and the proper labeling of these items is one of the most important steps in manufacturing and distributing them up to industry standards. Some labeling conventions are required by law, others are extra add-ons that parents will be grateful for. September is a great time to check and make sure your products are as clearly labeled as possible, as it's Baby Safety Month. People with small children want to know right away which items should be kept far away from their little ones, and custom childproof labels are an effective way to tell them.

    Keeping Babies Safe

    A huge number of objects can be dangerous when children get into them, from the obvious, such as chemicals, to anything heavy enough to cause harm if it tips over. September is a good time to think about whether your products fall into these categories. Even if you are already employing child-proof stickers, they may not be large, prominent or bright enough. Tough stickers that won't wear off on their own are a priority here, as parents will want to know every relevant warning. If even one child is kept out of a dangerous situation because of your labeling strategy, it's done some good.

    Custom safety labels warning of danger to babies is meant for parents, not the children themselves. Since the kids being protected in this case are too young to read or comprehend the symbols, you're really issuing these warnings to adults. New parents will be thankful that you're helping them perform their most important task - keeping their kids happy and healthy. Custom childproof stickers on packaging are one way you can communicate your values to the people who buy your products. You want to make sure they can be used safely in houses with young children, and give customers all the info they need.

    Time to Change Your Packaging

    You may believe that it's too late to change up your packaging strategy while Baby Safety Month is still underway. However, that's not true. Working with an all-digital printer such as Lightning Labels gives you the speed and flexibility you need to have new packaging on your products in a matter of days, not weeks or months. Whether you're interested in whole new labels or just stickers that will add safety information, there are plenty of options. You're free to choose a material - in the case of child safety labeling, it pays to go with one tough enough to stand up to wear and tear.

    Tying a packaging refresh into Baby Safety Month can serve as a reminder to parents to ensure that the products they use in everyday life are securely kept where their young children can't get into them. By launching such a campaign, you impart this valuable safety message. It's a good image for a brand to have: Becoming a company that really cares about its audience is a positive move for just about any organization. And moving in this direction is so simple. It all starts with new labels or stickers.

  • The Success of EPA's New 'Safer Choice' Label

    The Challenge of Hazardous Chemicals It's no news that consumers today want products that are not only healthy and safe, but also good for the environment. For the food and beverage industry, this increased demand for better products has been driven by the desire to make healthier choices and be able to more easily understand what ingredients are contained in the item. And although the industry has recently been fraught with controversy, such as the ongoing debate regarding whether GMO labeling should be mandatory, the premise is relatively simple: Let consumers know exactly what ingredients are used in the product and don't try to deceive them with buzzwords and marketing gimmicks on the packaging and labeling.

    When it comes to cleaning and household products, though, it seems things are a little more complex. Of course, the same principles of health and safety apply. Most consumers would agree that, if possible, they would like to avoid products that contain harsh or hazardous chemicals. Many might assume that, if it is on store shelves, it can't be that harmful. But, as Vermont Public Radio recently pointed out, the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for regulation of chemicals - and its governance has been somewhat limited by the Toxic Substance Control Act.

    Discovering a Labeling Loophole The source pointed to some events that demonstrate the conflict between the court and the EPA, such as hazardous levels of PFOA being found in New Hampshire, Vermont and New York's water and when EPA was prohibited from banning asbestos in the early '90s. These are just some examples of instances that helped drive the EPA to its development of the Safer Choice Label program - a voluntary initiative aimed at providing companies - and consumers - with a better way to further evaluate the safety of chemicals in products.

    "We realized was that, if we put a simple label on a product that people can see - we put that on a product that is safer, it's a safer choice for household products - that people will respond to that, that consumers will regulate with their dollars," EPA Top Administrator Gina McCarthy explained to the source. She added that the organization is extremely thorough in its science-backed research. And the terms of the Safe Choice program are pretty simple and straight-forward.

    "If a chemical has data, which shows that it's got potential health effects for people or effects for the environment, we don't allow it to be used in program," said program manager Clive Davies. "[J]ust because it's allowed at low level, doesn't mean it's safer. So we only allow the safest possible chemicals."

    EPA Label Gaining Popularity Among Companies Although the labeling program was initially introduced over two decades ago, it has recently undergone a rebranding and received a new logo. And it seems it has had a positive effect. For example, according to VPR, Seventh Generation, which previously steered away from using logos, liked the idea behind Safer Choice so much - and what it represented - that it decided to have its laundry detergent products certified.

    Seventh Generation isn't the only business to recognize the value of this kind of safe labeling. Over the past year, there has been a 30 percent jump in Safer Choice label review requests. This year, Clorox was the recipient of a "Partner of the Year" award from the EPA. Even retail giant Walmart has joined in, promising to bring private-label products to Safer Choice standards.

    There are a lot of factors businesses need to take into consideration when creating their product labels. However, given the rising popularity of the Safer Choice program among major brands, companies committed to demonstrating environmental responsibility and prioritizing the health and safety of its consumers would be well served by being approved to add the logo to their product labels.

    On its website, the EPA offers some guidance on the new Safer Choice Label. After submitting chemical data, sellers will have their requests reviewed by a third party. Whether they are waiting approval or not yet sure about committing to the program, it is highly recommended that businesses - at the very least - look into what chemicals and harmful substances are listed by the EPA, and take proactive and preventative measures to eliminate them from their own products.

  • Get Ready for Oktoberfest with Custom Beer Labels

    Spruce up Your Beer Labels with High-Quality Customized Beer Labels

    It's that time of year again: The air is getting crisp, the leaves are getting ready to turn red and yellow, and revelers and brewers are anticipating Oktoberfest. If you're planning on selling a special batch of ale or lager for this annual event, you're in good company. Your challenge is making sure your brew stands out from the many others that will doubtless be available to your customers, no matter how close to or far from Germany you are. This is where high-quality custom beer labels enter the picture, making your brand unmissable.

    Draw the Eye with Autumn Imagery

    Oktoberfest and the fall season in general have ample great imagery that could look great on a beer label. Colorful images of Alpine villages or leaves turning orange could put purchasers in the mood for a refreshing stein of beer, positioning your brand head and shoulders above competitors that don't change their products' looks for the season. To make sure the images and text stay sharp even in cold fridges and when doused in condensation from the bottles, you should work with an experienced digital printing partner such as Lightning Labels.

    Ensuring the labels fit on the bottles is another important consideration. Custom beer bottle labels should suit the shape of the products they'll be adorning. This is why Lightning Labels offers a variety of different sizes and configurations. You have a high level of control over multiple elements of the packaging layout, including which type of material best suits your needs. Whether the feel of a paper label or the toughness of a vinyl version is more appropriate for your brand, you'll find a good match. Furthermore, environmentally friendly options are available to add a little eco-consciousness to your brand.

    When Oktoberfest is over, it'll be time for another seasonal brew, or perhaps time to settle into a year-round look for your brews. In either case, a new set of tough and visually appealing labels from Lightning Labels can give the line enduring appeal into the winter and beyond. Whether you prefer to change the branding frequently to draw fresh eyes or stake an enduring position with a consistent look, Lightning Labels can become a valuable packaging partner.

    It's Not Too Late

    It's not long until the first day of Oktoberfest. That said, it's not time to think about next year just yet - there's still time to get customized beer bottle labels before the festivities kick off. Lightning Labels' all-digital process enables rapid turnaround times and batch sizes that run the gamut. Whether you're interested in putting out a few bottles of beer for special events or a whole line of seasonal brews, you'll find an option that works.

    For a brewery, there are few events that shine a spotlight on the industry the way Oktoberfest does. This is a great chance to get a name out there and reach new customers, an opportunity not to be missed. Custom labels are the transformational element that lets viewers know a particular brew is part of this season.

  • Election Day is November 8! Get Ready with Custom Bumper Stickers

    Custom Political Stickers Can Boost Any Campaign

    With the presidential election coming up on November 8, the news has become saturated with political pitches from Democrats, Republicans and third parties in all 50 states. If you're in charge of promoting a local candidate or working to promote a major party in your area, it's crunch time. Reminding your party's longtime voters to go to the polls and winning over the eyes of undecided masses are tasks that deserve all-out effort. Bumper stickers are one of the tried and true methods you can use to put your candidate's name and party symbols out there.

    Tough Bumper Stickers Look Great on Cars and More

    When it's time to promote a campaign, you need multi-purpose materials that will get the message out there with bright colors and bold text. This is where bumper stickers come in. True to their name, these stickers look great on cars' bumpers, but they can go anywhere else, too. If you want to spread a candidate's name indoors, put them on personal belongings such as laptops or pin them to a bulletin board. Supporters can take these stickers with them wherever they go, making them a great campaign give-away.

    With the election coming up, you likely have a few stipulations for sticker orders. You don't want to have to order too many, as they'll become historical relics on November 9. You also want to ensure they stick powerfully and don't fade so the ones you successfully give away look great in the run-up to November. Furthermore, you want to get your order immediately so the campaign can swing into high gear right away. These factors add up to one conclusion: It's time to work with Lightning Labels.

    Lightning Labels' all-digital printing process is fast and allows orders with low minimums. This means you'll have your custom election stickers in hand within a matter of days rather than weeks or months. Plus, you won't have piles of overstock once people go to the polls. Bumper stickers from Lightning Labels are printed on tough white vinyl in brilliant full color, keeping your party's message looking bold and promising to potential voters.

    Stickers for a Local Polling Station

    Maybe you're a town election official rather than a political campaigner. If so, Lightning Labels can make your election day go a little more smoothly as well. Bold and patriotic 'I voted' stickers will act as great give-aways that let your district's voters show that they have done their civic duty. These election day stickers are a staple of the U.S. election ritual, so make sure you get them quickly and affordably.

    Patriotic Flair Brightens November

    Campaigns all over the country, both in local elections and the national contest, are ramping up. Polling stations are preparing to accommodate voters. Individuals are looking for ways to show their support of candidates and convince undecided voters. Stickers can be a great addition to the election season, adding a dash of color to all these scenes and more. If you're gearing up for November 8, be sure to think about custom stickers.

  • September is National Honey Month: Draw Attention with Custom Honey Labels

    Promote Your Honey Brand Throughout September

    Honey has many excellent traits - it is a natural sweetener, something people can add to their food when they want great taste without going heavy on sugar or chemicals. Promoting your brand to its highest potential may hinge on reminding customers of this natural goodness. There's no better time to launch such an awareness campaign than right now, because September is National Honey Month. Custom honey jar labels or stickers to complement your year-round designs can boost the perception of your brand and make September a great month to find new customers and re-energize past buyers.

    Becoming Shoppers' Sweetener of Choice

    Whether you distribute honey to national supermarket chains or sell it locally at farmers markets, you're always in competition with other brands. People won't typically take home many different bottles of honey and try them all. They'll pick the option that is most appealing to them while they're browsing the shelves. This is where jar labels do their work, using bright imagery and bold text to tell consumers that your honey is the freshest and most delicious brand of all.

    During September, you can customize these food labels to ensure people know it's National Honey Month and decide to take a bottle home. Alternately, you can order a print run of eye-catching stickers and add those instead. Whichever path you take, it's good to select labels or stickers tough enough to survive the transit to stores and last on shelves for the duration of September. At the end of the month, it may be time to refresh your labeling strategy again, going with a message that works year-round, but is just as visually compelling.

    There are many great images associated with beekeeping and the honey production field. Putting high-quality pictures of your hives, bees and honeycombs on new custom jar labels can remind people that honey comes directly from nature, rather than being produced in a factory. This is a food they can feel good about indulging in, whether they put it in their tea, use it to sweeten breakfast or use it as an ingredient in any number of recipes.

    It's Not Too Late

    While September has already begun, there's still time to make a great impact with new custom labels or stickers. Lightning Labels enables rapid turnaround, meaning your new labels will be in your hands in a matter of days, not months. National Honey Month is your big chance to stake a claim for honey as a natural food that brings flavor and fun to meals. By not letting the chance pass by, you may stand out next to other brands that don't change.

    There are other advantages to picking Lightning Labels in addition to speed. As an all-digital printer, Lightning Labels also offers high-resolution imagery and extreme flexibility. If you have a small honey output and only need a limited amount of labels or stickers, you get what you're looking for. Unlike traditional printing methods that include high upfront costs, digital printing is economical for short print runs or orders that call for varied output.

  • New Digital Press Means Consistent, High-Quality Labels

    Lightning Labels Scales Up Its On-site Label Production

    To keep up with increasing demand for high-quality custom sticker and label printing, Lightning Labels has added a new digital press to its Denver facility. This means that even as new customers come aboard, turnaround times will remain fast. All the benefits associated with digital label printing, from flexibility to quality and beyond, have powered the market. Companies have found near-unlimited uses for custom labels and stickers over the past few years, and Lightning Labels has been there for them every step of the way. With new equipment in place, the company is ready for the next stage in the market's evolution.

    Benefits of In-House Printing

    Purchasing another custom label printer for its own facility represents a conscious choice by Lightning Labels to focus on serving its clients directly, without contracting the printing itself to a third party. By scaling up its in-house production instead of outsourcing, Lightning Labels is able to offer its signature quick turnaround times. Contracting another printer can also increase shipping costs. To better serve its clients, Lightning Labels prints all its products itself, in U.S.-based facilities.

    Companies Choosing Digital

    The new custom sticker printer is a top-of-the-line digital press. The many advantages of working with a digital-only printing partner have become clear to companies over the past few years, and the latest hardware addition will ensure that many more clients can experience these advantages in the months and years ahead.

    When working with traditional four-color printing, companies typically face many more expenses. The use of old-fashioned presses entails the creation of plates and hardware setup processes. Offsetting these costs may involve upping minimum order sizes. Any company looking for small or medium orders of labels may find traditional printing isn't feasible. Add this to the high resolution possible with today's digital hardware and the ability to add custom touches to labels in a single print run and the choice is clear.

    Customer Service Also On The Rise

    Helping more customers isn't just about having the hardware for the job. Lightning Labels has also added to its customer care teams to ensure that every account holder has a great experience. More employees have joined the customer service section in recent months. In the sales department, a whole new team has emerged to make outbound sales. Lightning Labels is proud of its top-quality hardware, but it is people who really make a business, and customers will be happy to engage with these newly expanded teams.

    Ready for What's Next

    Every season brings another reason to use custom stickers and labels. Companies, organizations and even individuals interested in ordering these products can indulge their creativity quickly and affordably by working with Lightning Labels. Equipped with a top-quality label printer, Lightning Labels can become the partner these creators need, turning around orders in lightning-fast times and providing the type of flexibility and cost-effectiveness that can't be matched by printers that have not fully embraced digital processes. Whether for a special even, a seasonal promotion or as a permanent face of a product line, labels and stickers can be just the thing to add visual interest.

  • General Mills Sued For Mislabeling Products As 'Natural'

    Lawsuits Filed Against General Mills
    As we have learned time and time again from high-profile lawsuits, consumers take the accuracy of product labels very seriously. And this is something that General Mills seems to be learning as well now. According to The Hill, three consumer groups (Beyond Pesticides, Organic Consumers Association and Moms Across America) have filed a lawsuit against the organization for allegedly misleading the public into thinking its Nature Valley granola bar products were made using 'natural' ingredients. 

    The claim was filed under the District of Columbia's Consumer Protection Procedures Act with the Richman Law Group, arguing that the product label statements are misleading because it indicates that the item was made entirely with natural whole grain oats. The source went on to explain that, in the complaint, the consumer groups said, "The oat products at issue are not 'made with 100 percent Natural whole grain oats,' but instead the oats contain the chemical glyphosate, a potent biocide and human endocrine disruptor, with detrimental health effects that are still becoming known."

    This event is just one example of the controversy plaguing many food and beverage companies today, particularly in regard to their product labeling and marketing. While many organizations want to appeal to health-conscious consumers, making false or deceptive claims on packaging can have severe consequences. More specifically, many label advocates insist that these marketers purposefully use terminology and phrases that confuse the buyer into believing the item they are purchasing is healthier than it actually is. 

    "We stand behind our products and the accuracy of our labels," General Mills told The Hill in a statement.

    Defining Natural for Better Product Labeling
    Given the increased consumer demand for more accurate and honest labeling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced plans to develop a better definition of the term "natural," as well as implement stricter guidelines and requirements for food companies using it on product labels and packaging. 

    Earlier this year, the FDA extended its effort to the public. Although the commentary forum closed in May, the agency had asked for direct feedback, input and comments from consumers about the use of the term on human food products, such as whether or not they think it should be defined, if it should be, then how, as well as how the organization should go about deciding when it is and isn't appropriate to use the term on food labels. 

    Although no official updates have been made, it is likely that the FDA will only continue to face increasing pressure to develop stricter, clearer guidelines on the matter, especially with such high-profile lawsuits against major, well-known food and beverage brands continuing to emerge. Until then, companies should be extremely careful about using such phrases or buzzwords when creating custom food labels, as making any false claims can have legal ramifications and lead to reputation damage. To err on the safe side, sellers and marketers should ensure that every piece of information they include on packaging materials is 100 percent verifiable. 

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