Labels Do Help with Product Differentiation and Branding

Published on May 21, 2023

Four green apples with one red apple in the middle with a basket below them

A good package design has become essential to market and sell products in the modern age properly. On the one hand, you have all the label requirements mandated by the government, and on the other, there is the need to set your product apart from the competition. But how do package labels help in product differentiation and branding? Does it even matter all that much? 

The quality of your label designs can mark the difference between a winning product and one that is forgotten on the store shelves. For many buyers, your packaging is the first way they interact with your product. As such, the messaging on your product labels greatly impacts your branding. Here are all the ways that labels help with product differentiation and branding. Let’s get started.

Visual-Text Synergy

Package labels can create branding and marketing value for products in two major ways: the overall visual design and the text components. It is difficult to point out which one of them is more important. While the visual design will form the first impression that your product has on the customer, the text components will help you identify your product’s stance in the market and as a brand. You must utilize both these aspects carefully to get the full benefit of your label design. 

Brand Personality

The first thing that your product label can do is showcase your brand personality. It refers to the visual language you use to design the packaging. To dig down into the particulars, you want to choose an appropriate visual style, use colors that compliment the product type, and use distinctive typography that complements the rest of the visual elements. 

Products aimed at teenagers may often use loud and highly involved visual styles. Meanwhile, companies that rely on a long history or want to present focus on elegance and class will tend to use minimalistic designs. You can also choose from many visual aesthetics. For example, the Americana style works well for liquors and tobacco products. Feminine products typically go for elaborate, elegant designs. Craft beers famously use bright, quirky designs to appeal to a young adult audience base. 

These carefully curated design choices immediately bring a sense of identity to the product. Potential customers considering buying a bottle of hot sauce branded with huge skulls know they are in for an adventure. 

This effect further extends to the branding copy you use in the label. Is the product description written in lofty, dignified language? Or does it have a trendy, conversational voice? These choices also communicate essential information about the brand. 

Product Differentiation from Competitors

The label also helps the product stand out from its competitors. A customer will first notice the colors and the visual design, adding uniqueness to your product. If they examine the product further, they first want to examine its name and any company logo. A good typographical design for the product name will stand out to the buyer and help set you apart from your competitors in their minds. 

Suppose your product has a unique offering like a proprietary process, a unique ingredient, or a different back story. In that case, these elements will also effectively set your product apart. These elements should also be in your package label, as they do for countless other global and local brands.  So you can use a creative eye-catchy design with attractive images and fonts to get a competitive advantage.

Clarity in Market Positioning

The visual design ticks most of the marketing and branding checklist boxes. It includes signaling the customer base to which the product is targeted. Furthermore, the package label is a blank canvas that can be utilized in many imaginative ways to achieve your branding goals. You can even appeal to specific customer types if you want. It can connect to more elaborate brand identities. 

For example, if your unique offering is that your product is made through a fully sustainable process, you can and should focus on that message through your product label. After all, not everyone who happens upon your product will have heard of your company’s background. Subtle visual cues and overt written messaging can go a long way in helping your product generate appeal among customers who are similarly concerned about environmental sustainability as you. 

Brand Recognition

If you have successfully achieved a label design that communicates a cohesive brand identity, then brand recognition among customers is the natural thing to follow. A more clever way to do it is to find design elements that no one in the sector has, like a unique color that becomes synonymous with your brand.

The best example is the automobile industry: Kawasaki famously uses a unique shade of lime green patented as ‘Kawasaki Racing Green’. Over the years, this brand identity has become so solidified that motorcycling enthusiasts can recognize the color from a mile away. 

Customers’ Trust

The value of your brand is directly proportional to the trust your customers have in it. Over time, as you gain customers’ trust, you should expect a three-way relationship to develop between your brand, credibility, and visual brand. As long as you maintain a consistent, cohesive product label design, your customers will eventually learn to associate their trust in your brand with that design. It is a very powerful emotional motivator and is sure to help you in your company’s longevity.

Package labeling is an unavoidable part of product design and sales deeply tied to branding. The two key aspects of label design, visuals, and text, have an all-pervading effect on the different aspects of branding, from helping establish your brand identity to helping product differentiation in the market. 

Suppose you’ve been inclined to sideline the packaging design of your cherished product. In that case, you should recognize that package labels are a major opportunity that you can leverage to boost your product branding. Ultimately, a good package label can be a major support for establishing your product in its early days and help ensure your product brand has a long lifetime.