It is said that consumers will only spend a maximum of 4 seconds looking at packaging before making that crucial decision of whether to buy or not.

The lifetime value of your potential customer hangs in the balance and if they can’t immediately see what you’re selling, why they should buy  your brand over their usual brand and how your brand fits into their life and how they perceive themselves, you’ve lost them.

Take some time to make sure your product label follow these vital rules:

1. Base your design on the brand values and personality

DO NOT EVEN BRIEF A DESIGNER UNTIL YOU KNOW YOUR OWN BRAND. This sounds simple, but it is so often overlooked, especially by   owner managers and start up entrepreneurs who have so many other things to worry about. It may sound frivolous and unnecessary to someone who is sweating about fixing production problems, trying to secure funding and organising distribution but there is a real financial implication when you launch your product with a label that is not based on a strong brand.

2. Stand out

There may be 10’s of thousands of products in the marketplace you’re entering. The worst thing that you can do is to look like them. It may feel safe at the time, but it is the riskiest thing in the world for you. I wonder how many start up brands die of conservatism?

3. Be clear

Say what your selling in a simple and concise way. Use a good graphic image or photo.

4. Be original

Original does not mean whacky, though!

5. Proof, proof, proof

It is amazing what typos slip through, even though the label has been read by designers, printers, your marketing dept. And remember, as the brand owner, you are responsible (great designers are very rarely great spellers). Hire a proof reader if you can, but you still have responsibility. Reading the text backwards and out of context is a good idea to help you to spot errors. Does it matter? I see so many typos these days, especially on social media, I often wonder but I believe that everything you put out there communicates your values as a brand. So if you screw up on your label (or on your Twitter feed etc) then maybe your brand doesn’t care so much about quality, attention to detail and / or your customer’s experience.

6. Don’t skimp

Marketing is an investment that is designed to give you a return. It is not a way to save money. With labelling, we can’t start out with the aim of doing the cheapest thing possible. We have to begin with stating our objectives and thinking about what our brand is about and what is going to motivate our customers. When we have all that right, we can ensure we do that in the most cost effective way.

7. Show the product

Customers want to see what they’re buying. This is especially important with a new brand, before trust has been established.

8. Tell your story

Your story helps to let consumers know what your motive is. Most people I deal with will say at first that their motive in launching a brand is to make money. Factually true but that is like saying your aim in life is to breathe. Explaining why you love what you do, how you got into it, why you’re so good at it etc. again helps to establish that all important trust and helps you to begin a rewarding relationship with your customer.

9. Use a good designer

We are blessed with some of the best design talent there is – use it. Look local first and talk to other businesses about who they have used. Remember that the designer, no matter how good they are, depends on the brief that you give them and that depends on having a great brand strategy worked out first.

10. Check the legals

Run your label past an industry expert or solicitor before print. This is especially important in the food, drink or pharmaceuticals categories, but good for all.

Pink was chosen for Wexford Home Preserves’ honey to make it pop out on the shelf and because no-one else had done it

If you want help in developing your brand and marketing strategy, get in touch with me on 086 129 4859 or at I have over 19 years’ experience working with the biggest and smallest brands in the world