Etzel, Walker and Stanton define a label as part of a product that carries information about the product and the seller. It may be part of a package or a tag attached to the product Kotler states that a label may be a simple tag attached to the product or an elaborately designed graphic on the product package. It may carry only the name or a great deal of information. Labeling is attachment of tag or graphic design to a package.
Types of label
Busch and Houston List types of label as:
Grade libels: Grade labels include the product’s quality. It identifies the quality, class of grade of the product with a letter, number, or word such as A,B, C…. or 1,2,3… For example, “504SL’, ‘504GL’ and ‘504SR’. Another example is that meat may be graded as choice or prime. Canned fruits are graded-labelled A, B, or C.
Descriptive labels: These tell consumers how the product is to be used or maintained. They give objective information about the use, construction, ingredients, care, performance, and method of disposal, usage and other features of the product. For instance, clothing labels might give laundering instructions. Labels on power lawn mowers tell how to safely operate the product.
Brand labels: Brand labels identify the brand itself. They include the brand name, symbol, sign, or some combination of these elements. These labels mention the brand applied to the product or package. For example, LUX (enriched with protein) and LUX (enriched with vitamin E).
According to Bonne and Kuntz, a label in most cases contains brand name and symbol, name and address of the manufacturer or the distributor, product composition and size, safety warning on the use, recommended use and usage of the product and guarantee
Good marketing practice requires that products be offered to customers in serviceable shape and pleasing form. Therefore, labelling plays an important role that can be described basically as “psychological”.
Customers’ expectations: Labelling is used as a promotional tool thus the requirements of all stakeholders in the marketing process have to be considered. Labels for customers vary from country to country based on socio-economic-cultural factors. Customer characteristics should be examined in order to make sound labelling decisions.
Aesthetics: The aesthetics of the label is the first important consideration. The logo, symbols and figures used on it, the words and phrases describing the product, the colour scheme and so on must all be appropriately attuned to the cultural traits of the host country.
Informative: The distribution channels for a product also necessitate that customers should be able to get sufficient information on the product from the label upon picking it up on the shelves. The label on products should as well be very attractive to customers.
Government Regulations on Labels
A good label should show government requirements as regards the product e.g. the expiry date, production date, NAFDAC number, product uses, etc. Government requirements for packaging are mainly related to labelling and marking. Labelling applies to retail packages basically and it is thus intended to provide consumers with essential information on the contents of the package in order to assure them that both the package and its contents conform to the regulations in force within the market.
Colour: The colour mix of a label has a very important effect on the psychology of the buyer. Usually the brighter the colour mix, the more tendency for the product to be of immediate consumption e.g. biscuits, pies, sweet wrappers, etc. Transparent wrappers are mostly used for sea foods that require cooking before consumption or sea colour wrapper to give a first impression as to the product being a sea food. Also the colour mix of labels for products that are not immediate eatables would usually not have bright beautiful colours as their label colour mix rather it would be more of cool and mature colours just to state specific instructions as regards the product and not usually to attract buyers to it. Labels with colour mix containing most of red and orange is seen in some culture to connote strength and excitement in the product while colour like green and blue is seen as freshness of the product. White is decoded as pure and virgin while black is denoted to be mysterious. Thus, understanding of colours is very important in deciding the label of a product.
Quality: Also the quality of the label should not be too expensive to prevent the product from being extremely expensive for the buyers. For some category of buyers, the label can be the point of attraction especially the youth as the label quality, to an extent, gives a hint of the “designer” of the clothes. The label for such clothes states not only the clear instructions but also the composition and the country of manufacture. For more expensive clothes, signature of the maker is given special attention to confirm quality of material used in making the label.
Label change: Changing the label of a product stirs excitement in the consumers resulting in curiosity as to whether the changed label will result in quality change or not. Often times label change excites the consumers of a product and they are elated by these varieties opened to them at various points in time.
In changing label, special attention should be given to the company’s logo and colour of the previous label. These are already embedded in the buyers’ psychology. Thus not seeing them as it were, might create doubt in their minds as to accepting the product with the new label without broad specifications as to the company’s involvement. Label change also comes with the commitment of communicating all relevant changes to the customers and assurance of same product quality or a better quality therein.
Language of the label: The language of a label must be very bold and should be able to communicate to the buyers at a glance. The language should as much as possible cut across the general culture of people predominant in the area
Safety warnings: Safety warnings are necessary on labels of all potentially hazardous products or packages. If a substance is poisonous, the label must tell the user what steps to take if any is ingested and list the antidotes. Labels on aerosol cans warn users against incinerating them or storing them at high temperatures. Plastic garment bags warn users against the danger of suffocation if the bags are misused. Other labelling requirements are:
i. Labels must clearly state composition, contents (ingredients) of the product.
ii. It should include health implications from using the product
iii. It should indicate weights and measures.
iv. For food, label should include nutritional content
v. It should show date of production and expiration (open dating)
vi. It should carry information on the percentage of ingredients used for it
vii. It should show quality level (grade labelling)
Functions of Labels
It identifies the product or brand. David remarks that the most obvious and necessary function of a package label is to identify the product. A complete label also identifies who made the product, where it was made, its ingredients and how it should be used. It grades the product into different quality categories. It is an informational device. Although some goods may be adequately identified by giving the name of the product and seller, most require a somewhat more extensive description of their nature and use. Processed foods, patent drugs, some cosmetics, textiles, and numerous other goods are required by law to . carry fairly complete list of their ingredients. Labels on other products, such as furs, may be required to provide information on their place of origin
Many products must furnish instructions for their use. Commercial plant foods, for example, must explain the amount to be used and the recommended frequency of feedings. Many producers who do not have to furnish instructions for use of their products do so anyway as a way of increasing sales. Manufacturers of many food items provide recipes and serving suggestions on the package.
It describes the product by stating name and address of the maker, manufacturing and expiration dates, usage, safety warning, etc. Many labels are designed to help sell the product. The arrangement of type, the illustrations and the colour are chosen to attract the consumer’s eye, make a package distinctive, and encourage recognition by the consumer, who often views it in the midst of many other products.
Labels as Promotional Devices: Many packages constitute a form of point-of-purchase advertising. Label design is an integral part of this type of on-the-shelf promotion. Distinctive package labels can also be used to advantage in advertising the product through visual media. It promotes product through its attractive graphics.
1. You have learnt in this module about branding, packaging and labelling. Branding is an art or process of giving name to a product to differentiate it from other products of the same company or competitors. Classes of branding include family or multiproduct branding, individual product or multi-brand products, product line family branding, brand extension and trade name or corporate name/product name branding,
2. Branding is used for market segmentation, promotion, differentiation of product, adding value to product, influencing brand choice, creating emotional attachment, etc. Packaging refers to marketing function of designing container or wrapper for products. It is classified into primary, secondary, display and shipping package. Packaging contributes to achievement of marketing objectives by the function it performs. These are protection of product, promotion, distribution, segmentation, and enhancement of product value, identification and many more.
3. Labelling is attachment of tag or graphics to a package. There are three types of labels namely (1) grade label, (2) descriptive labels and (3) brand labels. Label requirements include customers’ expectation, aesthetics, information, meeting government regulations, and colour, make of quality materials, label change, language and safety warning. Label contributes to marketing by helping to identify and differentiate products, provide information, give description and add value.