Category Archives: Branding

A Brief Look into Private Label

With the PLMA’s 2011 Private Label Trade Show fast approaching, I got to thinking about what the term Private Label really means and how it is taking over the Consumer Products industry.

Private label refers to products or services that are manufactured by a company to be sold under another company’s brand name. This term stretches across multiple industries, from food to vitamins to home care products. For the most part the consumer is unaware who is manufacturing the products they buy and in turn unaware that they are buying a private label product.

The most frequent way in which a consumer will have contact with private label products is at the store brand level. For many years retailers have used private label to identify a brand with a store.  Take Walgreens for example. The Walgreens brand of products are now sitting right next to the big name national brands. Consumers have come to associate the store brand product as a “knock off” or lower cost item.

What was once known as the “cheap” product; now exceeds 50% market share in some product categories. While that number might be a reflection of our economic status the past few years, it is also a reflection of how private label companies have stepped up their game to compete with the leading nationally advertised brands. Private Label used to be associated with drab simple product packaging, but it has since evolved to having better graphics and brighter colors. Now, when you look on a store shelf the only thing separating the national brand from the store brand is the name and price.

There is still a stigma that exists that the store brand is a cheaper or weaker product. I guess that means that the national brands’ advertising dollars have been well spent. However, if you take the time to sift through the ads and actually look at the product ingredients you will find that a lot of times they are exactly the same as the national brand.

Consumers have gotten a lot smarter about what they purchase. They are taking the time to compare products and research what they are buying. Store brands have also gotten smarter. They are realizing they need to step up and compete with national brands. Their product packaging also needs to stand out on store shelves. With this combination I think the private label industry can close the gap from the 25% market share that they now have to the 58% market share that consumers state they would consider spending.


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Filed under Branding, Packaging, product labels

Stand Out Among the Clutter!

Today’s market is all about choices and at times it can be a little overwhelming for the consumer. Markers have to work harder than ever before to make sure their product is standing out on store shelves. Brad Hanna discusses this in his recent blog, Private Label Food Marketer: Too Much Choice. He talks about the shift from consumers comparing products on store shelves to buying the first brand they actively consider. He writes, “It’s necessary to engage in more intensive behavioral research and attention to brand architecture and packaging detail.” He goes on to write, “In an age of too much choice, the manufacturer needs to do the front-end work in packaging design and brand architecture to visually dominate, simplify the shopping experience and emotionally connect with shoppers.”

In a world of choices, it’s all about which product can be the first to grab the consumer’s attention.  The packaging of a product must be able to make a connection with the consumer and stop them when moving through the store aisle. Take for example, lip balm. There are numerous varieties in numerous shapes and colors. How do you make your lip balm stand out from the rest of the competition?

Recently Burt’s Bees answered this question with the launch of their new packaging design for their tinted lip balm. The outside packaging consists of a cardboard tube made from completely recycled materials. When you slide the tube open, the tinted lip balm sits inside of it. Not only does the packaging catch your eye when sitting on the store shelf, it differentiates the tinted lip balm from its other products as well as the products of its competitors. Burt’s Bees added value to their lip balm by making the packaging unique.

The outside of the tube has a clean design and the inside tube tells the consumer what the color is going to look like. The extra packaging allows for more text and advertising space for the brand. Since the outside packaging is bigger than the other lip balms, it easily differentiates itself from the competition. This difference in packaging immediately draws in the eye of the consumer. In a market where a product only has mere seconds to catch the consumer, Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm does the job right. It reminds us of the importance of standing out in a store full of choices.

What would you do to make your product stand out?

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Filed under Branding, Packaging, product labels

Digital Makes The Difference

The 21st century has become known as the digital age. Computers are no longer a luxury, but a necessity and considered vital to businesses as well as individuals. Digital is how we communicate, how we take our pictures, how we watch T.V. and at Vibrant Graphics, it is how we print.  Vibrant Graphics has always been a solely digital printer. We are on the forefront of the digital trend and fully aware of the many advantages that digital printing has over traditional flexographic printing.

We also recognize that there are still certain jobs that are more appropriate for flexographic printing and if we feel you are bringing in this type of job, we will definitely tell you that. However, when it comes to printing high-quality customized labels; digital printing is your best option.  If your labels will not be used at the retail level, then high quality is probably not your top priority and flexo may be a better option.  Also, if you need to order in extremely large quantities then flexo may be a better option for you in this case as well.

The difference between flexographic and digital printing can be summed up in one word, plates. Digital printing does not involve any plates; instead it receives its images from a database. This results in lower minimums and a less expensive and quicker turn-around time. It also allows for printing on demand. While the set up time for flexographic takes several hours, the set up time for digital can take as little as several minutes, which means we can turn jobs around in just a few short days.

Digital printing also allows for more customized labels, or variable-data printing. With this technology, every label could be different, seasonal labels could be created easily and deciding to change your brand could be a simple decision. Variable-data printing means that things such as text, colors, images and graphics can be changed from one printed label to the next. Digital printing makes this possible without stopping or slowing down the printing process because it uses information from a database.

The flexibility to have custom labels is among one of the biggest advantages digital printing has over flexographic. Whether you are printing 100 labels or 25,000 labels, each one can be different. This is something that flexo simply cannot offer. When printing digitally, every label could have a different barcode, different name or different date.

Besides flexibility another huge advantage digital has over flexo is quality. Digitally printed labels are produced with a higher line-screen than labels that are printed flexographic. A digital printing press can print 230 lines, whereas a flexographic label press can only print at 133 or 150 lines. This difference in line-screen equates to a big difference in the color, detail and clarity of the label. This is what makes our labels Vibrant.  Digitally printed labels are always produced using a 4-color process. This allows our customers to submit artwork using photos or multiple colors.

Along with these color and photo options, digital printing can give you press proofing and sample proofing directly onto your requested material, so you know in advance exactly how the final product will look. We can also quickly provide small sample prototypes to help you bring your next big idea to life. If you’re unsure of how the photo will look on your product label, we can show you in advance so you don’t have to wonder if you will be happy with the end result.

If you want your labels to stand out and want your product to be a ‘shelf talker,’ then digital printing is your best option. Below is a recap of the advantages digital printing has over flexo.

  • Lower minimums
  • Higher quality
  • Quicker turn-around time
  • Flexibility
  • Variable-data printing
  • Sample proofing
  • Easily handles multiple SKUs

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Filed under Branding, Digital Printing, Vibrant Graphics

Vibrant Graphics Introduces “The Vibrant-Way”

Here at Vibrant Graphics, we came up with a new slogan for the way we do business! “The Vibrant-way” can be summarized with four key words – streamlined, unique, consistent and durable.

  • Streamlined – Digital printing gives you brilliant results without the cost of plates or set-up waste.
  • Unique – Vibrant images that are 100% variable – each label can be different.
  • Consistent – Accurate color matching. Each time. Every time.
  • Durable – Laminated construction gives your product long-lasting appeal.

We are excited to bring “the Vibrant-way” to our customers because it is so consistently accurate, that we are able to provide  product on time and on budget. Each time. Every time.

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Vibrant Graphics is offering a new service and special promotion!

With the recent increase of demands, Vibrant Graphics is proud to introduce a new service that will help you connect even closer with your customers! We are now able to create Microsoft Tags (MS Tags) and Quick Response (QR) Codes to be placed within your product labels! For more information on how to ‘read’ MS Tags and how they can help you, click here.
 We’ll give you a hint what this says….
Let Vibrant know that you saw this post or mentioned this tag, and receive a special promotion! 
Send us your product label’s logo or artwork, along with material requirements, and we’ll send you customized, digitally printed labels at no cost to you!  For more information or to request a customized label, contact:  





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Filed under alternative packaging, Branding, Digital Printing, In-Mold Labeling, Packaging, Uncategorized

Three Major Branding Blunders

Three Major Branding Blunders (And what your company can learn from them)

 1)      Seattle’s Best

Starbucks acquired the “Seattle’s Best Coffee” in 2003, and just last year they decided to rebrand Seattle’s Best Coffee to a “simpler, more contemporary logo.” Specifically, creators wanted to put a modern spin on the brand and turn it into a more universally appealing symbol.  

 Simpler is usually better, except in this case.  After just one week after the new brand launched, 68% of over 200 respondents said Seattle’s Best should try again.  Respondents’ feedback went something like this: “People have classified this new logo as looking like a bowl of cereal filled with tears, or even worse, a blood donation center.” 

 Seattle’s Best got one thing right, though.  They really got the public with their rebranding efforts.  Seattle’s best realized rebranding is more than just sending out a press release, it is interacting with people and showing people what you and your brand are all about. 

 “To re-launch the Seattle’s Best Coffee brand in some of their biggest markets, Seattle and Portland, they placed big red refrigerators throughout the cities filled with ice-cold lattes and mochas. Genius! This simple idea has caused a buzz both online and off. It also shows the public that just because your look has changed, your great taste and price hasn’t changed.”  (  In the end, Seattle’s Best had loyal customers stay with them, because the price remained the same and the coffee had the same great taste.  I believe this is in part due to the great marketing efforts and ‘gorilla advertising’ during the rebranding transition.           

 2)      The New Coke

This is a case where the product taste didn’t remain the same.  The second brand with a blunder is Coca-Cola, or should I say the “New” Coke?  What we can learn from this brand blunder: if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

 In 1985, Coca-Cola released a major failure of reinvention. “A small minority, about 10-12%, felt angry and alienated at the very thought, saying that they might stop drinking Coke altogether.” 

 People actually developed an emotional attachment to the look, feel, and taste of the brand.  People missed the old brand so much, Coca-Cola decided to reinitiate the ‘old’ taste and style.   Something we can all take away from this is: be informative and listen to your consumer’s feedback.  During the focus group, “participants liked the taste of New Coke, but were NOT told old would disappear.”  (  Perhaps if Coca Cola disclosed such a pivotal piece of information, the product would never have been close to committing brand-suicide.  Needless to say, Coke reverted back to the old formula which is now ‘Coke Classic’.

 Coca-Cola (Coke Classic) is in the lead today though, being within the top five brands on Facebook! 

 3)      Tropicana

You haven’t really seen a Tropicana advertisement, have you?  Me either.  Yet, we all know the Tropicana box, with the straw-in-orange logo.  That wasn’t always their logo though – At one point Tropicana shied away from the traditional orange with a straw in it.  This new brand looks like something you would buy generic, at a dollar store (but the price was definitely NOT lower)!  Consumers stated that if the price would have been lower, they may have transitioned easier in adapting to the new rebrand.

 With Tropicana having such a great brand identity and logo that is instantly recognizable (even without the Tropicana name), it does not make sense why Tropicana would rebrand.  In rebranding, Tropicana lost a tremendous amount of brand equity.  I know a number of people who were not able to find Tropicana in grocery stores due to the change in trade dress.   Many described the branding efforts as “making it more difficult to distinguish among the varieties of Tropicana, or differentiate itself from other orange juices.”  ( For example, with the new all-over orange color, customers find it difficult to pick out the “heart healthy” orange juice, since the text is hidden by the bright color. 

 This obviously changed the performance of the brand power, and resulted in loss of equity.  After the package redesign, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line plummeted 20% between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, costing the brand tens of millions of dollars ( Shortly after, Tropicana ditched the new design.

 There is a lurking trend that these re-brands above have in common:  the corporations behind them underestimated the emotional attachment consumers had with the original packaging.  For instance, think of how we have all come to know and love the Coca-Cola bear and Coca-Cola Santa holiday promotions.  They are near and dear to our hearts.  IF you choose to rebrand, you must do the research and discover what your customer’s needs really are.  Lastly, re-affirm to the public that your new brand is of the same impeccable quality and value.

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Filed under Branding, Customer Service, Digital Media, Packaging, Vibrant Graphics