Containers being labeled with a rebranded logo.

How Do Product Labels Fit Into Your Rebrand Rollout Plan?

A successful rebrand affects nearly every aspect of your business, from your brand guidelines and how you advertise to how customer representatives greet customers over the phone.

Where do your product labels fall in your rebranding strategy? While new graphics are a given, you may need to consider the labels themselves, too. Do you need to adopt new containers? Should you try new shapes or patterns? Can you use the same equipment, or do you need to rethink your labeling system? With a rebrand rollout plan, you need to think far enough ahead to have everything in place for your launch!

Rebranding: More Than Graphics

The rebranding process covers more than changes to style guides, new names on sales materials, and a new logo on your product labels. Brand rollout is a monumental task; it covers every aspect of how you present your company and your brand.

A rebranding plan needs to cover all touchpoints, including your product labels, delivery vehicles,signage, business cards, marketing materials, and anything else that represents your company. Timing can make a huge impact when adjusting to a new brand identity.

A brand change must consider both internal and external audiences. When you build a brand, you aren’t just influencing customers. You’re also influencing investors and stakeholders, employees, business partners, and the media.

Work starts with your employees, getting buy-in from the internal team, and keeping messaging consistent. This is referred to as the internal launch.

From there, the new branding needs to be introduced to key partners and customers first. This keeps them in the loop and helps you identify problems before the full public launch. Once all the pieces are in place, the new branding can be rolled out to the public. At each stage, announcements (via news outlets or social media platforms) should focus on the benefit the change has for the parties involved, whether it’s better products for consumers or better sales for retailers.

Press releases and social media posts (even teasers) from influencers and brand ambassadors should be part of the new brand strategy to reach target audiences when it’s time for the new brand launch date. This introduces the change before the old brand is gone completely.

Rebranding in Practice: The Turnaround of Lego

Despite making one of the most successful toys in history, Lego nearly went out of business in the early 2000s. The company’s executives came up with what is arguably the most successful rebranding strategy in modern history, transforming it into a manufacturer with profitability that rivals top software companies.

When the patent for LEGO bricks expired in 1988, the company believed its main product line would fail. Even if they weren’t beaten by direct competition from other companies, there was an increased interest in emerging digital technology, especially video games. They went headlong into developing alternative products, diluting the brand. By 2003, it was clear this strategy was failing, and the company would soon default on its debts. Lego’s leadership decided to restructure and refocus solely on brick toys.

This rebranding plan had six main points:

    1. Establish an assessment system for retail performance.
    2. Reduce the number of SKUs, which doubled between 1997 and 2002.
    3. Shift focus toward profitability and away from total sales.
    4. Pay more attention to adult fans.
    5. Cut down branding to core lines and licensed properties.
    6. Overhaul logistics so that retailers would always have a supply of the model kits they needed.

Putting the Plan In Action

Lego dropped most of its activities outside of play set manufacturing and trimmed down its product lines, leaving six clear divisions across three age groups. Those lines also separated licenses, helping create a path from pure fantasy for young children to reality for adults. While Bob the Builder was immensely successful for the relaunched Duplo line and Harry Potter for their main childhood lines, branding was absent from the teen and adult-focused Technic and Mindstorm lines.

Clear delineations that focused exclusively on the company’s brick-based toys reduced overhead and increased profitability. It also made it easier for customers to find the products they wanted and retailers to choose which lines to carry for their clientele. Lego’s rebranding efforts paid off: In just three years, Lego was making a profit. By 2013, their sales revenues had more than quadrupled. Now Lego is a template for the right way to rebrand while keeping your brand values.

What Does Your Packaging Say About Your Brand?

When Lego enacted its turnaround plan, they kept the same logo to maintain their visual identity. However, they cut down on the number of lines and brought back earlier brand assets. Rebranding is often a matter of shifting markets, changing focus, or updating appearances to meet current trends. While one brand may want cutting-edge graphics to stay current with the times, another may bring back past graphics to establish its history.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are design trends across several industries. Designs are retreating from the simplification of the 2010s and embracing complex, vintage designs and fonts. In this case, “vintage” covers several past styles, including the bright colors of the early 2000s, the bold text of the 1910s, and characters styled after 1920s cartoons. Today’s trends also include labels with multiple finishes and die-cutting to create unique label shapes.

There’s also an increasing emphasis on eco-friendly packaging. More companies are moving away from glass and plastic bottles toward aluminum cans (and from plastic to cardboard containers). As online ordering continues to grow, companies are trying to reduce the impact of shipping by using lighter, more space-efficient containers — requiring changes in label application.

Where Do My Labels Fit Into My Rebranding Plan?

The biggest benefit of pressure-applied labels is flexibility. Each label has several layers of adhesives, inks, and coatings that can adjust to fit any application. If you’re following current design trends, here are three major considerations for your new designs:

    • Which adhesives are compatible with new container materials?
    • Which inks and finishes will help your products pop on the shelf?
    • Should you adopt die-cut labels or stick with rectangular labels?

Since the application depends on the label, you can typically use your old labeling equipment (if you’re using the same container shapes). Even if you change label formats, the update may only require a few upgrades to your equipment — instead of outright replacement. For example, our wine bottle labeler supports several bottle diameters with both wrap and front/back labeling. That means you can change your bottles to fit different markets or change how labels are applied, adding flexibility to your designs. Likewise, the print engines in our print-and-apply labelers support a wide range of label sizes. You can change what is printed and where by editing the existing label formats sent to the print engine.

We Can Help You Get the Look You Want for Your Revised Product Line

A rebrand rollout plan is a huge undertaking, requiring changes to the look of your brand and marketing efforts across your business. But, partnering with CTM Labeling Systems will make your packaging changes easier! 

Contact us to be put in touch with a local distributor who can assess your individual needs and work with you to create a labeling solution that fits your new (or relaunched) product lines.