U.S. and European regulatory bodies are handing brand owners a prime opportunity to grow their brands. Yes, regulations in force in Europe and pending in the U.S. do mean more work for brands: privately, major brands have told us that as many as a quarter of their U.S. labels will need complete redesign if current FDA proposals become a reality in the next 12 to 18 months.
This would be costly news if the mandates didn’t also present a golden opportunity for manufacturers and brands to radically improve package design, brand consistency, label accuracy and production efficiency on both the physical and digital shelf.
Here’s how to achieve that accuracy:
1. Commitment. Commit to complete, correct and up-to-date packaging whenever your brand appears – on the digital shelf as well as on the physical shelf. This usually requires and in-house advocate with buy-in at the top levels.
2. Audit. Be sure to thoroughly check your brand’s e-commerce images across online retailers and product review sites. If you’re seeing a mix of 2D and 3D images, different angles, different lightings and color, missing information and outdated images, you’re eroding consumer confidence. And just as important - opening yourself up to regulatory issues.
3. Organization. Inside many companies there is open no single person accountable for packaging e-content. It’s split by brand and among individuals in different departments as well as among external suppliers. Brand managers have a clearly define supply chain process to ensure the package on the physical shelf is right and ready on time. But without a similarly unified strategy for packaging e-content development, its hard to control a brand’s timely and accurate representation on the digital shelf.
4. Technology. Even assuming brand owners using a digital asset library, they often don’t have 3D images of packages or multiple 2D panel shots depicting product information. And if they do, it’s usually been created through a conventional photography process that can eat up six to eight weeks, costs more, produces fewer images and opens up this part of the supply chain to risk. And this happens every time a design is refreshed or ingredients change or a new packaging regulation requires compliance. It’s a vicious cycle.
Approved artwork is applied to a 3D wireframe of the package, which can be made directly from client-supplied CAD files or created from a physical sample using 3D scanning technology. Multiple packaging views can then be created that provide customers with a clear view of all labeling information – such as ingredients, nutrition and allergens – exactly as they appear on the physical package.
5. Process. It’s crucial to develop digital brand content in tight integration with the same workflows used to create and manage artwork for the physical shelf. This requires synchronization among brand teams, design departments, marketing services, procurement and more. It’s a process that we at Schawk help our clients implement. This creates e-commerce images directly from the final, approved master artwork file for the physical package – including complete views of all required informational elements. This way, the product on the digital shelf is never preliminary, incomplete or untrustworthy.
By synchronizing workflows, brands can created a stronger shopper experience by ensuring that regardless of where consumers come across your brand, in-store or online, the packaging is consistent.