We recently hosted a webinar with Unilever titled Getting Smart About SmartLabel. Our goal was to share all of the great learnings we gleaned from the launch of the Hellmann’s brand SmartLabel pages. Label Insight Chief Customer Officer Ronak Sheth co-hosted the webinar with Unilever Brand Manager Tracy Shepard-Rashkin. In the spirit of transparency, both shared open, honest feedback about the things that worked, and where bumps in the road arose.
Whether you joined the webinar in real-time or are just tuning in now, everyone will benefit from a quick review of four key SmartLabel learnings Unilever shared.
1) The Devil is in the Details
When the GMA developed SmartLabel, the association had to create specifications that would work across product categories -- from ground beef to soda to mayonnaise. As a result, SmartLabel specifications don’t always align with how a brand talks about or lists its ingredients or claims. These small details can create big waves as the brand seeks a solution that will work internally and comply with the SmartLabel spec.
2) Get Complete Internal Alignment on All Pieces of Data
A brand’s legal and regulatory teams will scrutinize SmartLabel pages just as much as they do physical product packaging. This means all functions need to work together from the start and agree upon the product information that will be presented on SmartLabel pages. Similar to when brands refresh their packaging, an initiative like SmartLabel will likely spark conversations around how a brand talks about its ingredients and benefits, especially when you begin discussing off-package claims. Be sure all teams are represented from the outset to maintain alignment and efficiency.
3) Determine Resources
SmartLabel is a big undertaking, so be realistic about the resources needed across functions, including regulatory, legal, R&D and marketing. As Unilever’s Tracy Shepard-Rashkin stated, “You’re essentially kicking off a project as big as an artwork refresh for every product in your portfolio. Resource appropriately and treat it like a project of that magnitude.”
4) Assess Your Capabilities to Compile All of the Needed Product Information
Many CPG companies lack a database of granular product information, as well as an API that can directly feed product data into SmartLabel pages. Unilever quickly discovered its product data was “locked” within product packaging artwork files (e.g., JPG and PDF files). For Unilever, working with Label Insight enabled the company to quickly and accurately digitize its product data directly from packaging artwork files. Then, using the Label Insight API, this data was sent directly to SmartLabel landing pages, speeding up its time to market.
Hellmann’s integrates its SmartLabel pages into the brand website, creating a seamless experience for visitors seeking product information.