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Kira Karapetian

By: Kira Karapetian on April 19th, 2016

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Your Top 5 SmartLabel Questions Answered



Implementing SmartLabel is no small task for a company. A lot of questions are asked as a brand decides if and how it will participate in this transparency initiative. Do we start with one product, or go live with all products? What product information is most important to consumers? How will we gather this information?

During our time helping brands implement SmartLabel we’ve heard all these questions and more. That’s why we recently hosted a webinar with Unilever aimed at sharing what we learned from the launch of the Hellmann’s brand SmartLabel pages. During the webinar we answered some of the big questions all brands grapple with. Here are the answers Label Insight Chief Customer Officer Ronak Sheth and Unilever Brand Manager Tracy Shepard-Rashkin shared.

Do we build it or buy it?
This is a big one. Do you build a solution internally? Or do you partner with a solution provider? The answer is different for every company, but to help guide your decision making we recommend considering these factors:

  • Go-to-market speed: How quickly do you want to bring SmartLabel to market for your products? If speed is critical, then a third-party partner may be the right choice. At Label Insight, our SmartSPEC for SmartLabel solution helps brands go live with SmartLabel landing pages in as little as 24 hours from the time product packaging images are submitted to our platform.
  • Internal data resources: Do you have the bandwidth and capabilities to capture, analyze and store the data you want to include on your SmartLabel pages? If a database doesn’t already exist or information gathering will require manual entry, then be prepared to dedicate a lot of time and resources to this process. If you’re starting from scratch or have a desire to move quickly, a partner like Label Insight can make the process quick and simple.
  • Internal development resources: Do you have internal talent you can tap to build your SmartLabel landing pages according to the GMA’s specifications? And, once developed, do you have the resources to host and maintain these pages?

As Unilever’s Tracy Shepard-Rashkin stated during the webinar, “In our case, our top consideration was speed. It was really important to us to get SmartLabel pages up and running as soon as possible. So building our own database and SmartLabel landing pages was much less attractive than partnering with Label Insight.”

I’m not ready to run. Is there a crawl or walk approach to SmartLabel?
The simple answer is yes. Brands should approach SmartLabel -- and transparency, in general -- at a speed that works for them. At Label Insight, we think about transparency as an index. We help brands identify where they are on the index, where they want to be, and the steps needed to get there. If you think about this in the context of SmartLabel, a slower pace may mean going live with mandatory attributes only. Then, over time, you can add voluntary attributes.

No matter your pace, movement along the continuum creates benefits for your consumers. “One of the great values of SmartLabel is that if you just do mandatory attributes it’s still a value to consumers because it organizes package info in a consistent way,” said Shepard-Rashkin.

What’s the big deal about sharing off-package information, anyway?
Product packaging falls short of answering a lot of questions that consumers may have. Like what, you ask? For starters, labels often don’t say what’s not in a product, such as “no added sugars” or “no artificial colors and preservatives.” This information is really important to a lot of people, especially those in the restricted diet community, including those with allergies or those on a sodium-restricted diet. In fact, Label Insight research shows that this community is generating the greatest demand for product transparency. With SmartLabel, a brand can share a more complete story on each of its product landing pages that helps consumers make better purchase decisions.

(Label Insight co-founder Anton Xavier talks about why going beyond the label is smart in this recent post.)

Will SmartLabel really differentiate my brand?
Yes, yes and yes. SmartLabel enables brands to better tell their stories -- to share information that truly matters and is impactful. Unilever discovered this while developing its Hellmann’s mayonnaise SmartLabel pages. “On a package, all soybean oil looks the same. But on SmartLabel you learn that our soybean oil comes from the U.S….it comes from Iowa...and is on a sustainable journey,” said Shepard-Rashkin. “This is a really powerful differentiating tool while still showing everything in a consistent manner to make consumers’ lives easier.”

If you ask us, the question isn’t if SmartLabel will differentiate your product; it's how.

How will I drive traffic to my SmartLabel landing pages?
Integrate. Integrate. Integrate. SmartLabel landing pages should integrate with your brand’s overall digital presence. Think about how consumers search for your products online, how they use your brand website, what attributes matter most to them. These factors should guide your digital strategy.

If you’re in a position to update your packaging, adding QR codes that drive to your SmartLabel landing pages is an option. Label Insight recently partnered with mobile engagement platform ScanBuy to help brands implement QR code technology for SmartLabel.

Still have questions about SmartLabel? We’d love to answer them. Schedule a call today to learn more, see how our SmartSPEC solution works and receive a free SmartLabel Readiness Assessment.

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