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2 Product Labeling Mistakes You Should Avoid Making

Are you thinking about ditching those old bottle labels and updating your product's look? Before you sit down with your graphic designer and start testing slogans, you should consider the fact that altering your label incorrectly could cause problems in the long run. Here are two product labeling mistakes you should avoid making and why:

1: Skipping the QR Code

Your marketing manager might love the idea of adding QR codes to your bottle labels, but you might wonder how much good they will really do. QR codes, which contain a square-shaped dot pattern that can be read by a smart phone or tablet, can be linked to a URL to show a commercial, an informational video, or even a fun social media page.

Although you might assume that nobody would actually scan that code, research has shown otherwise. In fact, one study showed that roughly half of all smart phone owners use their devices during their normal shopping trips. Since QR codes also contain vital information about the product type, about 56% of customers use them to compare prices between stores, and 46% of customers use that code to check for coupons. Unfortunately, if you don't offer a QR code in the first place, your customers might not be able to take full advantage of your advertising or your specials.

If you are worried about QR codes interfering with your design, you shouldn't be. Believe it or not, the code doesn't have to be black and white to be visible to a computerized scanner. Your graphic designer can blend that QR code into a colored background so that it will stay inconspicuous—while being easy for your tech savvy customers to find.

2: Losing the Message in Translation

That funny slogan might be a great addition to your product in the States, but if you aren't careful, your message might get lost in translation when you redesign your bottle label for a foreign market. Because each language has its own set of colloquialisms, translating a phrase directly might land you in hot water—or make your product the punch line of a few jokes abroad.

For example, one famous fried chicken franchise based out of the United States made the mistake of mistranslating their slogan "Finger-Lickin' Good" when they opened a new franchise in China. Because they translated the text directly instead of developing a language-appropriate motto, the slogan translated literally to "Eat Your Fingers Off"—a statement that didn't bode well with the Chinese. A large bank had to rebrand its entire marketing campaign in 2009 after their message of "Assume Nothing" translated to "Do Nothing" in many foreign languages. After all, who would want to work with a lender whose motto is "Do Nothing?"

To avoid translation blunders, hire an international business consultant to check your bottle label designs beforehand. Ask if your text has any unintentional meanings within the translated language and don't forget to check every part of the label. Also, ask your consultant whether or not the images you plan to use are appropriate for the culture. Some countries are much more conservative than others, which could disrupt sales. For example, some Middle Eastern countries object to any advertising that shows women not wearing traditional burqas to cover their bodies.

If you really want to stay on the safe side, test the market in your target nation before you roll out a full-scale campaign. Ask foreign customers to review your products to get a feel for their perception. It might seem like a hassle, but it could help you to develop a strong foothold in a new territory.

By taking the time to design a great bottle label, you might be able to protect your reputation and appeal to new customers. Check out a site like to get more information on designing custom labels for your product.