Spring is Coming!
At Rose City Label we know Spring is coming. We have been around since 1928. Our people have seen wars, recessions, assassinations, and 9/11. And now, we have seen COVID-19. All of these tragic events are followed by a rebound and a strong upside. It’s never easy or fun, but we always get through. Learning lessons from the past help us to keep perspective. This post talks about our expectations for the future based on our surviving and thriving after the 2008 financial crisis.
Looking Toward the Future
Once we get back to some form of ‘new normal’ we will be ready to expand and serve even more people. This time – the crisis lock down – won’t last forever. It will end. The way we come out of this to survive and thrive will depend on HOW we use this time. Yes, the uncertainty makes it very difficult to be positive, but the time will pass. Spring follows winter, every year. There is a natural order to things, and we are using our time wisely.
- Cleaning and organizging our shop
- Cross training and exposing areas for future training
- Reaching out to current and new customers
- Updating areas on the website for easier quotes
- Watching our business closely to be ready for the future
Remainder of 2020 – we’ll see what comes
Many have said 2020 is a lost year for their business. Survival is the watchword right now. We can’t argue with that. This is a scary time, but Spring is coming. Part of the new normal may be an appreciation for the business we do have – every customer is a gift to us. Every day we are open and operating, we are thankful. Going to work doesn’t seem as bad as it once did (although it was never really very bad!). People need to be cautious but also optimistic. We can’t sit on our hands and let competition pass us by, but we also can’t be reckless. Protecting the downside has a new meaning now, since there is a whole new unexpected downside. Steady, cautions, smart – but still moving forward and growing. That is our plan for 2020. Spring is coming.
We remain thankful for all our amazing, resilient customers. This season of COVID-19 will not be soon forgotten. We will redouble our efforts to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what comes our way. All of us will be better business leaders based on the learning and experience we gained from this pandemic. Going through tough times is never fun, but it is how we learn valuable lessons for the future. Hopefully you and your business have grown and learned through this process. Our team is smarter and more connected. We are thankful for having survived and we know that Spring is coming.
If part of your Post COVID-19 strategy includes a re branding or label makeover, please call us today. We can help.
Building and sustaining a thriving business for 92 years is no accident. It takes deliberate effort and intention. Business excellence and systems go hand in hand. Attention to detail is the key, both in the actual production of your labels, and in how we run our business. Here are some things we do very well – all to serve our customers better.
Each month, we have a complete financial review with an outside CPA. This is considered overkill by some for a business our size, and it is an added expense, but we want certainty about our direction and progress. Having an outside voice to review the financial progress each month is comforting. Our accountants are excellent – check out their website here. What we do for customers is hard, and we always want to know we are going the right direction.
Detailed Monthly Inventory
Each month, we count and measure all 550+ rolls of label stock. With a barcode label on each roll and a unique ID, it is easier than ever to have an almost real-time look at the stock we have on hand. Our vendors are very good and they generally delivery quickly, but having the right inventory buffer is critical to help us respond to customer demand.
Business Excellence and Systems
None of this is very helpful if it is so far after the fact that we can’t remember anything that happened. Today (3rd of the month) we had this full financial review before noon. This is a massive advantage. Being in the moment and having quick feedback helps us keep a finger on the pulse of the business.
All of this work and attention to detail is designed to delight the customer. Ultimately we want our customer’s customer to be delighted and buy their beer, wine, food product – we want to be an extension of our direct customer’s marketing and branding efforts. We want our labels (their labels!) to stand out on the shelf and help them grow their business. We can only do that effectively if our business is running well. There is more to running a label business than just putting ink on paper. These systems are a big part of that.
Call Us Today – We Can Help
If you want to deal with a family owned, eco-friendly label company in Portland, please call us. We have a thriving business that is growing and profitable. If you produce a high quality product in a bag, box, or bottle, it is very likely that we could help you upgrade your branding with outstanding labels. Our systems and business excellence allow us to help more people each day. Call us!
Label Branding Experts
The Rose City Label label branding experts can help you connect with your customers. Your brand is a promise to your customers. It sets the expectation for their experience with your product. After purchasing and trying your product, the quality of the product and the service that delivers the product will bring them back. Before they purchase, it is your brand that will bring them in.
Your Authentic Brand Voice
Knowing your purpose is critical. Before you come to visit the label branding experts, you need to know exactly the image you want – fancy, relaxed, formal, or casual? How do you want people to feel when they eat, drink, or apply your product to their body? Are you a good value? Premium quality? Best supported? What makes your product special and why should someone choose you? Once you have this, you can begin to select the ideal label color as discussed in this previous post.
Your ideal Customer
Who you are selling to is another thing to decide before you come to the label branding experts. Who you are talking to will radically inform the decision about your label design, material, size, and perhaps even quantity. When in doubt, go smaller on your target market. You only want to target and focus on the ideal customer. If you focus on this group, you will catch some adjacent groups that buy, and that is great, but don’t dilute your branding by focusing on a wide market. Go narrow.
What Resonates with Them?
Your look and feel – especially your packaging and labels – must be defined on the wants and needs of your ideal customers. You have to be authentic and speak in your true voice, but if your ideal customer doesn’t resonate with the message, you have a problem! Make sure your facility, the taste and style of your product, and especially your labels, all resonate with this idea customer.
Everything Works A Little
All the elements of your BRAND – from how you answer the phone to the quality of your physical product – all contribute to your ultimate brand experience. Hopefully, if you use discipline and thought, all these touch points work together. Everything must work together – the elements of your brand don’t exist in a vacuum. Make sure everything is working together. All the elements need to reinforce each other.
It’s A Marathon Not a Sprint
Think about the lifetime value of a customer, not just the first sale. The marketing journey is a long game. Don’t get discouraged – make sure you have the discipline to keep the business and the marketing going over the long haul. Branding and marketing is an ongoing, never ending process. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
Labels Can Help
One of the key parts of this brand is your physical brand. If you have a product in a bag, box or bottle, your labels are critical. If they don’t align with your other branding elements, you will have a hard time growing your business. The labels have to reinforce (rather than fight with) the other elements of your brand. If you like the way the RCL label branding experts think about branding, please call us today.
What is the best label color?
This is a complex question with conflicting research on all sides. Regardless, one thing is clear – the best label color is the one that reinforces your authentic brand. Your brand voice must be established first before a label color can be selected to bring that voice to the market. Check out this post about Your Authentic Brand and Clare Carver’s rules to build your brand here
Once the brand and the brand voice are solid, you can begin to work on the best label color.
Is it important? Yes!
According to Emerald Insight and others (full study here), people make up their minds about a product or person – including your beer, wine, soap – within 90 seconds. And, importantly for us, 62-90% of that initial reaction is based on color. That’s right – color! Having the best label color is critical.
What does each color say – what makes the best label color?
Begin with the end in mind – what emotion are you trying to evoke? Happy? Angry? Fired up to Party? Each of these desired consumer reactions will require a different best label color. Yes – as always – it depends. If you know your intended reaction, and your brand voice, then finding the best label color is easy.
Specific examples of Best Label Color
Real Simple magazine has a great breakdown of 10 different colors and the reactions they evoke. Read the full article by clicking here. Here are a few examples, but read the full article for more detailed explanations.
- Black – the signature color of sophistication. Where do you want your brand positioned in the mind of your target consumer?
- Blue – everyone likes blue. It connotes trust and dependability. A blue logo can increase loyalty and feelings of security. Is this the reaction you want? Maybe this is your best label color?
- Burgundy – rich and refined. Think of full bodied, bold (expensive) wines. Luxury.
- Orange – fair and affordable are typical reactions from this color.
- Red – This may be your best label color is you want a hot, excited consumer, but red also means ‘stop’ or caution or danger to many people. Choose carefully.
There are five more great colors, and links to other research, in the full article link above.
Summary and Next Actions
Begin with your well defined brand image and voice. From there, layer on the reaction you want from your target consumer. From there, the best label color decision is much easier and logical. With all this data, you also need to add in a touch of your own flair and gut feeling. These are guidelines that are very helpful, but ultimately your decision is up to you. Make sure you are being consistent with your ultimate business goals – read this post for more information about brand alignment.
Still Stuck? Call us Today
We can help solve the best label color problem. We do it for many customers each year and we are happy to help you, too. With our new HP Indigo Press, printing great labels has never been easier. Cheers!
Extra Mile Service – Whatever it takes!
When we determined that a critical shipment wasn’t going to make it for an important trade show, we reran the order and boarded a plane. We flew the labels (in suitcases) to the venue in Chicago so the customer could have them for the show. The customer loved the labels. The stickers were a big hit at the event. Whatever it takes, we are here to provide extra mile service. Here’s the full story:
At about 10pm Friday night, we figured out that this shipment would be delivered Monday, not Saturday as requested. We contacted UPS and tracked the packages, but with no luck. The packages were stuck in Louisville, KY and nobody would get to them in time.
Saturday at Noon
By noon saturday we had an emergency crew in the shop to re-run the job. While the job was running, we explored DHL, FedEx Freight, and continued to look for ways to retrieve the job from the UPS facility in KY. The customer was willing to drive from Chicago (297 miles) to pick up if this would be an option. Unfortunately, the only viable option was to buy an airline ticket and fill suitcases with labels. Saturday afternoon we were out buying suitcases to make this happen.
Saturday Night at PDX
The gate agent checked the overweight bags onto the United Airlines direct flight to Chicago. The staff was very cordial and helpful – it isn’t very often that a person only checks their bags one way! The passenger was just there to escort the bags, but it was faster and less expensive to have a human getting a free ride to Chicago.
Sunday 5am in Chicago
After a nice relaxing night on the airplane, I was in Chicago by 5am and ready to hand off the bags to my customer contact. Labels aren’t always sexy or exciting, but this handoff seemed like a monumental achievement to keep the free world safe. Very exciting to see the labels in the proper hands.
Later, we got notice from the trade show that the labels were a big hit. Finally, by the end of the day the trade show staff gave away the entire 200 lbs. (4 suitcases) of hand delivered labels. Success!
Sunday 10am – back in Portland
About 95 minutes after the big handoff, I was back through security and eating breakfast at the airport. Sadly, I didn’t see any of Chicago on this trip! The flight back was easy, and with the time change, I was back before lunch time. In less than 12 hours I covered 3,500 miles and made a huge impact on an important customer.
Extra Mile Service – Anything for Labels!
This is, admittedly, the craziest delivery story that I can recall in the last 24 years, but it’s really just an extension of our daily way of doing business. Customers come to us with crazy problems all the time and we go out of our way to fix them. Extra mile service – that’s what we are all about. Call us today!
Our main focus is serving our customers by being label experts. Competitive price is critical and fast deliveries are a basic expectation we have to meet on a daily basis. More than being the fastest or the cheapest, we are the smartest label experts in the business. With deep experience and knowledge, we can offer the right solution the first time. Sometimes, that means we don’t tell people what they want to hear – everyone wants a cheaper, faster solution – but we tell them the truth and we stand behind our work.
We Have the Experience
With two employees over 30 years at Rose City Label and many others with more than 20 years in the business, we really do have the most experienced crew in the business. We are proud of the company culture we have built that encourages people to stay with us for their entire career. Retired team members stay in touch and often come to our Christmas party to stay connected with the RCL family. This deep experience is priceless and it is part of our success.
Over the years, we have developed systems and processes that work. We stick to these because they have proven successful with over 3,000 print orders every year. These are proven methods and techniques – like not ordering tooling until proofs are signed, or not entering orders without artwork and quantities – that allow us to serve the most customers successfully. We aren’t opposed to learning and changing, but we are also comfortable telling the truth even if it is unpopular. The people that are the most successful trust us and partner with us to make their job successful.
Not Everyone is a Fit
Because we have these established norms – because we are label experts – this can be difficult for some people. Nobody is asked to follow blindly or give up any level of control in their project, but we work best with customers that treat us as a valued, trusted partner rather than just a vendor to bid on a job. When people have detailed specifications and they go out for 3 bids, we certainly win our share of those bids, but those customers aren’t getting the best we have to offer. The people who come to us with a problem that needs solving – these are the people that give us the raving reviews. They are getting the best we have to offer. Unfortunately, however, not everyone is a fit. We have a process and a target client and not everyone fits that profile.
Willing to Learn (and Change)
All this expertise doesn’t prevent us from learning and growing as an organization. Digital printing is almost 50% of our business today and it didn’t even exist 4 years ago. We have had a massive learning curve as we have adapted with new technology, materials, and customer demands. We have also changed the way we use technology to stay connect with our customers – we are always learning, growing, and adapting to stay competitive. Don’t be afraid to ask us for something new or different – most of our best ideas come from our customers.
Thank You – You Made Us Label Experts
Thank you to the customers that trust us each day. We wouldn’t have a thriving business or be able to develop very skilled people without the trust of our customers. THANK YOU – we appreciate every order we get and we value all our customers – large and small, new and old. Call us today to see if we can help you with your next label project.