We are all used to putting labels on our products. All too often we think of a label solely as a way to convey to customers information about; the product name, product ingredients, nutritional information, net weight and your company name. In reality a label can do so much more. It is often your first contact with a customer.

An attractive label can influence whether or not a customer buys your product. When a customer walks up to a meat case, they have many choices. If your label and package do not catch the eye of a potential customer the probability that they will purchase your item has just decreased. Certainly for repeat customers, their previous satisfaction with your product influences repeat purchases; however, with repeat customers the label and packaging still play a significant role in overall product satisfaction.

I feel we can learn some valuable lessons about appealing to the public from the restaurant industry. Restaurants are experts at mouth-watering entrée descriptions and meal presentations. You don’t purchase just a hamburger; rather you get a thick, gourmet, all beef burger expertly seasoned and cooked to perfection. The descriptions of many items are so tantalizing that you can hardly wait to try the entrée. You start to develop a positive, satisfied opinion of the item before you ever see it or taste it.

Restaurants are also experts in presentation. You don’t just get a slice of apple pie; rather you get a slice of pie with a dollop of whipped cream on it served on a plate that has been drizzled with caramel sauce.

Think back to some of your recent dining experiences at nicer restaurants and remember the item descriptions on the menu and the way your entrée was presented to you. Think of how the restaurant’s labeling of the items on the menu and the way it packaged the entrée when it served it to you. Chances are they contributed significantly to your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the meal. You also can improve customer satisfaction with the way you label and package your product.

Your label should not just present information. It should present it in an attractive and appealing manner. The font should be large enough that it can be easily read. Use contrast between colors on your label so it is easy to read. I recall picking up a bag of smoked rope sausage. The print on the bag was yellow and brown and very difficult to read against the background of the product in the bag. If you use a specialty ingredient in your product, whether it is honey or jalapeno, consider emphasizing it on your label. If you have a slogan for you company, use it on the label. Your label does not need to be only print copy.

Consider incorporating an eye catching graphic on it. Your package should be easy for the customer to open. If appropriate, include suggested cooking directions on your package. Frequently consumer dissatisfaction with a product is the result of improper preparation of it. Take a close look at your products through the eyes of a consumer.

The appearance of a product plays a significant role in its success. Your label and package can in fact be key members of your sales team.

Remember: The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.