Food and beverage producers of all sizes can make major gains by viewing their labels as part of their marketing arsenal, according to Steve Matthews from leading digital label printer Wrapt.
Bespoke brewery Good George produces a core range of beers and ciders, plus seasonal variations in the garden city of Hamilton, New Zealand, with the business located in the old St Georges church, brewing and bottling on site.
Founded in 2011, in its early years the business was purchasing its labels across the Tasman out of Australia, from the same company it bought its first bottling line from. However, it had to order in bulk quantities, and plan the seasonal brews way in advance. It also incurred high freight costs including airfreight. And it had a high level of obsolescence.
In 2018 it switched supplier to New Zealand based digital label print producer Wrapt, and reaped immediate benefits.
Chris Wise, general manager at Wrapt, says, “We are able to turn their seasonal range labels around in just seven days, allowing them to trial more ranges and test brews out to the market.
“Our offer was, print what you need, when you need it. There was no compromise in pricing, in fact some hard savings were achieved in unit rates and no origination, along with soft savings in obsolescence and freight.”
It is not just the speed, the flexibility with short runs lengths and the pricing that have seen the relationship strengthen though. Wise says, “In the two years we have been working together we have developed a great relationship with the Good George design team, and have worked closely with them developing new labels incorporating colour logic design,” Wise adds. “They see us as a real value-add supplier.”
“Our success with Good George has been based on a combination of our competitiveness, our speed to market, our ability to produce their large runs on our HP Indigo 20000 digital press and their smaller seasonal ranges on the HP Indigo 6800. And added into the mix is our technology with colour logic, our quality (we have won gold medals at Pride in Print with Good George labels), our high level of customer care, and our collaboration with their design team.”
In crowded markets the ability to convey a clear message is key to shelf appeal, and to the purchase decision. In seven years, New Zealand label printer Wrapt has journeyed from start-up company to market-leading operation, largely on the basis of talking to food and beverage producers about how the label can be used as a highly effective marketing tool, and working with them to create a label strategy that does just that.
Wrapt works with customers of all sizes, splitting them into three broad categories: the start-ups, the semi-established, and the established brands. Each has specific needs, and for each Wrapt has specific solutions, whether for the local honey producer or the multinational brand owner.
Steve Matthews, managing director of Wrapt says, “We work closely with customers who appreciate our innovative approach. Whatever size and shape the customer, they are all looking for the same result, which is customer appeal and purchase decisions. The label is key to this.
“We talk to customers about moving the label away from a procurement function – something that has to be on the pack – into a marketing function, something that can really work for the product. We want to communicate to the customer that we have the tools, both hardware and software, that can create a label that will really stand out, and that will give them an agility they can exploit.
“However, we do of course have many clients who are purely procurement focused, and if that is their approach then we work closely with them to ensure their goals are met,” Matthews says.
From the day the business started the approach from Wrapt was not to tell customers what they could and couldn’t have, as was often the traditional approach, but to listen to what customers wanted, and then think about how that could be provided, and how Wrapt could innovate to the benefit of its customers.
Thinking in new ways is in the DNA of Wrapt, indeed the business came into existence when Matthews and his partner Dale Pfieler were looking at their original commercial print business and how they could move away from commodity printing.
From a dip-the-toe-in-the-water decision in 2012, to running today’s stand-alone market-leading label business, the company has been unafraid to move away from the old and into the new, recognising the benefits of new technology, and having the wherewithal to implement it successfully.
The duo is still running the business, together with Chris Wise who came aboard the company three years ago as general manager of sales, with the intention of joining Matthews and Pfieler as shareholders and becoming a director.
Matthews says, “We provide our customers with an agility in their marketing that they may not have been used to in the past. They may want to ride along with an event or an occurrence – a rugby final, Easter, Christmas or the like – which we can provide for them, by way of a limited edition label, in a cost effective way.”
When it comes to printing power Wrapt is fully equipped with the latest HP Indigo technology. Matthews says, “Everyone knows the quality from HP Indigo is unbeatable, so we have two of those presses, a narrow web and wide web. We print self-adhesive labels and flexible packaging, and we can complete run lengths of 50 meters to 5000 metres and above.
“We have some real power under the hood. We use HP Mosaic software, for instance, that can produce a different image from the same design elements for every label printed.
The two digital HP Indigo presses give Wrapt the ability to produce short, medium and long run jobs. Matthews says, “Customers appreciate being able to stay with us. Often in the past a label may have started off being printed digitally as it was on a new product, then as sales grew it may have switched out to a different supplier on analogue press. However, with the Wrapt firepower, that customer is now able to stay with us all the way.”
The flexibility that Wrapt offers its customers also applies to its approach to market; it operates in both a transactional model for established customers with established brands who are ordering their labels from the virtual warehouse, and in a marketing solutions partnership model for new customers and new launches.
Matthews says, “Where we have a project on the go the customer just wants to be able to log on and order however many thousands or hundreds of thousands of labels with no fuss, and they can do that with either of our warehouse models – virtual or actual – depending on the requirement. And then for customers who are going through a rebrand, or launching a new product, or into a new market, we work closely on a relational basis with them.
“What we say to all customers and potential customers is talk to us before you are a long way down the track of the label design. Once you have your baseline design there are many ways we can enhance and add value to that design. Often the label has been viewed as a cost, not a marketing opportunity, and for some of the start-up companies it may be their only marketing, and they are competing for the same shelf appeal as the big brands.”
The innovative mindset to market requirements courses through all aspects of the Wrapt business. For instance, in a market where brands have traditionally bought a year’s worth of labels to keep the costs down, Wrapt has taken a different approach and offers two models for its customers, with stock kept in either virtual or actual warehouses.
Matthews says, “We operate an online system, where a customer only orders and pays for labels on demand. The labels are stored digitally, then as the customer wants them, they are ordered, we print and deliver within three days. This is great for the customer’s cashflow – they are not stumping up for a year’s worth of labels upfront, and they are not paying for storage costs. And it means if a change needs to be made after six months for some legislative or other requirement, the labels do not go to waste. It has been a really successful approach.”
The Wrapt approach is certainly paying off for its customers. Greg Menzies from bespoke brewery Emerson’s says, “Wrapt Labels helped our rebrand go smoothly and we are stoked with the result. We won the award for Best Packaging at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards and have experienced significant sales growth since the rebrand.”
At Hunters Wines Edward Macdonald says, “Wrapt Labels has helped us get more out of our products. We invested some of the money we saved through using Wrapt Labels’ print model back into our label to get a result that best represents Hunter’s Wines.”
Steve Matthews says, “Customers consistently tell us they appreciate the thought we put into their goals. Many are surprised by the level of service we provide. The label can be a powerful tool for any brand, and Wrapt has the means and the methods to make that happen.”
Certainly, with consistent growth since its foundation seven years ago, and an ever-expanding portfolio of customers, all the indicators are that Wrapt has come up with a winning strategy for food and beverage producers of all sizes.
Wrapt can be contacted at T: 0800 497 278; W: w-raptlabels.co.nz