In 2009 I purchased Anointment Natural Skin Care from the company’s founder who had developed and sold the products since 2002 at the Halifax Farmer’s Market and a handful of boutique retailers. The labelling was simple, mainly single colour and featured a font similar to this one readily available with Microsoft Office suites and incredibly overused by the ‘natural’ product community.
Shortly after the company was purchased, I embarked on a rebranding program to bring the line up to date and rectify a number of outstanding issues with the labelling to bring it into compliance with Health Canada labelling laws. The complete program took nearly 18 months start to finish, which seems excessive perhaps but a number of items on the list were labour intensive and required a significant financial investment and had to be completed as funds allowed.
Health Canada Consumer Product Safety regulates the labelling and sale requirements for all cosmetics in Canada. Similarly in the US, the Food and Drug Administration indicates how cosmetics should be labeled and what product claims are acceptable under the category of cosmetics versus drugs (similar guidelines exist in Canada). Be sure to read carefully and ensure you comply with all of the requirements.
The rebranding program for Anointment Natural Skin Care included the following:
- Setting a budget. A number of the items on this list require a fairly significant financial investment. While it is important to obtain quotes in advance and maintain a budget, it is also possible to begin the rebranding process while selling product under the “old” look provided it meets the government regulations set out above. This will allow you to “finance as you go” but will most likely mean your rebranding program will take longer to complete. If your products do not meet government regulations, you may not have the luxury of time. In Canada, Health Canada regularly sends Product Safety Officers to retail locations to purchase and sample products. If your products are sampled and found to be out of compliance, you may find yourself with a product recall order.
- Selecting a graphic designer. If you have strong design skills, then you may be able to undertake this work yourself. If you do not, you may want to enlist the help of a qualified graphic designer to help your vision become reality. I have worked for many years with the same graphic designer and have always been happy with her work, so for most of the work undertaken in this program, I retained the services of my trusted graphic designer, Janet Murphy.
- Logo Redesign. Anointment has a strong, loyal customer following, particularly in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada where the products originated and were sold for many years at the local farmer’s market. While I wanted to update the original logo, I also wanted to retain a look that long-time customers would recognize while introducing colour (each product has a specific colour palette assigned to it so that it may be recognized based on label colour in the event a customer forgets the product name) and promoting a more polished, professional, boutique-friendly look.
- Label Redesign. This was by far the most time-consuming, labour intensive portion of our program. Confirm sizes and availability of your packaging. In Canada, all products are required to have all relevant information listed in both English and French. I enlisted the services of a translator and worked within the Health Canada guidelines to ensure all ingredients were listed properly and that no “medical” claims were being made on our labelling.
- Labels Printed. This was the single greatest expense of the entire program as our printer had very high minimum quantities per label. All of our labels are printed in full colour on self-adhesive paper which is provided on rolls. We received several thousand labels at one time, which only makes accuracy and attention to detail that much more important. After printing, we found one of our labels to be missing an ingredient: a very costly mistake.
- Product Photography. Anyone who sells their product via Etsy or online knows the importance of great photography. If you do not have the skills to do this yourself, I highly recommend hiring a professional photographer or bartering service for product.
- Website Redesign. The original Anointment website dated to 2002 and was designed as an ecommerce store that never functioned properly – not great for business. Using the new photography and my trusty graphic designer, a new Anointment website (www.anointment.ca) was launched. This will eventually also incorporate a number of new features including e-commerce and social media marketing/blogging.
- Promotion and Samples. Samples are a crucial part of winning people over to your brand. Ensure your samples are labeled, have clear product information, ingredients, and contact information.
While the bulk of the above re-branding program has been completed at Anointment, branding and marketing are ongoing projects for us as a small, family-run company with limited resources (and a new baby at home). There are many items still left to be checked off our to do list when it comes to promotion, marketing and sales, but hopefully the above list will help you on your way to making your brand shine and help you gain customer loyalty and the brand recognition that is so important in today’s market.