3D high-end mass customization in batches of 1 – mylabel.one personalizes branded products

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Customizing products is actually easy – all it takes is an adhesive label and the buyer gets their name on the product. But things start to get interesting when personalization “dovetails” with the product – here mylabel.one provides a solution based on high-end labeling.

Delegates to the Online Print Symposium 2015 will recall the name “Rathgeber”. In March 2015 Andreas Schrägle showcased his idea of how products can in future be “labeled” in a more personal and customized way. Now at the start of 2016 the Rathgeber Group has unveiled the first version of mylabel.one (yes that really is the URL) – a product personalization platform. The objective of this new online offering, which is aimed primarily at manufacturers of more premium products, is to provide a complete product customization fulfilment platform. However this is not for the mass market, i.e. consumers, but rather aimed directly at providers or manufacturers wanting to offer a product personalization service. The solution is based on a SaaS concept and enables both Rathgeber and the ultimate client to get solutions online very quickly.

For quite some time “labeling specialist” Rathgeber has been making a name for itself in the industry as a product-label finisher, however its specialty is not conventional adhesive labels but rather premium logos made of metal, chrome or high-grade plastics. In short, anybody who owns a WMF coffeemaker, a Rimowa suitcase or a car has already become indirectly acquainted with Rathgeber products. The new platform is helping Rathgeber to break the mold – a manufacturer of branded products can now offer its customers a customization platform using mylabel.one. Rathgeber then produces the appropriate 3D labels and either sends them to its client’s production facility or handles the entire fulfilment process itself.

One of the movers and shakers behind mylabel.one is Alexander Thoma, CEO of Rathgeber DIGITAL.
One of the movers and shakers behind mylabel.one is Alexander Thoma, CEO of Rathgeber DIGITAL.

Potential users can test the platform directly at mylabel.one. This website shows what is feasible in a very visually appealing way using customized image renderings. One of the movers and shakers behind this venture, Alexander Thoma, CEO of Rathgeber DIGITAL, explained the background to me in a conversation we had. “Issues like 3D logos or product customization have to be explained in visualized form. That’s exactly what we have actioned by launching mylabel.one – a concise visual explanation of what we do. We regarded it as important to keep the whole issue very simple. So the tester just enters their name and can view a wide range of different examples. If the visualization example appeals to the tester, they can order a premium label featuring their company logo and, after attaching it to the product, can experience themselves what impact it has.” But Thoma also believes it is important that the user or tester understands that the process does not involve any old cheap labels –“the topic of 3D logos is often misunderstood – we are currently not yet opting to go down the additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D print) route – instead we rely on a proven combination of analog and digital print methods. At first that might seem expensive, but the impact and haptic appeal are definitely great value for money and enhancing the product by elegantly customizing or personalizing it makes the overall product something really special.”

Andreas Schrägle, owner of the Rathgeber Group, believes his platform will catch on, particularly among providers of branded products.
Andreas Schrägle, owner of the Rathgeber Group, believes his platform will catch on, particularly among providers of branded products.

Andreas Schrägle, owner of the Rathgeber Group, believes his platform will catch on, particularly among providers of branded products. “Brands of course live off that premium product experience and off the importance of the brand per se –but in the eyes of the branded product provider’s customer the branded product only becomes “their” product once it has been personalized. That increases the customer’s affinity with the brand and their faith in the product per se. This is how we can help brand owners with long-term customer retention”. Rathgeber’s mylabel.one is certainly in line with the current mass customization trend – one of the print and media industry’s megatrends in the next few years – but the company is setting its own priorities. “We want to help brand owners generate revenues along their entire value chains, because personalized products are of greater value not only to the brand; consumers are also willing to pay more for “their” products“, says Andreas Schrägle in conclusion.

I have tested the platform, perhaps a little more intensively than a normal user, and am delighted that a mid-sized business has the courage and the financial means to invest in active digitalization of innovative, but often analog production methods.

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“Rathgeber‘s mylabel.one platform is providing manufacturers of branded products with a solution that not only represents a “workbench extension”, but also taps into new online potential.” – Bernd Zipper

A win-win-win situation, so to speak: for manufacturers, who can now personalize their products, for customers, who can now buy one-of-a-kind branded products and for Rathgeber, which will use this platform to attract and retain new brand customers. Respect.

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