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Change: Overwhelming Or Opportunistic?

by Mike Ferrari

 

I was recently inspired by the keynote presentation by Alon Bar-shany (HP Indigo general manager) during the July 2015 VIP event that took place in Israel. He talked about how change naturally brings uncertainty and it’s our response to change that ultimately is telling. Do we let it overwhelm us and paralyze our actions? Or do we see our way through and learn how to leverage the opportunity it presents?

 

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 Alon Bar-Shany's opening session at the HP Indigo VIP event, July 2015

 

I want to discuss change that has arrived to labels and packaging as an important media channel. As a result, the role of marketers and printers is changing. To understand the transformation in packaging I would like to analyze this from the perspective of the shopper/consumer and what this means for brands and printers.

 

My exposure in the packaging industry has always been to approach brand packaging by focusing on the consumer. After all “consumer is boss” is the mantra I lived by at The Procter & Gamble Co. and this continues to be true. The company is 178 years old, making it one of the 5 oldest in the U.S. and the world’s largest consumer products company with a large portfolio of preferred global consumer brands. The longevity of success is built on the keen understanding of consumer needs and innovating to create beloved brands.

 

If we use this example and apply it to the packaging industry it would be helpful to start and end with understanding the consumer.

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Consumers are not a static group, they do not necessarily have the same needs around the world although consumers do respond to some common elements. One such example is the response to smartphones. The global proliferation of smartphones enables consumers to be on the internet while “on the go”. As a result, consumers are changing rapidly as they create new habits responding to technology.  Consumers are in control as they express themselves on social media channels discussing everything from politics to brand preferences.  They enjoy experiences and connect with brands that provide relevancy and appeal to their community.

 

Brands now face new challenges as the consumer has multiple paths to choose from while navigating their shopper journey. The path to purchase can be through retail shops, online, from social media or by phone. These sales channels are generally independent of one another. Omnichannel retailing means brand marketers need to be present in multiple places to completely serve the consumer in relevant and engaging ways. The big opportunity for brand marketers is to create seamless, innovative and unified consumer experiences across these channels (retail shelves, online shopping, social media).

 

Integrating the sales channels is just starting to get some attention and is widely viewed as the next evolution in retail. Digital package printing opens new possibilities to help marketers close this gap. Some brands are beginning to explore campaigns never before possible, creating a “wow factor”. There are some good case studies from various geographies around the world. Brands that become overwhelmed by the changes and marketing challenges continue their strategy of mass production. These brands will simply fall out of touch with consumers and become irrelevant.

 

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The changing role of the printer is to ensure they are investing and expanding their capability to meet the changing needs of the consumers. This means printers need to upgrade their business strategy. The opportunity is to focus on working in partnership with brands to educate “what’s possible” in this digital age.

 

About the author

Mike Ferrari is the founder of Ferrari Innovation Solutions,llc and a brand packaging consultant. Retired after 32 years of service from The Procter & Gamble Co., he is dedicated to educate, guide & inspire those in the packaging industry to grow.  Follow him on twitter via @gamechanger78

Tags: labels| Packaging
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About the Author
  • I sit at the crossroads of the HP Indigo technology development team and our customers, sharing knowledge and tools that help printing companies continue growing their business. I’ve been immersed in the world of digital printing since 2006, when I joined HP Indigo. In work and life, I’m passionate about old and new media, and the joys of raising four children.
  • I am a word addict. For both business and pleasure writing is my thing. I am a marketing and communications expert and I am here to let you, our reader, know about all things Indigo. From new product launches to how to make the most of your press and inspiring stories and applications from around the world, I'll write it all here, for you to enjoy.
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