Also topping the bill will be Julia Cole, UK and Ireland marketing manager at HP, and Trevor Smith from Amberley Adhesive Labels, who will be hosting a two-part seminar describing how digital print helped to deliver the ongoing ‘Share a Coke’ campaign within the UK. This is followed by a broader discussion about how digital can facilitate brand marketing initiatives.
Shaun Weston caught up with Julia Cole to find out how the role of digital print is changing the packaging industry.
Julia Cole: Packaging – whether digital labels, flexible or rigid – gives brands the opportunity to refresh their identity, enhance shelf-presence and compete for sales.
For packaging converters, the demand for digital packaging continues to rise due to natural population growth combined with wider product segmentation. Those who recognise the new world of digital packaging converting will equip themselves with the tools necessary to be a part of that world. This includes digital presses, automated workflows, new finishing capabilities and the systems necessary to provide just-in-time deliveries and customised packaging.
As more marketers, designers and brands learn of the capabilities of digital printing for packaging, they will begin to leverage those techniques that differentiate their products and drive sales by extending their marketing campaigns into the packaging itself.
Julia Cole: Innovation is being driven by brands and to some extent by consumers who directly interact with brands to influence their decisions. In general, brands today are demanding:
Understanding the evolving demands of brand customers, it seems clear that digital printing represents a growth opportunity for packaging converters.
Julia Cole: Digital printing technology allows packaging converters to fulfil the needs of their customers and brands by offering many solutions, including:
Julia Cole: Digital technology offered a new cost model. The traditional cost runs can result in large amounts of waste and expensive storage. With digital, you print what you need, and carefully targeted versions or personalised print can yield very much higher sales.
Thus, in many cases, the capabilities of digital printing can offer a more cost-effective solution than many traditional printing methods. Therefore, many print service providers are realising that the increasing demand for short runs, versioning and high-quality print can only be met digitally.
Today, short runs are much more frequent. In many cases, short-run jobs are becoming the norm.
Changes in marketing has led to a proliferation of SKUs (stock-keeping units) which means that the number of each SKU packages printed is less than when there was only one product version. This goes beyond merely refreshing a brand, and involves the creation of a new product variant, or even sub-brand. Brands and customers are responding to the ‘new’ and ‘now’ with these new products, which can be based on season, region and special occasions such as major sporting events or concerts.
This rise in the number of SKUs also means that product life cycles are shorter. Flexographic converters have been particularly impacted by these trends. For them, the balance between the time necessary for make-ready and set-up, and run-length becomes unfavourable and erodes profitability.
These practices are creating opportunities for digital PSPs who are able to offer economically viable solutions to these challenges.
Julia Cole: From the launch of the Indigo Omnius web press more than 15 years ago, enterprising PSPs have been offering short-run labels, which are widely adopted in the industry.
With two new HP Indigo presses – 30in web-fed for flexible packaging and 75cm sheet-fed for folding carton – the same digital opportunity has been created in these two packaging markets that we have seen for several years in the labels market place.
We are seeing a variety of factors coming together that favour growth in digital packaging printing. These range from the required information on labels, cartons and flexible packaging, to track and trace information and the rise of social media, which enables highly targeted versioned and personalised campaigns.
Julia Cole is UK and Ireland marketing manager at HP (Hewlett-Packard).
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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