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Vicki Strull

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    Why Saving Brands Matters


    Saving brand lives through print, personalization and customer engagement

    Why Saving Brands Matters

    More than 25 bankruptcies of the last 12 months were top retailers. ToysRUs is just the latest brick-and-mortar to crumble.  At least part of the reason is that retailers are losing touch with their consumers.

    When brands talk directly to their customers, they avoid isolation. That means expanding beyond traditional channels of communication and creating omnichannel experiences — coordinating their messages in digital, print, social, and other channels right where their customers are.

    The Demise of Print

    I remember in early 2000, people were talking about “the demise of print.” And for a while, a lot of marketing and advertising did go digital. But look what happened to companies like Sears – they lost 95% of their market share when the pendulum swung to digital. Today, the pendulum is swinging back. We’re seeing the combination of digital (virtual), social AND print. And in every channel, brands are looking to drive customization, personalization and microsegmentation.

    Here’s a personal example: my son is looking at colleges, and it’s a study in what’s wrong with direct mail. This kid does everything in tweets, and colleges are sending him a #10 envelop? It’s irrelevant and ineffective. Then one of the colleges sends him a marketing brochure with his name printed on the cover – that helps make it relevant. That helps personalize it. But it can’t just be that, it has to be a coordinated campaign across all the platforms.

    They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

    Brands don’t understand how today’s print can drive engagement through personalization and customization. They aren’t taking advantage of it because they simply don’t know. So, I’m on a mission to help print service providers (PSPs) educate their customers. Brands need to understand why digital printing’s capabilities are so relevant to branding right now. But we can’t just tell customers about it — they need to see, touch and feel it.

    Different is Doable with Digital Print

    That’s why we created the packaging below,  printed on an Indigo 12000.  If you’re the owner of the jelly bean brand, Giggles & Dimples, you know which flavors are your top sellers. You also know that slower-selling flavors – say, blackberry and kiwi – are important to expanding your brand offerings.

    So you may want different package quantities for different flavors, right? To make it cost-effective, conventional printing would require a minimum quantity for every flavor and a long set-up time. But with digital print, short runs, changes in quantities, product trials, personalized packaging around customized campaigns – it’s all doable at a lower cost and with greater speed to market. And the design quality and color saturation is consistent across all the packaging.

    Show Me What’s Possible

    The folding cartons for Goldenian and Zenegari are two other examples, representing high-end cosmetics and perfume. Luxury brands want packaging that stands out and speaks to the quality of the product inside. But how does the brand owner know whether or not the quality of its opaque white logo will hold up on metalized substrate, unless someone shows them what’s possible?

    Partners, Not Suppliers

    And there’s the key: printers today should see themselves as partners with marketers, brand owners and designers. In turn, creatives who collaborate with printers discover how to execute new, exciting ideas.

    Brands don’t exist without effective packaging. Otherwise, everything’s generic. Packaging speaks to quality, emotion, and consumer connection. Printers know how to make that happen. They need to come in as innovators and partners; collaborating with marketers to effect change, and asking questions like: “How do you customize and connect to your customer? How can you repurpose and extend your packaging to make it a more personalized experience for customers?”

    Because when it comes to execution, that’s what brands need to do to stay alive — create a meaningful experience for their customers