Wide range of topics covered

Triumphant Power of Print event hails industry’s impact

BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold praised the diverse, resilient industry
BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold praised the diverse, resilient industry

The iconic Stationers’ Hall in the City of London was packed out yesterday (7 November) for the 13th annual Power of Print event, which highlighted the industry’s key trends and growth areas in a celebration of print and its impact on the wider world.

Attracting over 160 delegates, the event was organised by Two Sides and the BPIF in partnership with event and seminar sponsor Canon, drinks reception sponsor Fedrigoni, and with Hobbs acting as print partner.

After an opening from Jonathan Tame, managing director of Two Sides, the busy schedule featured a state of the market introduction from BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold and then nine presentations from speakers across a wide range of sectors and encompassing topics including direct mail, design, sustainability, packaging, and AI.

Delivering his annual overview of the current economic, political, and technological challenges facing the print industry, plus a look forward into 2024, Jarrold started by recapping the latest BPIF Printing Outlook report as well as the organisation’s latest UK Printing Facts & Figures publication.

He said that while confidence had remained fragile moving into Q3, “we are very clearly into a post-pandemic world”.

Jarrold added that “I actually don’t think this is a new economic reality, I think this is back to normal” and said that while interest rates are higher, which “clearly hit all of us […] if you look forward now, compared to how I felt when I stood up here last year, we are – touching wood – hopefully seeing interest rates peaking and inflation starting to track down.”

Highlighting particular industry bright spots including packaging and books, Jarrold added: “We’ve got a very diverse, resilient industry, which is worth £13.7bn”.

Many of the morning sessions had a focus on the way that print continues to assert itself in a digital world, with Mark Davies, managing director at Whistl (Doordrop Media), pointing out that those who respond to advertising value mail, and that initiatives like JICMail – whose director of data leadership and learning Ian Gibbs then presented a late morning session – were helping to power conversations in terms of advertising.

“I’m not here to tell you this pipe dream of money moving out of digital and into print marketing, but it is happening,” Davies said.

Another morning session saw Mathew Faulkner, EMEA director, marketing and innovation, Wide Format Printing Group, Canon Europe, talk about the role that emotion plays in buying decisions.

He explained the ‘emotional wheel’, where he touched on the range of positive emotions that brands and printers can pro-actively cultivate with customers through a more personalised approach.

Just prior to lunch, one of the most inspiring sessions, which was being widely discussed by attendees during the break, saw Maja Kjellberg, packaging development leader at Ikea, discuss the way that packaging has played a key role in the development of Ikea’s branding and commercial success and is essential to the way the company’s products are sold.

She highlighted the company’s famous flat pack furniture box format, and outlined various innovations, format tweaks, and materials changes the retailer has made to sell various products over the years to reach its sustainability goals.

The afternoon saw sustainability talks on net zero from Simon Heppner, founder of Net Zero Now, and changing EU environmental legislation and its impact on packaging producers from CEPI’s Anna Papagrigoraki.

But the most energetic session was probably delivered by Mark Shayler, owner of This Is Ape, who looked at the tactility of print and how this was an antidote to “the glare of digital”.

Using short song clips, he took the audience through pivotal moments in the history of pop music, from Elvis and The Beatles through to Spice Girls, Missy Elliott, and Lizzo as time stamps to look at the use of print and design through the ages, including examples of effective advertising, branding, and colour.

He told delegates it was time to “re-engage with print” and suggested brands and printers should get creative to “make your money on impact rather than volume”.

Henry Coutinho-Mason, a consumer trends specialist and author of The Future Normal, looked at one of the year’s biggest trends – AI – and explored the ways businesses can adapt and navigate rapid technological change.

But the final words prior to the evening drinks reception went to Two Sides' Tame, who updated on the recent success stories of the Two Sides and Love Paper campaigns.

He presented examples of many of the brands Two Sides had engaged with to change their misleading messaging around paper. He also said there were “developed discussions happening with some major UK retailers” about using the Love Paper logo on their paper-based packaging products.

Tame encouraged anybody not already a member of Two Sides to sign up, and reminded delegates that it is “up to us as an industry to be out there and promote the industry”.

Power of Print will return on 5 November 2024.