Print and branding experts extol the virtues of the medium at EPIP 2017

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Monday 17 July 2017

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The print element of a campaign can often be the last thing that brand and marketing professionals think about, and in a digital-first world this is perhaps of little surprise.

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EPIP Women in Packaging UK co-founder Jo Stephenson

So the Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA) held an event earlier this month to stress why marketers should not be overlooking the advantages of print and the benefits it can bring to campaigns – often by working in tandem with digital mediums in increasingly clever ways.

“Many 20-something marketers don’t understand the value of print because colleges and universities don’t cover print anymore,” said Mike Roberts, IPIA Council member and managing director at PMG Print Management.

“And a lot of people in the print industry want to talk about machines but the talk needs to be made more relevant to the consumers of print and the influencers of consumption.”

Held at London’s Congress Centre, at the heart of the capital’s creative scene, Everything’s Possible in Print (EPIP) directly addressed the positioning and use of print in today’s society and aimed to educate and inspire delegates to use print more regularly and more effectively in their integrated campaigns.

The day featured an array of speakers from across both the print and marketing sectors who each shared their own experiences and used case studies to illustrate the impact print can have.

Keynote speaker Rita Clifton, an advertising professional and former UK chairman of Interbrand, used Apple as an example of how tactile print can be, and how appealing to the senses can help businesses to create a brand experience that can be used to create lasting relationships with customers.

“Apple’s packaging is a fundamental part of its brand experience. You love opening that box and that little book – it’s so clean, clear and beautiful and is a three-dimensional representation of that brand in the physical world.”

Clifton also explored the way that digital and print can work together to compliment each other.

“People want to spend time with brands that they trust, and you tend to trust things that you connect with in the physical world, not just the digital world.

“Print can literally sometimes allow us and our brands to wrap ourselves round our customers, to impact them and to have a long-term engaging effect.”

Women in Packaging UK co-founder Jo Stephenson also used various packaging case studies to show how print and digital can be successfully used together in multi-channel campaigns.

Her examples included an Italian Nutella campaign, which was created using HP’s SmartStream Mosaic software, where each of the 7 million jar sleeves printed were unique and distinctive.

“The personalisation of jars engages the consumer and makes them feel like they’ve got personal pieces of art,” said Stephenson.

She added there was a further after sales benefit to this campaign in that consumers could upload their patterns online to feature in personalised videos. To do so they would be sharing their data with Nutella, leading to further future engagement between the brand and consumer.

One of the other major themes of the event was direct mail. The importance of data was therefore a big talking point, with a particular emphasis on the impending introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Blake Envelopes managing director Michael Barter, meanwhile, discussed the significant impact that choosing a stylish or eye-catching envelope can have on increasing response rates in direct mail.

Tod Norman, senior content planner at Royal Mail MarketReach, provided some up-to-date figures to back up the effectiveness of printed direct mail in comparison to email and other digital equivalents.

According to research conducted on behalf of the organisation by TNS and published in May this year, Norman said 70% of those surveyed agreed with the statement that mail gives a better impression of the company that sent it than email.

“This could be about tangibility, tactility, rarity value and perceived cost – there are lots of reasons for this but the fact of the matter is that respondents said it makes them feel better, much more than email does,” said Norman.

62% of respondents said they see mail as being more formal than email, Norman said, while 65% agreed with the statement that they are likely to give mail their full attention. Furthermore, Norman said recent research has also found that including mail in the marketing mix increases ROI by 12%.

With the interaction of print and digital always high on the agenda, there was much talk at EPIP about the latest ways that brands can encourage consumers to interact with printed materials through their smartphones, via NFC or other similar technologies.

One of the featured examples was Arjowiggins Creative Papers’ Conqueror Alive paper, which has been used by brands and end-users to create connected print media such as business cards that can be linked to a range of online and interactive content.

Many of those attending EPIP were left in awe at some of the examples of campaigns shown that had used print in innovative and inspiring ways to create a memorable and positive impact.

If print had been at the back of some delegates minds when they arrived, as the event drew to a close there was a feeling that the penny had just dropped for many of the marketers in attendance, who had just realised exactly what print could help them to achieve.

IPIA chief executive Marian Stefani said she hopes the success of the event will help to encourage marketers to use more print in their campaigns, consequently leading to more work for printers.

“Our key message is that print is really valuable in marketing. The day was really good and the feedback has been really strong – we need the entire industry to support this event,” she concluded. 

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