January is always one of the toughest months for print, and this year seems to have been no exception.
Two of the industry’s most historic names have grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past few weeks; with Headley Brothers seeking creditor protection while its advisors try to find a buyer or investor, and Garnett Dickinson Print being sold in a pre-pack administration deal.
Between them the firms have been trading for getting on for 300 years – that’s some history.
While the reasons for their troubles may differ, both companies’ predicaments are just another example that glories of the past mean nothing in print, and in an industry that’s as rapidly changing as ours, then clearly, in some cases, they can be more a hindrance than a help.
That’s not to say that historic names have had their day, far from it. In fact, we have a feature on the very topic of thriving centenarian companies in the next issue titled ‘100 not out’.
However, I suspect that each of the companies highlighted in the feature will have far more than just dotage in common.
The chances are that they have all repeatedly embraced the changes facing the industry. And rather than being frozen by fear and wedded to the past, they embraced those technological and market changes to seize some of the new opportunities and ensure they are fit for today and tomorrow.
Because if history teaches us anything in print it’s that standing still is not an option and it’s the firms that unfailingly focus on the future, rather than dwell on the past, that will continue to thrive.