Brilliant minds

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At the Power of Print 2016 seminar in the history-steeped setting of Stationers’ Hall close to St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London, an eclectic and fiercely provocative set of heavy-hitting speakers together created a fascinating picture of print and its value – present and future.

Welcoming a highest ever audience, BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold introduced the seminar in the context of this year of great change, including the evolution of print’s role in the multichannel media mix.

The science

The scientific foundation came from Baroness Susan Greenfield, CBE, member of the House of Lords, scientist, writer and broadcaster. The extraordinary Baroness explained the fundamental differences in the way our brains process information via a screen versus the printed page. Engagement, understanding and recall are all significantly higher from print.

The case for print

The case for print was reinforced by Tiffanie Darke, Founder of Method, News UK’s creative agency.  She reminded us that print carries an authority that nothing else can replicate, and secondly, if you want luxury, digital just doesn’t offer an alternative. She also praised print because it’s a proven “platform multiplier”. In other words, it is great when used in conjunction with other channels to enhance Return on Investment.

British advertising legend Dave Trott described creativity as one of the few remaining legal sources of competitive advantage. Dave’s short but very sharp presentation made it crystal clear that when it comes to creativity, simple is smart and complicated is stupid. And the way to succeed in advertising (print or otherwise) is to break established patterns. Stand out from the common herd, repositioning your competition at the same time.

His assertion that much of the messages we see are not even noticed, let alone forgotten, should be a wake-up call to all of us – the simple diagram below sums up his feelings about the process perfectly.

powerofprint

Combining creativity with astute use of data is maybe the key to a bright future for print. Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director of the British Direct Marketing Association, showed how powerful the partnership can be. And talked about one-to-one-to millions to express the mass use of personalised and relevant messaging.

Not all plain sailing

There are though powerful tides that can hold print back. Kim Willis, Strategy Director of Cedar Communications, reminded us that marketing directors demand to know how effective their campaigns are. And for print, more than digital media, it is expensive to measure results. Further, there is increasing competition for marketing budgets, including from a growing array of “shiny new things” such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

The Keep Me Posted campaign to protect the rights of consumers to continue receiving printed communications was shared by The Royal Mail’s David Gold – including its reach beyond the UK into the EU and other countries.

The future is bright

So, what conclusions can we draw about the prospects for print? I have a lot of faith in Jonathon Porritt, the acclaimed environmentalist and writer, and co-founder of the Forum for the Future. Jonathon highlighted the print and pulp industry’s drive towards decarbonisation and the relatively small environmental footprint of print. In this era of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), it was good to hear that print can play a part in reducing the risks of runaway climate change and the disruption it would bring.

Back to Kim Willis of Cedar, and her parting thought, which was that in response to growing consumer immunity to the relentless surge of online marketing, brands are turning to the communications techniques that are more meaningful and cut through. This includes experiential marketing with for example live events. In this quest for impact and authenticity, Kim concluded, print surely has a major role to play.

Last word to Wayne Hemingway, MBE, founder of Red or Dead fashion brand. At the end of the breathless, captivating tale of his rise from “club kid” to design guru, he reflected on the central role of print in all our lives. From clothes to flooring to wallpaper. “Print is never going” he declared. And that I think is a fitting way to sum up a truly inspiring day.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Thank you Print Power, Two Sides, sponsors, participants and speakers – we all left feeling positive and energised.

New whitepapers available

Ricoh has commissioned Smithers Pira to create a series of whitepapers. These look at opporunities for Print Service Providers to open new worlds in a number of key market segments.

Whitepapers available now:

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Corporate Print: bringing the world in-house

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Digital commercial print: the new world order

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Direct Marketing: printing the personal

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Retail point-of-sale: the new frontier for consumer engagement

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – The new world of publishing with virtual stock

Reflections on drupa 2016

After 11 frenetic days of meeting with our customers, listening to their needs and challenges and showcasing how our range of products, solutions and services support our clients’ needs, I want to take a moment to reflect on our drupa 2016 adventure.

Our theme for this year’s drupa, ‘Open New Worlds’ was developed to focus on the opportunities and challenges that our customers see in their sphere. What we wanted to let our visitors know was that no matter their size, sector or ambitions we can help them build from their strengths, creating more opportunities for them to grow and evolve. Welcomed in our theatre, customers, press and industry analysts enjoyed hosted tours to experience this first hand.

On the product side, we presented the latest versions of our cut sheet printers including the Ricoh Pro™ C7100 series and the Ricoh Pro™ C9100 series. In the continuous feed sector we put the spotlight on our newly enhanced Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 high speed inkjet platform. Live demonstrations of these in the Commercial Print, Direct Marketing, Publishing and Corporate zones, and in our lean manufacturing Smart Factory, highlighted the innovative applications, quality output and the broad range of services our presses offer.

Many of our clients agreed and signed on stand deals. Among the sales we celebrated were a Pro C7100 for Cicero, and Nationwide Print who chose MarcomCentral to support production on its new Pro C7100. Cicero also ordered a Pro C9110 as did Magneet Communicatiecentrum, Ecograf, Datum, Deltor, Impremta and CFH Documail – to name but a few of our clients trusting our technology to support their growth.

We were also very excited to celebrate the sales of our Pro VC60000. EDC was our first customer in Eastern Europe, while Adare ordered two lines and CFI opted to add a second. This latest addition to our portfolio is gathering market momentum, as our clients learn and embrace how its combination of productivity and high quality can help them be more cost effective and profitable.

We had a very busy industrial print zone, where we showcased the powerful opportunities offered by additive manufacturing, industrial inkjet printheads, direct to shape coding and marking as well as branding product decoration.

To add to that, we announced our entry into the vibrant signage market, by adding EFI VUTEk flatbed printers to our portfolio. The decision builds on the success of our large format portfolio of print production solutions.

There was a lot of discussion surrounding the overall theme of drupa 2016. Connectivity was a topic that ran through the show like a red thread, for all solutions and in every sector.  Many of our visitors were looking for software and services that will enable them to connect and integrate different workflow streams and production environments.

In our Studio, many visitors discovered the capabilities of our TotalFlow portfolio including TotalFlow Cloud Suite, and learned how they could improve productivity, add value and open up new opportunities.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Finally, it’s important to remember that an event like drupa is only as good as the people who make it happen. It’s been a real pleasure for us all working with colleagues to make drupa such a powerful event. We couldn’t have made it the success it was without all the hard work that people put in. Ricoh really is a company that is driven by passion and dedication, and where imagine.change is not just a brand, but an expression of the talent and commitment of our team.

 

Direct Marketing zone at drupa

In this area, we will show why the rejuvenation of Direct Mail is such a great digital printing opportunity and why seamless integration across the full range of multichannel communications is so important.

Not to be missed

  • data analytics and data cleansing solutions
  • real time printing of a  dedicated mailer for the drupa show which includes personalised vouchers
  • Ricoh’s Direct Marketing Workflows in action
  • Examples of single pass full colour transactional applications

 Key Applications

These are just some of the samples we are planning to show. Look out for more surprises at the show itself !

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Workflow

Ricoh’s direct marketing and critical communications workflow solutions harness the power of direct marketing for a more profitable future.

Direct Marketing Workflow

 

Ricoh at drupa button

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open New Worlds photoshoot – Rock Band

 

 

The location

These shots were taken at Blueprint recording and rehearsal studios in Manchester. Loved by many leading artists, Blueprint has played host to Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Duran Duran, Moby and it is where Elbow recorded their massively successful album – The Seldom Seen Kid.

The idea

Use a Rock Band to illustrate how Ricoh’s variable printing helps you
respond to the most variable of needs.

Therefore we created a made-up band, called – appropriately – the Fake Dolls.
Each member of the band was holding a different piece of Ricoh print collateral, in the form of the covers of their latest album, all printed using Ricoh technology. And so highlighting the quality and possibilities offered by Ricoh’s digital print solutions.

The Results

A suite of images for the Direct Marketing route, to be used throughout the campaign.

 

 

Insights from Ricoh’s first European Commercial Print Council

User groups … I’ve done a few in the last 30 years.

Big ones and small ones, graphic arts ones and other ones, national and international ones.

So I was pleased to organise Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Council.Which took place in the Ricoh offices in Staines on Thames (near Heathrow) UK, last month, when 15 clients gathered, representing eight companies from six countries.

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Attendees of the first Ricoh Commercial Print Council Nov 2015

Not only was there close interaction with Ricoh on the technical product level, but there were also three external speakers, each with their own specific topics.

Ralf Schlözer from Infotrends, the analyst company, looked into his famous crystal ball to give insights into opportunities for digital print in the commercial print market.

Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer.

His conclusions were:

  • Printing is very much alive
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • But one should consider the whole print production chain; including the impact of the Cloud on software solutions
  • Media integration is progressing: prepare for an omni channel view rather than simply a cross channel view
  • Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer. Meaning that new businesses will emerge and they’ll use ‘print’ as a way to manufacture things (3D, textiles, etc…)
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second

Enrique Parilla from digital publishing company Lantia gave a privileged view on how he established his company as a publisher-printer-software developer, handling the publishing business in a completely different way from how traditional publishing companies do.

That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication!

He used the following interesting analogy: in 19th century America, companies selling ice for refrigeration were big business. But … they didn’t realise in which business they were in. They thought they were in the business of selling ice … when it was actually refrigeration they were selling.  So when the electrical refrigerator was invented, it wiped away the ice business. That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication! In trade book publishing for instance, publishers are not selling books but stories!

Next time you drink your G&T on the rocks, do ask yourself: ‘in which business you really are’?

Ulbe Jelluma works for Frysk, a B2B advertising agency, specialising in serving international clients (in the graphics, industrial, financial, pharmaceutical, telecom and automotive industries). He started with an attention grabbing statement: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder … And it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye!’

…agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix

Ulbe explained how agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix. He highlighted some new print applications all driven by the generation of emotions in using print. He also showed some examples of ‘different devices, same content’ or how the advertising industry is using an omnichannel approach to push its message.

Another example was of ‘existing content, different application’ with books that are printed in Brazil for the public transport authorities, serving as a ticket and a planner at the same time as being a reading book. Or what to think about a plasticised newspaper that can act as an umbrella, in a country such as Ecuador ‘where it rains a lot’?

All creative examples of how print is being used in many new and different ways.

So Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Customer Council featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. For me, though, there was a common thread.

It was the sheer resilience of print as many different players in different markets explore its unique characteristics to keep it as relevant now as ever.

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Content is king

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

When there is financial turbulence, it is often said that ‘cash is king’. Similarly, these days, when brands are challenged by fast changing consumer preferences the message from the marketing community has become ‘content is king’.

Over the last few years there has been a massive shift in marketing budgets into Content Marketing. So what is Content Marketing and why has it suddenly become king?

According to Forbes magazine:
You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it.

Relevant and valuable information in the form of infographics, videos, web content, podcasts, books and customer magazines are all examples of Content Marketing. Often concentrating on lifestyle issues with useful information on subjects such as recipes, holiday tips, and home improvement advice.

And it is on the rise because increasingly marketing-literate consumers are rejecting standard selling messages from brands. In order to get their attention and respect, switched on marketing departments are generating content that will engage on a more emotional level.

The Content Marketing Association reports that 70% of British marketers are using Content Marketing, highlighting the top three most effective uses as:

  • Long term customer engagement
  • Brand building
  • Customer acquisition.

Further, having grown as a share of brand communications budgets by a net 25% in each of the last two years, it now makes up 21% of this total budget in the UK.

For a Print Service Provider, the surge in Content Marketing from your clients can be viewed as both a threat and an opportunity. An apparent threat because, typically, brands that use CM spend less on print and direct mail than brands who don’t do any CM (source; Content Marketing Association). However, print is a medium that is particularly well suited to displaying and showing how to navigate around content. PSPs who understand the true value of print in this context can start to develop relationships with a new breed of marketing agency – the Content Marketing agency. They specialise in content and customer engagement and are increasingly playing a central role among brands’ roster of agencies. Now is a good time to identify and approach the leading agencies in your market.

A further opportunity is in the increasing investment in Marketing Resource Management systems to administer content and assets efficiently. Some marketing departments have invested in their own systems, but many others will prefer to outsource that responsibility. As the number of marketing communications assets these departments own expands, in the form of print collateral, web and mobile material, videos, merchandise, etc., they need a reliable partner who can create, manipulate, manage and distribute them as needed. Ricoh’s cloud based MarcomCentral solution manages and customises marketing material across entire organisations enabling PSPs to support their clients’ brand control and asset distribution with anytime, anywhere access.

Content Marketing has quietly captured a leading role in the minds and wallets of marketers across Europe. It is a phenomenon that shows no signs of abating as brands recognise that valuable content can be the key to customer engagement and loyalty. For the PSP who doesn’t want to get left behind, now is the time to understand how to take advantage of this situation. Both through positioning the unique properties of print; and having a marketing resource management system that can improve your clients’ marketing supply chain, now, when the content they have is probably growing at an unprecedented rate.