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.

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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.

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.

 

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

Making the Most of Mobile: What a “Mobile First” Strategy Means for Your Business

Mobile technologies have taken the world by storm.  Our purpose in this white paper is not to spew out a lot of facts and figures about how many smartphones and tablets there are, and how many are Apple versus Android versus others.  There are plenty of resources that can give you that information. Let’s just say it is a big number! In fact, according to a special report from Raconteur, 2014 saw one smartphone for every five people on the planet. And the numbers are not declining anytime soon, nor will the transition from feature phones to smartphones slow down.

See the infographic

See the infographic

 

As an example, in the EU5 alone (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK), 57% of mobile users owned a smartphone in the 3-month average ending December 2012.The EU5 online video audience grew 5 percent over the past year, whilst the number of mobile video viewers has jumped by 162 percent since December 2011. (Leading online video platforms across Europe are YouTube (Google), Dailymotion, Facebook and VEVO.) In the UK, the outlook for mobile business is rosy, according to the Raconteur report: “Figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research show 5.6 million people already use their mobile devices to buy goods and services online This is expected to rise to 20 million in the next six years, by which time online mobile purchases will be worth more than £18 billion, up from £48 billion in 2013.

What we will do is talk about the usage trends, what they means for your business, and how Ricoh can help. We will delve into three aspects of this:

  1. How mobile technologies can be leveraged in your own business to improve productivity in terms of production and business management, employee satisfaction and more;
  2. What you need to consider in terms of customer-facing applications in order to allow your customers the flexibility of conveniently and comfortably accessing your business from any device, anywhere, anytime, ordering print and other products, reviewing job status and more; and
  3. How you can take advantage of the rapid adoption of mobile technologies to add new (profitable) products and services to your portfolio that not only generate new revenue streams but add value to your customers’ businesses.

These factors have implications with respect to your investments, staffing, production, web development and sales/marketing strategies.  While many of the concepts and ideas stated here are applicable to any business – including your customers’ businesses – the content is tuned toward the needs of printing and marketing services companies. It should be noted that while larger printing companies have likely implemented many of the suggestions contained in this white paper, it is also critical for small to mid-sized companies to take notice and begin to plan for mobile adoption, or to re-evaluate plans already in place based on the content presented here.

Find out more, download the whitepaper here.

Why you should be fans of the Marketing Rockstars

M_Rockstars Hall

The Marketing Rockstars Festival in Graz, Austria this month was not the kind of event that would normally grab the attention of Europe’s Print Service Providers. After all, it was designed firmly for the marketing industry; attracting nearly 2000 marketers from brands and agencies, tempted by the mix of superstar marketing speakers from, for example, Google, Starbucks and Adidas, and the 100 exhibitors with their marketing-oriented offerings.

So why should PSPs show an interest in an event like this, where the marketing community gathered to learn and talk about current marketing issues? Well, Ricoh was a key partner of the Marketing Rockstars Festival and it was very clear why this, and similar, events, are so relevant to the professional printing industry. It is, put simply, because it is at this type of forum where marketers collect information and insights, gain inspiration and ideas. Including on crucial questions such as how do I make my campaigns more successful, which channels should I be selecting, how do I integrate different channels effectively? Where does print fit in? And who can support me?

It is the marketing departments, advised by their agencies, that decide the shape of the marketing activities you will often be fulfilling in part at least through print. So the impact on the production printer of decision-making gatherings like this is profound.

Serving the needs of the marketing community

Ricoh’s stand was a busy one, as visitors explored how data can be cleansed and analysed, the process of consumer profiling and segmentation, the benefits of our Precision Marketing consultancy service and how Clickable Paper can bridge the printed page and the online realm. All in the interests of helping them achieve impressive returns on their marketing investments.

The fact that people could walk away with a personalised front cover of what was only the second issue of Forbes business magazine in Austria, complete with their own face on it, drew many marketing professionals to us. They saw at first hand how our marketing asset management and variable data solutions – MarcomCentral and FusionPro – work, and they benefitted from our expertise in harnessing data to create powerful, omni channel campaigns, with printed direct mail at their heart.

Exploiting the richness of data was also a major theme of Thomas Haas’ presentation. Our Precision Marketing Principal explained how the intelligent use of data can transform the impact of marketing campaigns, and how Ricoh can provide the expertise and solutions to help marketers make this happen. With direct mail often the hero channel thanks to its unique properties.

We will keep talking

Benoit Chatelard,   Vice President Production Printing Business Group

Benoit Chatelard,
Vice President
Production Printing Business Group

Ricoh will continue its dialogue with influencers in what we sometimes call the direct marketing ecosystem. Particularly with brand owners’ marketing executives and their marketing agencies. Talking to them about integrating print into communications, about harnessing data for first class results and about the power of Clickable Paper interactive print technology. It’s about raising their awareness and understanding – building demand for the direct mail and direct marketing services that our progressive production printing clients can deliver and add value to.

#HID2015 is a Wrap! So What’s Next?

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To say that Hunkeler innovationdays 2015 was a success for Ricoh would be a big understatement. As we continue to take our message of the power digital print technologies brings to print service providers who are seeking new ways to communicate with their clients around the world, this latest event in picturesque Lucerne was a high point for us.

Always known to be a show that “gets right down to business,” HID 2015 did not disappoint.  With its no frills approach, HID 2015 brings together serious print buyers who want to roll up their sleeves and really get into the ins and outs of the technology and solutions.  This show is exciting and helps the adrenaline to start pumping.  This year was a non-stop rush from beginning to end – and we enjoyed every second of it.

The buzz around Ricoh and on our booth was unavoidable.  It was as if you could feel the energy under your skin – and it wasn’t just the speed of our machines! With the recent launches of our Ricoh Pro VC60000 and the Ricoh Pro C9100 series, and also the Ricoh Pro C7100X (which wasn’t even on the floor, yet still caused a stir!),  the Ricoh booth was clearly a must-see for attendees.  This year we talked with commercial printers looking to take their first step into digital, publishers who sought proven inkjet colour and monochrome offerings, service bureaux in need of better batching solutions, and so much more.  It was non-stop, but it was a great experience.

Not only were our technology demonstrations a hit, but one could argue the range and quality of our samples made its way around the floor even faster.

In fact many people – including some members of the press – commented that Ricoh has set a new bar for quality in colour inkjet.

Visitors to the stand could not only see the technology, but there were also plentiful samples from the Ricoh portfolio. This included samples from the Ricoh Pro VC60000 printed on offset-coated stock, the market-leading InfoPrint 5000, the Ricoh Pro C9100 series and the Ricoh Pro C7100X.  From trade books and marketing collateral to coffee table books, there was something for everyone to touch, feel and take home.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

If you were unable to join us in Lucerne, or even if your schedule did not allow the time to explore in depth how Ricoh might support your businesses evolution, you might consider visiting our new European centre of excellence, the Customer Experience Centre, in Telford, UK.

If you missed what we had to share at HID 2015, visit this blog to hear more about our technologies and applications.  You can also visit us on Facebook to see pictures from the show or follow our @RicohEUBDriver Twitter feed for flashbacks.

Danke, Switzerland.  Looking forward to 2017!

More Return On Marketing Investment? At Zalsman, we can …

 

Business Development Manager Zalsman Innovative Print

Business Development Manager Zalsman Innovative Print

Media expenses are shifting from print advertising to digital. This trend is mainly driven by the fact that today’s CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is looking for more engagement and measurable results and that’s what is offered by different online marketing tools like Google AdWords (paid search advertising). Marketers communicate more and more online and interactively, so media expenses are also shifting.

Three questions determine the use of media:

  1.  Do I want to take the initiative, or do I want to leave that to the consumer?
  2. Is there any relevant (big) data available? Can we analyse it?
  3. Is the business case for Individual Mass Communication positive?

The trend is visible to everyone. Search engine marketing (SEM) has won ground rapidly. But the initiative will then lie at the consumer side. Those who search start a consumer journey. Those CMOs who want to keep the initiative, but do not have any data, will invest in traditional advertising. They will rely on radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. These traditional channels deliver a broad audience against predictable costs, but have a much less measurable ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment). That is why digital media, email and social media are so popular at the moment. All investments are measurable and traceable. However, their success has boundaries. Email is not always opened in time and online channels get clogged. This is where Individual Mass Communication, which enables what we call Precision Marketing, can make a significant impact. Consumers prefer personal and relevant information across all channels as well as positive omni-channel brand experience, rather than pushy marketing. Individual Mass Communication offers new chances and strengthens the relationship with today’s consumers, who want to be treated as individuals. Print then becomes accountable. Those who have the data and the right business case can start using new marketing recipes.

At Zalsman we are now able to deliver against this promise even more effectively now that our new Ricoh ProTM VC60000 is up and running. The first worldwide installation of this next-generation continous feed inkjet press from Ricoh, designed to excel in the production of direct mail, book printing and an array of marketing communication materials, is expanding our service portfolio and opening up exciting business opportunities. We believe that the  the Ricoh Pro VC60000 represents THE printing technology of the future for interactive marketing. It assures premium print quality thanks to Ricoh’s own print heads and multi-drop ink technology, at resolutions up to 1200×1200 dpi with dynamic variable drop size within each pixel.

Our clients have responded extremely positively to the print quality, which outshines even traditional offset.  The fact that the Ricoh press is able to handle Big Data and  to print at a dazzling speed on various substrates has ticked all boxes for us and allows us to offer creative and interactive personalised marketing applications.

Quality, flexibility and customisation are key to adding value to print and to helping our clients realise their goals in market reach, engaging in a meaningful manner with their target audiences.  We have only just started our journey but already we see many new opportunities in the retail and publishing markets.

Smart Marketing Cookbook being prepared for Hunkeler

Smart Marketing Cookbook being prepared for Hunkeler

For Hunkeler Innovationdays, we have jointly developed with Ricoh a ‘Smart Marketing Cook Book’ demonstrating showcases for relevance that precision marketing can bring to a printed product. Combining the ingredients of the Ricoh Pro VC60000, Ricoh Process Director and dynamic document composition software with Clickable Paper interactive print technology, we have a number of recipes for success that pair high quality digital print with online content.

From personalised catalogues to company brochures, tailored sales documents to clear and concise billing, the Smart Marketing Cook Book highlights many examples of how this type of printing can be used in every sector – the only limitation to the recipes you can cook up is your imagination!  Make sure to collect your personal copy from the Ricoh booth at Hunkeler Innovationdays.