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Industry

Celebrating the Power of Print

Returning for its ninth year, the annual Power of Print seminar brings industry members from print, packaging, publishing and the media together to hear from experts about the state of the industry, the challenges facing it, and how these are being overcome.

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The Power of Print returns for its ninth year

Organised by Two Sides and the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), this year’s seminar focused on trust in printed news, print’s strength in a digital era, sustainability and what is in store for the future.

Charles Jarrold, chief executive of the BPIF kicked off the day with a welcome and an overview of the current economical, political and technological challenges facing the industry.

According to Jarrold, although there has been a decline in volume printing of magazine and newspapers, book printing is on the rise. In relation to the general state of trade, Jarrod lists key concerns as Brexit, commercial pricing margins and late payments.

With Brexit, the general consensus appears to be – understandably – that the industry is fed up, with companies admitting to holding back on big decisions. Despite this, the industry is aware that this is not an issue that is going to go away any time soon.

Sunderland discussed the notion of vectors rather than industry market trends, the idea being that for every trend, an equally opposite trend is created

Access to skilled labour and training is increasing steadily, particularly in the print industry. However, Jarrold describes how this is still a concern throughout the sector.

Jarrold also describes how the industry is currently experiencing an “age of uncertainty” with many unsure of what or who to trust. Despite this, he is confident that print is trusted, and says: “Time is a good filler of quality.”

Following Jarrold was Rory Sunderland, vice chairman of Ogilvy UK as Canon’s invited member. A charismatic speaker, Sunderland discussed the notion of vectors rather than industry market trends, the idea being that for every trend, an equally opposite trend is created.

Charles Jarrold, chief executive of BPIF gives an overview of the industry

Sunderland’s advice for remaining competitive in the so-called “uncertain age” is “do things that are a bit random, because no one else can,” adding: “Print has a great future with the right people.” To do this, Sunderland suggests seeking out the ‘opposite vector’ as there is what’s being overlooked.

Ryan Battles and Zöe Francis-Cox of Archant Dialogue were next to discuss “riding the storm” of digital. The pair revealed how within “constant change and rapid technology,” the Harley Davidson members magazine (HOG) actually placed print as its most premium product.

Francis-Cox, a former publisher and print magazine specialist and Battles, a digital expert, describes how they combined their skills and knowledge to use digital and print together to boost each platform higher.

The modern doesn’t always win, they can compliment each other but there’s a special place for print in the hearts of HOG members

For HOG members, print is voted the number one benefit of the membership. When the “digital storm” struck, Archant opted to utilise digital as a teaser for members waiting to receive the magazine through the post.

Francis-Cox describes how a rise in digital raised concerns amongst members that the magazine was going to be ceased. Instead, digital elevated the printed magazine as a premium product with only the best stories making it into the magazine. This is a good example of how digital and print can work together rather than compete.

Reiterating this, Francis-Cox says: “We don’t have to cram 100 images into the magazine anymore because we have so many other channels to choose from now. The modern doesn’t always win, they can compliment each other but there’s a special place for print in the hearts of HOG members.”

Also discussing the challenges for print in a digitally driven world, Juan Señor, president of Innovation Media Consulting Group describes print as being on a “cliff edge” and says the industry is facing a displacement with print and digital.

This year the seminar focuses on trust in printed news, navigating a digital era, sustainability and the future

Señor’s stance is that you must become ‘digitally sustainable’ before you can become ‘print unsustainable’. In order for print to survive in changing waters, Señor puts emphasis on the notion of “new print”. He describes this as the act of making print worth paying for in the form of bigger, pricier, more premium print.

Attendees were also treated to insights on sustainability by Professor Mark Maslin of University College London; Jonathan Tame, managing director of Two Sides; and Edwin Goffard of Smurfitt Kappa.

In addition, Jodie Ginsberg of Index on Censorship discussed the issue of media freedom. Lauren Sutton and Carl Kirby of Waitrose discussed artificial intelligence and machine learning. Nick Vale of Wavemaker reflected on the digitised decline of advertising, and Rachel Aldighieri, of the Data & Marketing Association spoke about creativity and tactility.

The industry must ensure that print is at the heart of their strategy and develop the necessary skills within their people

On why it is important to have events like this, Jonathan Tame, managing director of Two Sides says: “In an increasingly digital world, it is important to remind brands and agencies why print has such a vital role to play in the communications mix. All too often print is overlooked where digital is seen as easier and more cost effective and the effectiveness of print is undervalued. However, the reality is, print is trusted and in tactile nature engages and connects with consumers physically in a way that digital just can’t do.

“With the increase towards digital marketing, some of the skills of harnessing print effectively has diminished. The industry must ensure that print is at the heart of their strategy and develop the necessary skills within their people. The bar is set very high for next year. We intend to have more focus on innovation and have more brands explaining why print works for them.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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