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The Soap Box

Something to be proud of

Genevieve Lewis listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

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The industry should target education leavers, as they may not be aware of the print industry as a career opportunity

Let us know how we can help
Mike Roberts

Hopefully by the time you read this Summer will have well and truly arrived, as so far this year we have had some seriously changeable weather systems.

In some ways I wonder if the changeable weather patterns are also reflective of the conditions of our industry? Not a day seems to pass by currently without news of some important industry development that needs to be factored into future business development plans.

Mike Roberts, chairman of the IPIA

The industry, in some areas at least, seems to be consuming itself once again – as we see yet more companies failing, maybe due to poor governance of the business in some instances, or in other cases volumes having dropped off so significantly the ‘oil tanker’ hasn’t been able to change course quick enough to a rapidly evolving market.

The industry, in some areas at least, seems to be consuming itself once again

From an IPIA view some members have never been busier and don’t see it slowing down, whilst other members I have spoken to have suggested that things have been very, very challenging for them and maybe they need to make changes to ensure survival.

How's business?

It would be nice to hear from you with your thoughts on where you feel the challenges and opportunities lay. We, your association, also want to hear how we can support you through these changing times. So please drop me a line on mike@pmg-pm.co.uk.

If I can conclude with a reminder not to overlook the events the IPIA are organising for you our industry. There are conferences, networking lunches, and sponsor led events for all member categories and the wider industry that are well worth attending. They deliver opportunity to develop new connections in the industry, learn about the latest technology and generate business with fellow members. Only recently I have had feedback that one IPIA partner has generated £1m of leads with a three-day open day event.

I hope to meet many of you during the year, and if there is any way the IPIA can support you to help with business growth, supplier and customer sourcing, or to take advantage of our member benefits, then please do get in touch.

Paving the way
Charles Jarrold
chief executive,

There’s still a buzz in the air at the BPIF after Apprentice19, where we joined forces with our member companies to showcase the diverse and exciting apprenticeship opportunities available to them in the printing industry. Joined by Precision Printing and N2Group, our ‘print hub’ was available to view and interact with to the 2,000 plus students who walked through the doors across the two days.

What excited me about this event was the palpable enthusiasm from the students, many of whom had never considered printing as a career until they engaged with us at the hub. Whether it was through the live demos of 3D and Letterpress printing or talking to them about the creativity, passion and technology involved in this innovative industry, many were clearly eager to take it seriously as an option for when they finished school or college.

As one student from the event said: “I had previously not thought about a career in the printing industry, however after seeing the vast range of jobs in the sector from design to engineering, I am now going to explore career options in print. Thank you for a wonderful experience.”

This is great to hear, and is also a warning for us not to miss the opportunities of promoting print to our younger generations. There are thousands of talented school leavers with great potential to thrive in our industry, but if they don’t hear about print, they’ll be snapped up elsewhere, and we could all be left wondering ‘what if?’ ten years down the line. Thankfully, we’ve been working hard to showcase print to this very audience, including exhibiting to over 6,000 students at the Leeds Recruitment Apprenticeship Fair and again at the most recent Shine Awards.

I agree wholeheartedly with Bill Stirling, Director at N2 Visual Communications, who said of Apprentice19: “I found the event was so full of life and energy, and a fantastic opportunity to engage with young and enthusiastic people. They really are the people of tomorrow, so grabbing the opportunity like Apprentice19 is a must for anyone looking to invest in their business and indeed, the future of the printing industry.”

Our industry is something to be proud of – but it needs young talent

Our industry is something to be proud of – but it needs young talent. Let’s keep showcasing it to future generations.

More business
Tony Kenton,

Recently I found myself in one of those interesting conversations where I was defending the importance of branding with one of our own designers after they had suggested that branding was all about design. 

Being a brand driven obsessive, this lack of understanding did not come as a shock, but it did come as a surprise, seeing this was with an experienced designer.

My first reaction was to do my Soap Box bit, the one where I bang on about a brand not being a logo but a personality, a promise, a set of values. 

Then I realised that this was also the typical reaction I get from customers, peers and internal people alike when the subject of branding comes up. So maybe it’s not them, it’s me!

So instead, I took a deep breath, counted to ten and thought about how I should enlighten, rather than get upset. So here is my ‘better explanation’.

A brand is the emotional tie between us and our customers. It’s the experience of the relationship and if done well instils confidence, trust and reliability between al those who come into contact with the company, be that client. Supplier, team member or peer. Think of a brand as if it was a person.  We judge people on their personality rather than what they wear (although we of course make judgements on that too).

A brand is the emotional tie between us and our customers

Brand personality is about the way our brand speaks and behaves. The characteristics that represent our brand through its advertising, communications, packaging and people.

More importantly though, brand personality is the result of all the consumer’s experiences with the brand and should mirror the kind of relationship the customer has with the brand. The reason why branding is so powerful is that it also reflects how the customer communicates their own identity.

Branding is important but it might go unnoticed

If like many, you too thought that having a brand was just for big companies, think again because branding can be the best vehicle for major success even for the smallest of organisations. Simply because to be a successful brand you have to identify your value proposition (the beneficial difference between your own company and others).

Here’s the point, everywhere you look there is branding, but like the oxygen we breathe (and as important for business), it often goes un-noticed and taken for granted.  Yet accessing the power of having your own strong brand can bring many benefits including unlocking your full potential. And if you make the 100% commitment needed in having a brand that you and others can believe in, you are well on your way to achieving your deepest held dreams and ambitions.

If you want help with your branding, the BAPC is always there to help.

Public Notice:

  • The IPIA organises conferences and events
  • More students to enter the industry
  • Branding is important

To find our more about the issues discussed in this articles please contact the relevant organisation via their website: www.bapc.co.uk, www.britishprint.com, www.ipia.org.uk

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